Social Security Disability and reporting work earnings
The answer is yes, yes, and yes. Work activity and disability entitlement go hand in hand. It really does not matter whether you receive SSI or SSDI, work will affect your eligibility. At the very least, unreported work activity can cause significant over payments and in the worse case scenario it could cause a suspension or termination disability benefits.
There is a monthly earnings limit (SGA) and if you go over that amount any month you may not be eligible for receive your disability benefit. Social Security Disability has a nine-month trial work period in which you can earn over the limit, however this period is not consecutive and can happen any time during a five year period.
Once you have used the nine months, you are subject to the SGA limit for the remainder of the time you are on SSDI. If you are working over SGA the 10th month, your disability benefits should be suspended. Of course, if Social Security is not aware that you are working and earning over SGA, your disability benefit will not be suspended and you will be overpaid. If you have an overpayment, Social Security expects it to be repaid within 36 months.
If you are considering a return to work it is not a bad idea to speak with a Social Security claims representative to make sure you fully understand how work affects your disability benefits. And, make sure if you take a job that you contact your local Social Security office to make a work report. A work report is simply informing Social Security with the name of your employer, the hours per week you are working, and the amount you are earning per hour. Social Security should give you a receipt for this report and you should keep it.
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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