Is there an income limit to be under when you apply for disability?

Yes, there is an income limit to be under when you apply for disability. This is the case whether your claim is for Social Security Disability benefits or for Supplemental security income, or SSI, benefits. The limit is based on gross monthly wages earned in a single month. The limit is called SGA and SGA stands for substantial gainful activity.

SGA is a way for the social security administration to determine whether or not an applicant for disability benefits is actually disabled. The way SSA views it, if a person is capable of working and earning at least this amount (to see the current SGA amount: the Social Security Disability SSI earnings limit), then they cannot be considered disabled.

The way that the Social Security Disability and SSI programs actually work is in steep contrast to the incorrect assumption made by many that to qualify for disability benefits a person must be able to work at all. The truth is that the social security administration recognizes that the mere ability to work and earn a minimal income should not disqualify a person from receiving disability benefits.

Individuals who are filing for disability should always be upfront about their earned income if they have wages. And, without a doubt, individuals who have been approved for disability and are receiving benefits should immmediately report their work activity should they become employed.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Apply for disability - file for SSD or SSI and the Information needed by Social Security