How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Is there a Maximum I can Work and Make if I am on SSD or SSI Disability Benefits?

There is a maximum and it is called SGA, which stands for substantial gainful activity. It corresponds to a specific earnings limit that is the cutoff point at which a person, based on their work activity, is no longer considered disabled. To see the current amount for this year: Social Security Disability and SSI earnings limit.

SSA uses this cutoff because decisions on whether or not a person is disabled are made based on:

A) Their physical and mental limitations and

B) How those limitations affect their ability to engage in substantial and gainful work activity, which could include--

--Either work they've done in the past (it must be relevant, however, meaning that the work must have been performed in the last 15 years for a period long enough for the individual to have learned the skills of the job and the individual must have been able to earn SGA income at the job)


--Work they've never done before but which they might possess the right skills and training to do based on their current limitations and age.

If you're filing for disability and are making the SGA amount or more, you will receive a type of disability claim denial that is a "technical denial". That means that your claim will not receive an evaluation by a disability examiner, meaning that your medical records will never enter into the picture.

In other words, if you are working and making at least this much each month, there's really not much reason to apply for disability benefits. If you stop work, or your earnings decline to below this limit, then by all means contact the social security office nearest to you to file for disability benefits.

If you are already receiving disability benefits, you will have the benefit of trial work months so that you may try work activity again. You get nine of these and in these months you can work and earn more than the SGA earnings limits. These months do not have to be consecutive either so there is some flexibility for attempting work activity and they can occur within a rolling three year, or 36 month period, which makes it even more flexible.

If, however, you are working at the SGA limit and you exhaust your nine trial work months, then your benefits would be stopped in the tenth month that you are working and earning SGA level income. Even this, though, does not mean that you will be forced to start all over again should you decide that working is not a realistic option for you, given your physical or mental issues. SSA also provides for expedited reinstatements.

The most important thing, for any SSD or SSI applicant or recipient is...to report work activity to Social Security as soon as it occurs.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Are You Allowed to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is an unsuccessful work attempt?
If my medical condition keeps me from working will I get Social Security Disability?
Can’t Work In My Old Job, How Does Social Security Disability Consider This?
Social Security Disability And Trial Work Months: You are allowed to Work
Medical Disability - How does Social Security view your work and medical records
Is there a Maximum I can Work and Make if I am on SSD or SSI Disability Benefits?
Working while getting Disability - Is it Possible?
Can You Work While You Appeal Your Social Security Disability Decision?
How long do you have To Be Out Of Work Before You Get Social Security Disability (SSD)?
Can I work without it affecting my Social Security Disability or SSI?
What happens if you are working when you file for disability or work after you apply for disability?
Will working part-time affect my SSD?
Working while on Social Security Disability and Not Reporting
What is SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity)?
If I Apply For Disability And Go Back To Work, Do I Need To Report This?
Are you allowed to work at all if you get Social Security Disability or SSI?
If you apply for disability in Tennessee

Will I qualify for disability Benefits Tennessee?

Getting a Disability Lawyer in Tennessee

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.