What are the earnings limits for those on disability benefits?
Applicants for disability benefits, and recipients of SGA, or substantial gainful activity for that particular year.
The SGA limit is subject to change each year so individuals who are receiving benefits, or pursuing benefits should probably contact their local social security office to check the earnings limit before beginning employment.
Individuals who are already getting monthly benefits may wish to keep track of what the current SGA limit is so that A) they can avoid going over the limit and potentially endangering their benefits (as well as risking an overpayment situation) and B) to increase their earning potential (by knowing just how much they can earn and remain eligible for benefits).
If you receive disability benefits and work and your earnings do exceed the SGA limit, what happens? Fortunately, the social security administration allows disability benefit recipients the opportunity to try working without necessarily voiding their eligibility for disability benefits. This is done by allowing recipients a trial work period.
The trial work period consists of nine total months in which a person can work over the SGA earnings limits. Once the nine trial work months are exhausted, if the individual is still working and earning more than the SGA limit, their eligibility for disability benefits will end.
Note: the nine trial work period months do not have to be consecutive meaning that a person could potentially have much longer than simply nine months in which to try returning to work.
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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