If I get SSDI, can I operate a business?

I am on SSDI and would like to invest money I have in buying houses fixing and flipping for a profit. My only part of the process is purchasing the property, then I will hire a contractor to do rehab work, then I will resell the house. Profit for tax purposes would be taxed as short-term capital gains. Would there be an issue with SSDI?


I am not sure how to answer this question. I think there is potential for a problem with your disability benefits as this might be interpreted as a business. If it were to be interpreted as such it would be considered self-employment earnings.

For Social Security purposes, self-employment earnings can be substantial work activity if you work at this for 45 hours a month, in any capacity, even if you make nothing, or you invest all moneys back into your business. In buying the houses, hiring contractors, and paying bills your are effectively managing a business. Social Security Disability is a total disability program; therefore you are stating you are unable to work at a substantial self supporting way.

All of that being said, it will just depend on how it is paid and what the IRS reports to Social Security.

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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