Can I keep getting benefits when I am working on Social Security Disability?

By / March 3, 2016 / After You’re Approved for Social Security Disability & SSI / 659 Comments

Learn how Social Security supports your efforts to return to work, and how you may get benefits and Medicare while working on Social Security Disability.

Working While on Social Security Disability
If you have not recovered from your disability, Social Security has several programs that can support your return to work. In some circumstances you can be working while on Social Security Disability and continue to receive full disability benefits. However, to avoid overpayments that you will have to repay, it is important to report to Social Security as soon you start work. It can also be helpful to talk to a Social Security representative about your work plans before you actually begin working, so that you can take advantage of Social Security’s return-to-work programs.

Ticket to Work
At any point in time, you may be eligible for Social Security’s free and voluntary “Ticket to Work.” This program connects you with a network of vocational specialists in state agencies and private companies. Some examples of services that are available through the Ticket to Work program are return-to-work planning, job search assistance, and other support services that you may need to obtain and keep a job. If you are using Ticket to Work, in some circumstances, your claim will not be reviewed for medical recovery.

Other Social Security Disability Work Incentive Programs
In addition to the Ticket to Work, Social Security’s work-support programs include a Trial Work Period, an Extended Period of Eligibility, and Expedited Reinstatement. There are also provisions for continuation of Medicare health insurance.

Working on Social Security Disability When Earnings Aren’t Substantial
A key concept in Social Security’s definition of disability and in its work incentive programs is “substantial gainful activity,” which is called SGA for short. Social Security generally defines substantial earnings as a certain dollar amount. In 2017, generally $1,170.00 earnings per month is substantial for non-blind workers and $1,930.00 is substantial work for the blind. These amounts refer to your gross earnings if you are an employee and your net profit if you are self-employed. However, Social Security looks at many factors when determining whether your work, especially self-employment, is substantial gainful activity.

In general, regardless of which work programs you participate in, if your work never reaches the level of substantial gainful activity, you can work and receive Social Security Disability indefinitely, as long as you do not recover medically. Additionally, your eligibility to Medicare health insurance will continue while you work. Even if you think that your work is not substantial, it is important to report your work activity to Social Security as soon as you start working and whenever you have changes in hours, pay, or duties. For an explanation of Medicare, see our article If I am approved for Social Security Disability, will I get Medicare and Medicaid health insurance?

Trial Work Periods and Continuing Eligibility
Whether or not you participate in the Ticket to Work program, your work activity will be evaluated through three work-incentive programs. The first that comes into play is the Trial Work Period. You are eligible for a Trial Work Period if you do not engage in substantial gainful activity during your first twelve months of disability. A Trial Work Period consists of nine months, not necessarily in a row, during which you earn at or above the Trial Work Period earnings level, which in 2017 is $840.00 per month. Note that the monthly amount that defines a Trial Work Period month, $840.00, is less than the dollar guidelines for the substantial gainful activity. During your Trial Work Period, you will receive full disability benefits and continuation of Medicare, as long as you pay any required Medicare premiums.

Work in the Extended Period of Eligibility
When your Trial Work Period ends, you enter into another work incentive program, which is a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility. The extended period begins the month after the end of the Trial Work Period, whether or not you are working at that time. During the Extended Period of Eligibility, you will be paid for months in which you do not perform substantial gainful activity. On the other hand, your benefits will be suspended for any month that your work is SGA. The only exception is that you will be paid benefits for your first month of SGA in the Extended Period, plus the two following months. During the full thirty-six months, your entitlement to Part A Medicare will continue whether or not you are receiving a benefit check. Part B and Part D Medicare will also continue, if the premiums are paid.

Disability Benefits and Medicare After the Extended Period of Eligibility
At the end of the thirty–six-month Extended Period of Eligibility, if you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, your Social Security benefits will stop. However, if you are not working or your work is not SGA, your benefits will continue until the first month you perform SGA, at which time, your disability benefits will be terminated. If your cash benefits end and you continue to work and you have not recovered medically, your Medicare insurance will continue for an additional fifty-seven months.

Requirements for Expedited Reinstatement
The next work incentive we’ll look at is Social Security’s Expedited Reinstatement. This procedure is available to people whose benefits were terminated at the end of their Extended Period of Disability because they were working and performing substantial gainful activity. If, within five years of when your benefits ended, you again stop performing substantial gainful activity because of the same condition that originally disabled you, you may be eligible for reinstatement of benefits without a new application. If you are eligible for this Expedited Reinstatement, you will not have an unpaid five-month waiting period. Additionally, you will receive six months of temporary payments while the Social Security Administration determines whether you are eligible for reinstatement.

Support for Working on Social Security Disability
As you can see, Social Security offers a lot of support for your return to work. Your local Social Security office can provide you with more information about your benefits as related to your particular work desires and situation. Also, Social Security’s “Red Book” has detailed information about its return-to-work programs and about working on Social Security Disability. The “Red Book” can be downloaded from Social Security’s website, www.social security.gov, or you can order a printed copy from the Social Security Administration.

Can I keep getting benefits when I am working on Social Security Disability?
2.7 (53.33%) 6 votes

  • Yes, Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWEs) can be applied to reduce earnings when a determination is made as to whether or not you have earned $840 per month to have the month count as a Trial Work Period. If earnings after reduction for IRWEs will be $840 or over, the reduction is not material because with or without the IRWEs, the month counts as a Trial Work Period month.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Mr Al…

    I’ve been on SSDI for several years…I got a letter from SS and they wanted me to send them 3 years of paystubs and I did and I earned appx 600 dollars a month working 3 hours a day. They sent me back a letter saying I was under the guidelines and keep doing what I’m doing…I moved and started a new job same thing working 3 hours a day I make 600 a month. I have 4 surgerys a year because of my disability and take several meds… I pay appx 2000 dollars out of my pocket for 20% that medicare doesn’t cover…am I doing the right thing and are they gonna stop my payments soon…? I only work to help pay for my surgeries and the cost of my meds..

    • Dear Mr. Al,

      It was previously determined that the work you were doing was not substantial gainful activity and that you were still disabled. Accordingly, continuing to work at the same level with roughly the same amount of earnings should not interfere with your disability benefits continuing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • see previous reply

  • Dear Sherryl,
    If you have not recovered from your disability, Social Security has several programs that can support your return to work. In some circumstances you can be working while on Social Security Disability and continue to receive full disability benefits. However, to avoid overpayments that you will have to repay, it is important to report to Social Security as soon you start work. It can also be helpful to talk to a Social Security representative about your work plans before you actually begin working, so that you can take advantage of Social Security’s return-to-work programs.
    A key concept in Social Security’s definition of disability and in its work incentive programs is “substantial gainful activity,” which is called SGA for short. Social Security generally defines substantial earnings as a certain dollar amount. In 2017, generally $1,170.00 earnings per month is substantial for non-blind workers and $1,930.00 is substantial work for the blind. These amounts refer to your gross earnings if you are an employee and your net profit if you are self-employed. However, Social Security looks at many factors when determining whether your work, especially self-employment, is substantial gainful activity.
    If your work never reaches the level of substantial gainful activity, you can work and receive Social Security Disability indefinitely, as long as you do not recover medically. Additionally, your eligibility to Medicare health insurance will continue while you work. Even if you think that your work is not substantial, it is important to report your work activity to Social Security as soon as you start working and whenever you have changes in hours, pay, or duties. For an explanation of Medicare, see our article If I am approved for Social Security Disability, will I get Medicare and Medicaid health insurance?
    When your Trial Work Period ends, you enter into another work incentive program, which is a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility. The extended period begins the month after the end of the Trial Work Period, whether or not you are working at that time. During the Extended Period of Eligibility, you will be paid for months in which you do not perform substantial gainful activity. On the other hand, your benefits will be suspended for any month that your work is SGA. The only exception is that you will be paid benefits for your first month of SGA in the Extended Period, plus the two following months. During the full thirty-six months, your entitlement to Part A Medicare will continue whether or not you are receiving a benefit check. Part B and Part D Medicare will also continue, if the premiums are paid.
    At the end of the thirty–six-month Extended Period of Eligibility, if you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, your Social Security benefits will stop. However, if you are not working or your work is not SGA, your benefits will continue until the first month you perform SGA, at which time, your disability benefits will be terminated. If your cash benefits end and you continue to work and you have not recovered medically, your Medicare insurance will continue for an additional fifty-seven months.
    The cost of certain items and services that a person with a disability needs in order to work can be deducted from earnings in determinations of SGA, even though such items and services are also needed for normal daily activities. You may be able to deduct the cost of your transportation during the time you friend had to drive you to work as an impairment work related expense (IRWE). When you are interviewed by the Social Security representative you can ask if they would consider that expense as an IRWE and your entire situation.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Guest,
    Everyone is granted a nine month trial work period.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Guest,

    Usually continuing disability reviews (CDRs) to determine continuing medical disability are deferred while you are proceeding successfully under the Ticket to Work. Accordingly, you are likely to be granted the nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits continue regardless of the amount of earnings. During the thirty-six months immediately following the TWP, which is called the extended period of eligibility (EPE), you will not receive benefits in the months that you perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). After the EPE, your claim will be closed if you perform SGA. Medicare will continue for another fifty-seven months.

    SGA for blind individuals is $1,970 gross wages per month. However, you can reduce your earnings by the cost of Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWEs). Also if you receive assistance in doing your work, such as with grading papers, that assistance would be considered in determining whether you were earning your full salary and performing SGA. One last thing: given that your being blind is not likely to change, if you were to undergo a CDR, you would not have benefits terminated for medical recovery.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sal,

    Earnings of $600 gross wages or net self-employment will not affect your Social Security Disability benefit; however, you do need to report when you start work and provide an estimate of income. Additionally, I recommend keeping your pay stubs indefinitely just in case at some time in the future there was a question about your pattern of employment (i.e., how much was earned in each month. If your work will be self-employment, file your tax returns but also keep a record of the number of hours you work each day. A calendar is a handy place to do that. You might also keep the receipts, copies of checks or other payments received that show your business income and expenses, again, just in case a question ever came up.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jason,
    If your medical condition has not improved you will not lose your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. Social Security has several programs that can support your return to work.
    A key concept in Social Security’s definition of disability and in its work incentive programs is “substantial gainful activity,” which is called SGA for short. Social Security generally defines substantial earnings as a certain dollar amount. In 2017, generally $1,170.00 earnings per month is substantial for non-blind workers and $1,930.00 is substantial work for the blind. These amounts refer to your gross earnings if you are an employee and your net profit if you are self-employed. However, Social Security looks at many factors when determining whether your work, especially self-employment, is substantial gainful activity.
    In general, regardless of which work programs you participate in, if your work never reaches the level of substantial gainful activity, you can work and receive Social Security Disability indefinitely, as long as you do not recover medically. Additionally, your eligibility to Medicare health insurance will continue while you work. Even if you think that your work is not substantial, it is important to report your work activity to Social Security as soon as you start working and whenever you have changes in hours, pay, or duties.
    If you would like more information about the work incentive programs, please post a more specific question.
    Sincerely,
    jane

  • Dear Kim,
    Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits uses your age and lifetime earnings to determine your benefit amount. SSDI benefits are not reduced for age, and are the same amount as if you had retired at full retirement age. There is no minimum or maximum amount for SSDI. Your benefit will only increase with a cost of living, if one is paid. The only revaluation Social Security will do is called a consultative examination and it is used to determine if your medical condition has improved.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Tom,
    Usually your Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments are the same as retiring at full retirement age. You did receive retirement benefits for two months at a reduced rate and your SSDI benefits will receive a permanent reduction for those months. When you reach full retirement age, your benefits will change from disability to retirement and you will not longer have an earnings limit. Until you reach full retirement age you would have to follow Social Security rules to working while disabled. This is reference https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10095.html .
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Ken,
    Social Security Disability benefits are not reduced for work earnings; either benefits are payable or they are not. If you work and have not recovered medically from your disability, Social Security offers several work incentives that allow working while disabled. If your gross earnings are under $840 a month, they have to be reported; but they are low enough that you do not have to tap into the Social Security work incentives to continue receiving benefits. If the earnings are $840 or more, you are allowed nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months during which full benefits are paid no matter how much you earn. The next thirty-six calendar months following the end of the TWP is called the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) during which you will be paid only for months that you do not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). The current benchmark for SGA is $1,170 gross wages or net profit from self-employment. (Additional SGA rules apply to self-employment in the first two years of disability.) If you work and perform SGA even one month after the end of the EPE, your claim will be closed, although Medicare will continue forfifty-seven months. (Note that earnings may be reduced due to your having Impairment-Related Work Expenses before determining your earning in evaluating SGA or identifying TWP months.To assure that you are paid correctly, report all changes in earnings and work activity. You can read about these incentives in the Social Security’s Red Book, which is available at http://www.ssa.gov and from some local offices
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Jennifer,

    Your net profit (income reduced by business expenses) is the benchmark for evaluating self-employment. If you have received less than twenty-four months of benefits, you also need to keep your work hours under eighty a month because your work hours and the services you are performing are also evaluated in determining whether or not you are performing SGA.

    Assuming you are self-employed, you can deduct your business expenses including vehicle expenses when the vehicle is used in the business. If you use the car for other purposes besides work, it may be more practical to deduct a flat business mileage rate. I suggest that you consult with a tax accountant to get guidance on the records you need to file your tax returns. You need to report to Social Security with an estimate of how much you expect to earn. You can change the estimate at any time you see that there will be a significant change from the prior estimate. Each year when you file your tax return, you will need to submit a copy to SSA. At that time, they will divide the your year’s profit by twelve to determine your monthly profit.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sue,
    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs based program and uses income to determine your mothers benefit amount. If your mother’s gross income is $400.00 a month, it will reduce her check by $167.50 a month. Social Security will take the gross income of $400.00 and exclude the first $65.00. The remaining $335.00 is divided by 2 resulting in $157.50 cuntable income. That amount and your mother’s Social Security are subtracted from the maximum federal benefit rate of $735.00 to determine how much your mother’s SSI check will be.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Pinky,
    If you have not recovered from your disability, Social Security has several programs that can support your return to work. In some circumstances you can be working while on Social Security Disability and continue to receive full disability benefits. However, to avoid overpayments that you will have to repay, it is important to report to Social Security as soon you start work. It can also be helpful to talk to a Social Security representative about your work plans before you actually begin working, so that you can take advantage of Social Security’s return-to-work programs.
    A key concept in Social Security’s definition of disability and in its work incentive programs is “substantial gainful activity,” which is called SGA for short. Social Security generally defines substantial earnings as a certain dollar amount. In 2017, generally $1,170.00 earnings per month is substantial for non-blind workers and $1,930.00 is substantial work for the blind. These amounts refer to your gross earnings .
    After your first twelve months of disability, you are eligible for a Trial Work Period. A Trial Work Period consists of nine months, not necessarily in a row, during which you earn at or above the Trial Work Period earnings level, which in 2017 is $840.00 per month. Note that the monthly amount that defines a Trial Work Period month, $840.00, is less than the dollar guidelines for the substantial gainful activity. During your Trial Work Period, you will receive full disability benefits and continuation of Medicare no matter how much you earn, as long as you pay any required Medicare premiums.
    If you continue to work after your trial work period ends, you enter into another work incentive program, which is a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility. The extended period begins the month after the end of the Trial Work Period, whether or not you are working at that time. During the Extended Period of Eligibility, you will be paid for months in which you do not perform substantial gainful activity. On the other hand, your benefits will be suspended for any month that your work is SGA. The only exception is that you will be paid benefits for your first month of SGA in the Extended Period, plus the two following months. During the full thirty-six months, your entitlement to Part A Medicare will continue whether or not you are receiving a benefit check. Part B and Part D Medicare will also continue, if the premiums are paid.
    At the end of the thirty–six-month Extended Period of Eligibility, if you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, your Social Security benefits will stop. However, if you are not working or your work is not SGA, your benefits will continue until the first month you perform SGA, at which time, your disability benefits will be terminated. If your cash benefits end and you continue to work and you have not recovered medically, your Medicare insurance will continue for an additional fifty-seven months.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Bobby,

    If you have not used your nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) and really have not recovered medically, you will receive full benefits during the TWP. During the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), which immediately follows the TWP, you will be ineligible for benefits in any month you perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is currently $1,170 gross wages per month. (Countable wages for SGA can be reduced by impairment-related work expenses.) If you perform SGA in any month after the end of the EPE, your disability claim will be closed. Medicare will however continue for during the TWP and EPE. If your claim then closes, your Medicare will continue for another 57 months after the end of the EPE. You can read about these return-to-work incentives in Social Security’s Red Book available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Robin,

    The nine-month Trial Work Period, (TWP) does not have to be nine consecutive months and can be spread over as many as five years . When a TWP and EPE is granted, Medicare continues, as it does when a claim closes due to work earnings not medical recovery. Both the TWP and the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) are work incentive programs for people who have not recovered medically from their disabling condition. If there is an indication of medical recovery, a continuing disability review (CDR) can be initiated earlier than scheduled.

    You do not say, but I am assuming that you were a college professor before ceasing work and filing for disability. If you have the ability to teach one or two classes and earn at the substantial gainful activity level and sustain that work over a period of time, it does raise the question of why you can’t continue to do so, that is, it raises the question of whether you are still disabled as defined by Social Security law. If you want to try to work your way off disability benefits, you could request a Ticket to Work, which usually defers CDRs while you are working toward your goals.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mickey,

    Social Security offers two main work incentives: the Trial Work Period (TWP) and the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE).

    The TWP is the first nine (not necessarily consecutive) months in which your son earns $840 gross or more in the month. (In 2016, the amount was $810.) No matter how much he makes, even over the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level of $1,170, he will receive full benefits during the TWP.

    The EPE is the thirty-six calendar months immediately following the ninth month of the TWP. During the EPE, if your son performs SGA (earns $1,170 gross in a month), he is not eligible for any Social Security benefit that month and payment is suspended.

    After the thirty-six-month EPE, if he earns at SGA level, his claim will be closed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Blondeys,

    You need to contact your local Social Security office and report your earnings. You can take the documentation you have for the past two years and provide it if asked. The representative will request any needed information at that time and review your earnings. As you describe your work activity and earnings, it is unlikely that your work will affect your benefits, but if it does, you will be notified by mail and you will have appeal rights.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Blondeys,

    You do need to report your work earnings regardless of the amount your are making, so that Trial Work Period (TWP) months can be identified. (In 2017 $840 a month gross wages or net self-employment is a TWP month.) Once you use up your nine-month TWP, you will be in a thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) during which you are not eligible for benefits for any month in which you performed SGA (currently $1,170 per month gross wages or net self-employment). Impairment-related work expenses (IRWE’s) can reduce countable earnings. When you report the self-employment, give an estimate of what your annual earnings will be; Social Security will pay you based on that estimate. Then also file a self-employment tax return and submit a copy of the return to Social Security; so that if adjustments are needed, they can be made. You can read about Social Security work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kay,
    I am not sure what you are asking. Do you mean child support paid by the absent parent or do you mean Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for a disabled child? If you mean the former, I suggest you consult with a family law attorney. If you mean the latter and the $1,170 is gross wages and you and your child do not have other income and your family resources (what you own) are within the limit, your child would be eligible for SSI.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • You are welcome.

  • Dear Janice,

    If you are still in the sixty-day appeals period, you can appeal the closure of your claim and the fact of the overpayment that was caused by your performing SGA during the Extended Period of Eligibility and beyond. The appeal would be based on the fact that your employer provided so much n special accommodations due to your disability that you were not really fully earning the wages you were paid.

    If you are out of the appeals period and maybe even if you appeal, you can also request Expedited Reinstatement (ER) now that your gross is below $1,170. (Note that in 2015, the level was $1,090 and in 2016, it was $1,140.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kent,

    Working one day a week and earning $400-500 a month is not likely to trigger a continuing disability review. Even if it did, you benefits would likely continue if your psychiatric condition has not improved and you have been under the care of physician, preferably a psychiatrist.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Calvin,

    The fundamental question is whether or not you are disabled as defined by Social Security law. If you are holding down your hours and earnings just so you and your child can get benefits and really have the capacity to be working more, you probably are not disabled and eligible for benefits. If you believe that you are working at full capacity due to your mental health and it has been less than sixty days since you got your claim closure letter, you can appeal the closure. If you appeal, you need to submit medical evidence from your psychiatrists that you cannot work more than you are.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sydney,

    Questions do not post until they are answered. Your question was answered yesterday.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Anonymous,

    You do not have to disclose your disability to your employer. If you completed a job application and it asked you whether you have a medical condition that would affect your ability to do the job, you would have to answer yes if that was true. But, if you think your condition will not affect your ability to do the job, you are free to mark no.

    You do need to report the work to Social Security. As long as you have not recovered medically, your Medicare will continue through the Trial Work Period and the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). If your benefits terminate because of work after the end of the EPE, Medicare will continue for another fifty-seven months to support your return to work.

    If you are earning more than $1,170 gross per month and have impairment-related work expenses (IRWE’s), you can use those expenses to reduce your earnings. The reduced amount is the amount that will be considered when evaluating whether or not you are performing at substantial gainful activity (SGA) level. You can read about medications and other IRWEs in Social Security’s Red Book online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sydney,

    It would be best to report the work because if your employer reports the earnings to Social Security, you may be asked about it. Also, it is important to keep a record of earnings by month so that it can be determined if any of your work activity uses one of the nine Trial Work Period months. Once you have used up the Trial Work Period (TWP) you are not eligible for benefits any month you perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). Social Security’s Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov, has more information about the TWP and the Extended Period of Eligibility and Impairment-Related Work Expenses, which can be used to lower your countable earnings to fall within the TWP and SGA levels. See below for TWP and SGA earnings levels for the last four years.

    Earnings for TWP month:

    2013 750
    2014 770
    2015 780
    2016 810
    2017 840

    Earnings that are SGA:

    In calendar year 2017, $1,170
    In calendar year 2016, $1,130
    In calendar year 2015, $1,090
    In calendar year 2014, $1,070
    In calendar year 2013, $1,040

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Toomuch2,

    I suggest that you ask your therapist to submit your records for the last year and that you have your psychiatrist submit the full year as well. It would also be helpful to have your psychiatrist or therapist explain the health reasons for why you quit jobs. If your diagnosis is a bi-polar disorder and your treatment does not control manic periods, that should be considered in your evaluation.
    The two months that you earned more than $840 gross should be treated as Trial Work Period months and not affect your benefits if you are still medically disabled.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diane,

    You have a couple things involved here for him to work to get the reduced premium. I don’t know what documentation the Medicaid office will need for his employment. To comply with the law, if you hire him for domestic work, you have to treat him as an employee and issue him a W-2 form and pay Social Security taxes on his work. State law may require you to pay him minimum wage. It might be simpler to see whether he might tolerate a few hours working in a sheltered work shop with supervision and support.

    As far as Social Security goes, it is very unlikely that small amount of work is going to trigger a continuing disability review. He can support the work and say he is struggling to work the few hours with great difficulty but is doing it to get the reduced health insurance premium.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rus,

    You can wait until you know how much you will be making in a month.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ron,

    As long as you are eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI), your benefit will not be reduced for work earnings. The amount you are suggesting, $700, is lower than the Trial Work Period earnings level, so it is unlikely that your disability would come into question. Once your reach full retirement age, you will be switched to retirement benefits and there will be no limit on earnings.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kathy,

    No, you do not have to request a Ticket to Work; you can if you want to, but it is not required.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kathy,

    If you are unable to earn as much as the Trial Work Period (TWP) benchmark, which in 2017 is $840, you will never use any TWP months and benefits can continue indefinitely as long as you do not recover medically.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Wallace,

    You can apply for reduced retirement if your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits terminate due to work activity; however, the limit for exempt earnings, $16,920 a year is lower for people getting reduced retirement than it is for a person receiving SSDI based on blindness. For every two dollars over the limit there is a one dollar reduction in annual benefits.

    The current earnings limit for work to be Substantial gainful activity (SGA) for a person who is legally blind is currently $1,950 a month and your actual wages can be reduced by impairment-related work expenses before the dollar amount is compared to the SGA bench mark.

    You do not say how long you have been working, but the first nine months of work make up a Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits are paid to medically disabled people regardless of earnings levels. The thirty-six months after the end of the TWP is the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) during which benefits are suspended for months in which you perform SGA, but are paid for the rest of the months. Benefits do not terminate and your claim is not closed until you have worked and performed SGA in one month after the EPE. You can learn more about the SSDI work incentives in the Red Book online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sharon,

    If you are working below the SGA level, continuing to work will not in-and-of itself disqualify you for benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary Beth,

    According to Social Security law disability is defined as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”

    If you perform substantial gainful activity long enough (refer to my prior communication and the Red Book) you are no longer disabled as defined by Social Security, regardless of your medical condition. The reason for this is that disability benefits are supposed to provide partial income replacement for individuals who cannot work and support themselves.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary Beth,

    You can try to submit the premiums as an IRWE as well as any co-pays for medical visits and prescriptions related to your disability.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary Beth,

    Suspension of benefits means your claim is still open but benefits are not payable. The suspension month would be the month in which you performed substantial gainful activity (SGA). Your Medicare insurance continues during suspension months. The Extended Period of Eligibility a work incentive to help people transition back to work. It is the thirty-six calendar months immediately following the end of the Trial Work Period. During that time, you can work and be paid for months you do not perform SGA and your Medicare coverage continues throughout. After the EPE, if you perform SGA, you claim will be closed but your Medicare will continue for fifty-four months.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary Beth,

    Averaging may be done if you are not in the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), which requires suspension of benefits for any month that earnings are SGA.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Mary Beth Kosin

    What do you do when a month has three pay periods and you would then go over the $1,170 even though you are only capable of working the same hours per week

    • Dear Mary Beth,

      Substantial gainful activity (SGA) is based on when the work is performed not on when it was paid. Save all your pay stubs indefinitely so you can show that the hours in any given month times the rate of pay did not exceed $1,170. Also, if you have Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE), those expenses can be used to reduce your earnings before counting them for determining SGA. You can read about more about IRWEs in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Jodie,

    Because you have used up your nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP), you are now in your Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), which lasts thirty-six consecutive months beginning with the month after the end of your TWP. During the EPE, you are not eligible for benefits in any month you perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). As you seem to be aware, SGA is usually a certain dollar amount per month. In 2016, the amount was $1,130 gross wages; in 2017 the amount is $1,170. Benefits are payable for all months in the EPE that you do not perform SGA. After the end of the EPE, your claim will be closed if you perform SGA in even one month, so I recommend getting very clear on when your EPE ends. From the time frames you gave, it appears that you are still in the EPE so your eligibility should continue.

    As far as the “$800” goes, maybe the person misspoke. The only “$800” figure I can think of is $840, which is the gross wage or net self-employment amount that causes you to use one TWP month. This, however, would not apply to you because you have already used your TWP.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Belinda,

    The same work rules and income limits apply to all disabled people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) regardless of the physical or mental condition causing disability. The amount your husband can earn depends on whether your family has any other countable income now. Then he can earn $85 a month and have no reduction in benefits. Half of the excess will count to reduce his SSI benefit. For example, if he earns $300 a month, his SSI would go down by $107.50.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kris,

    Do you have a question regarding this?

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • sharon Hamann

    I have been receiving Disability payments on my SS. for over 7 years. I would like to take a part time job that is only seasonal to help support myself. It is a easy job at a dress shoppe. Will this effect my SSD

    • Dear Sharon,

      If you have not recovered medically from your disability, Social Security offers several work incentives that allow working while disabled. If your gross earnings are under $840 a month, they have to be reported; but they are low enough that you do not have to tap into the incentives to continue receiving benefits. If the earnings are $840 or more, you are allowed nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months during which full benefits are paid no matter how much you earn. The next thirty-six calendar months following the end of the TWP is called the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)and you will be paid only for months that you do not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). The current benchmark for SGA is $1,170 gross wages or net profit from self-employment. If you work and perform SGA even one month after the end of the EPE your claim will be closed, although Medicare will continue for fifty-seven months. To assure that you are paid correctly, report all changes in earnings and work activity. You can read about these incentives in the Social Security’s Red Book, which is available at http://www.ssa.gov and from some local offices.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Paige,

    You may need to file tax returns just to show you do not owe taxes. If your income is less than $25,000 (or $32,000 if married and filing jointly), Social Security is not subject to federal income tax, but it could be taxable in some states. I suggest that you consult with a tax accountant.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jamie,

    Please see my response to your first posting of this question.

    Thank you,
    Kay

  • Dear Jamie,

    In the calculation of earnings to determine whether or not a person is performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), the income counts when earned, not when paid. Accordingly, if the pay stubs show the work days being paid, you can itemize out the days and the pay for those days by calendar month. This will likely result in each month’s earnings being below SGA. Another way to do this is to get a copy of your time card, if you have one, from your employer. You might also review Impairment-related Work Expenses (IRWEs) to see whether you have any IRWEs that would lower your gross earnings in the SGA calculation. You can read about these in the Red Book, which is online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sophia,

    You seem to be saying that your benefits have been reduced because of your work. If that is true, you are not receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) but rather Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which does not pay dependent benefits. If you are receiving SSD, your work probably would have to have increased your own benefit for your child to be eligible now. However, I suggest that you check with the Social Security Administration.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Cristina,

    A Ticket to Work does not cause payments to stop. With or without a Ticket to Work, if a person performs substantial gainful activity long enough, benefits stop because the person has demonstrated the ability to sustain substantial work and is no longer disabled. You can read about this in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov. As long as his benefits continue, his daughter’s continue as well.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Christina,

    Enrolling in the Ticket to Work program will not affect his daughter dependents benefits. She will continue to get benefits as long as she is under age eighteen (or nineteen if still in high school) and he is getting benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sherrie,

    I suggest that you request a copy of your claim file so that you can review the exact reasons for cessation of benefits as well as the evidence on which the decision was based. That way you can address any specific errors of fact or interpretation.

    With little in back benefits due from which attorney fees can be paid, it may be hard to get an attorney now, but if you are denied again, I suggest hiring an experienced Social Security attorney to assist with the hearing appeal. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ginger,

    Now that you are full retirement age, you are receiving Social Security retirement not disability (not SSDI). You can earn any amount and receive full retirement benefits. If you earn over $65 gross a month, your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be reduced one dollar for every two dollars over $65.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diana,

    If your gross wages plus any net self-employment remain below $3,065 and he has no income other than SSI, he will be eligible for at least $1 in SSI and Medicaid. If your work earnings make your child ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), he will lose Medicaid coverage based on SSI eligibility; however, he might qualify for Medicaid under different criteria or for insurance under the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). Information about CHIP is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mitzie,

    If you have not recovered medically from your disability, $600 a month gross earnings for one to two days of work a week should have affect your status as disabled or your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim. You do, however, need to report when you start work; and I recommend that you keep your pay stubs permanently so that you have proof of the pattern of your work hours.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Christy,

    I suggest that you contact a tax accountant or the IRS to get answer to your tax question.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear NeedThe$toPayOTC,

    Social Security Disability (SSDI) will not be garnished for past-due state taxes; it will be garnished for past due federal taxes.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jessica,

    If you apply for a Ticket to Work and under the Ticket request vocational rehabilitation services, a voc rehab plan will be developed for you and it could include assistance in finding work.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Billie,

    If you have not recovered medically, you can have a nine-month Trial Work Period during which you can earn any amount and receive full benefits. After the end of the TWP, the next thirty-six calendar months are called the Extended Period of Eligiblity (EPE). During the EPE, you will receive benefits only for months that you do not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). After the EPE, if you perform SGA, your claim will be closed.

    Presumably, you would be self-employed in your party business being paid by commission. If that is the case, your net profit from self-employment and, if you have received less than two years of benefits, other factors such as the number of hours a week or month you work are considered in determining whether your work is substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you have been disabled more than two years, then the amount of your work earnings would usually be the only factor considered. In 2017, earnings of $1,170 gross wages or net self-employment is considered SGA. You can read about these work incentives in the Red Boo, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov or possibly from your local office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Juanita,

    The impact of work on disability benefits depends on which type of benefits you are receiving–Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    Social Security Disability benefits are not reduced for work earnings; either benefits are payable or they are not. If you have not recovered medically, you will be granted a Trial Work Period (TWP). The TWP is made up of the first nine months that you earn $840 gross wages or net self-employment profit. During that time there is no limit on what you can earn and receive benefits as long as you have not recovered medically. During the following thirty-six calendar months, which is called the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), you will not be eligible for payment in any month that you perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), the benchmark for which is now $1,170 gross wages or net self-employment. After the EPE, if you perform SGA in even one month, your claim will be closed. You can read about these work incentives in the Red Book, which is available from local Social Security offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov. Note that if you do not earn $840, you do not trigger a Trial Work Period.

    Trial Work Periods and EPEs do not apply to Supplemental Security Income. The two issues with SSI benefts are whether you are performing substantial gainful activity, which could be an indication that you are not disabled, and whether and how much your SSI benefits will be reduced for earnings. (SSI payments are determined by income received in a month.) If you have no other income, the first $85 gross earnings will not reduce SSI. If you go over that amount, there is a one dollar reduction for every two dollars you earn over $85.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jesus,

    Your local office should be able to get the information from the program service center. You can request that they make an inquiry. If you earned $810 gross in any month in 2016, that month would count as one of your nine Trial Work Period months, which can be spread out over time. When counting TWP months, count only months in which you earn at the TWP rate, which in 2017 is $840.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear TJ,

    Be sure to check this with a Social Security claims representative, but I believe that as long as you continue to be entitled to Social Security Disability (SSDI) your benefit will just roll over into a retirement benefit even though you have worked while receiving disability. If you work long enough performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) that your disability entitlement ends, the years of disability will still be considered in calculating the benefit so that your years of no work are not factored into the calculation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear SSDI Question,

    I recommend that you request a Ticket to Work from Social Security. Given that your health has not improved, you may be eligible for a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits are payable regardless of earnings, and for the following Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). The EPE is thirty-six months long. During the EPE, your claim remains open and you can be paid for any month that you do not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). Currently SGA-level earnings are $1,170 gross per month. If you perform SGA after the EPE, your claim will close, but Medicare will continue for another 50+ months. I suggest that you also request a Ticket to Work, which in most cases will keep your claim from undergoing a Continuing Disability Review (CDR). You can read about these work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov and may still be available from local Social Security offices.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shawn,

    I suggest that you ask for partial withholding, letting them know in specifics how you cannot live on the part-time work without the benefit payment. By specifics, I mean indicate what you cannot pay for. Rent? Food? Car payment? Gas to get to work? Medication co-pays?

    If you have already completed your nine-month Trial Work Period and you perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), you will not be eligible for benefits in any month you perform SGA. That means that there will be no money in those months to apply to the overpayment balance. If you have completed the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) and perform SGA, your benefits will be terminated and your claim closed.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Mary,

    Report your work activity as soon as you get your first pay check.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lisa,

    You can do the same type of work; but if you have the ability to perform substantial gainful activity (earn $1,170 or more gross per month), you are not considered to be disabled. Note that I said “the ability,” meaning whether or not you are actually doing it. Returning to the same occupation may raise more questions than starting a different kind of work, specifically the question of whether you have the ability to work more hours in that occupation than you actually do.

    Social Security does, however, have various work incentives that would apply if you have not recovered medically. These include a Trial Work Period (TWP) followed by an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). During the TWP, you can receive benefits regardless of earnings and during the EPE you will be paid for months that you do not perform SGA. You can read more about these in the Red Book, which is available from local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jenai,

    The manner in which you were paid by your employer is very irregular, both via Pay Pal and on a card in their name, which is essentially like paying you cash. It would appear that they have been trying to avoid paying payroll taxes on your wages.

    It sounds as if you did not receive either a W-2 or a 1099 from the employer to file taxes, but if you did and you can’t find them, you may be able to get proof from the IRS of the total amount reported each year. Also, you may be able to get a record from PayPal of everything you have been paid. You won’t be able to access any information from the issuing bank of the card you had access to because it was in their name.

    I suggest that you do submit copies of all the emails and other documents you have that relate to trying to get proof of your work earnings. Include a statement about the maximum amount you earned in any month, when you started and when you stopped work. Submit these even if you are told they are not good enough proof. Request a date-stamped copy of everything you submit. You might also ask to see a supervisor to explain the situation.

    Then if your claim is closed and/or an overpayment is calcualted, you can appeal. If it is a closure and you appeal within ten days, you may be granted continued payment during the appeal processing. However, given that you are no longer working, there might not be a basis for closing your claim, only a basis for calculating an overpayment based on the assumption you earned too much to be eligible.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joe,

    If your work while disabled results in earnings that are sufficiently higher than one of the years of earnings used in the calculation of your current benefits, there will be an increase. This will occur automatically about eight months after your prior year’s earnings are reported to the IRS.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Chris,

    Just for clarity, you are likely receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI), not SSI which is Supplemental Security Income. If you are receiving SSDI, $200 a month earnings will not affect your benefits. You do, however, need to report the work.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Marisol,

    Please clarify what you mean by “insurance coverage” and “insurance benefits” so that I can try to respond to you.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michelle,

    For determining whether or not you are performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), it is when you earn the money, not when it is paid. If a paycheck makes it look as if you performed SGA in a month when you didn’t, I advise that you take on the responsibility of calculating the actual amount earned in a month by prorating out based on dates of work. Write up a statement showing your calculations and submit them to SSA along with your pay stubs while keeping a copy for yourself in case any questions come up in the future.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rachel,

    You need to report your work activity. You can at the same time report your Impairment-related Work Expenses (IRWE). Your gross earnings will be reduced by the IRWEs that are approved before the earnings are used to evaluate whether you are performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), which in 2017 is typically $1,170 gross per month.

    In months that you work five nights, which will likely be every three months, even with your $500 IRWEs, you will be performing SGA based on earnings. Social Security provides a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which you will be paid regardless of earnings (as long as you have not recovered medically). The thirty-six months following the TWP is called the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). During the EPE, you will be eligible for benefits only in months you do not earn at the SGA level. After the EPE, benefits will be terminated and your claim will be closed the first month that you perform SGA. You can read about IRWEs and the other work incentives in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available at your local office and at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    I do not have a definite answer to your question about vacation and holiday pay except to say that you earned the days off with your employment, so they probably count. Work earnings are counted when earned, but I imagine that vacation pay and holiday pay would be construed to have been earned on the dates for which they were paid.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • You are welcome, Vcoraline.

  • Dear Tyler,

    I agree with you accident attorney that you could benefit from the help of an experienced Social Security attorney. You can contact your state’s bar association for a list of attorneys who focus their practices on Social Security.I also suggest that you request a copy of your claim file so you can see the exact reasons for the denial and the evidence in file on which the decision was made. That will allow you and your attorney to gather and submit any missing documentation and correct any misinformation and address the appeal to specific reasons for denial.

    When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Vcoraline,

    If your mother-in-law did not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) and has not recovered medically, her benefits should continue and she should not be overpaid. She can file an appeal contesting closure of her claim and the fact of the overpayment based on never having performed substantial gainful activity (SGA) and not having recovered medically, in fact, having worsened.

    To support her appeal, she should submit all her pay stubs for 2014 to present if she has them to show that she did not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). If she does not, she should get a printout or other proof from her employer that shows how much she earned per pay period for all that time. SGA earnings were as follows:

    2014 $1,070
    2015 $1,030
    2016 $1,130
    2017 $1,170

    Note that if in some months she got three bi-weekly checks or five weekly checks that total more than the SGA levels, but did not actually have work hours in any month that would put her at SGA, the dates covered by the pay stubs can be grouped into calendar months to show that she didn’t earn SGA in any month.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ali,

    Your benefits will be determined under SSD rules until you reach full retirement age, then they will be determined under retirement rules. This is true even if you are in the middle of a Trial Work Period when you reach retirement age, at which point in time work rules change. At full retirement age, you can work and earn any amount without reduction of benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    You can work as long as your gross wages to not reach the substantial gainful activity (SGA) in ANY month. Even one month of SGA will cause you claim to be closed. In 2017, SGA earnings level is $1,170 gross wages or net profit from self-employment.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Russ,

    If you have recovered medically and you were disabled twelve months before your full-time return to work, you would likely be approved for a closed period of disability for past months and no ongoing benefits. If you have not recovered medically and you were disabled for twelve months or more before you went back to work full-time, you could possibly be granted a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits would continue to give you a chance to see whether you could sustain work. You do need to report the work so that a determination can be made.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Tracy,

    Depending on how much you are earning, your craft sales may not have any effect on your Social Security benefits. you should report your work earnings and give an annual estimate of net profit (gross sales reduced by business expenses including materials). You are required to report the work even if your earnings are less than the $840 a month required to use a Trial Work Period (TWP). You can read about TWPs and other work incentives in the Red Book available at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sherry,

    If you have only Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and you are not receiving the maximum $735 federal payment, you may be eligible for more than you are currently receiving. If you have not yet done so, report your move and new living arrangements to Social Security so that your benefit amount can be re-evaluated.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Thelma,

    You may have visited the site when it was updating or work was being done on it. I’d say check back in a couple days.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Steve,

    Your daughter should keep all her pay stubs in case she is asked about her work activity in the future. If she does earn $840 gross in one month, she needs to report that to Social Security so that the month can be counted as one of her nine Trial Work Period months.

    I recommend that your daughter apply for the Ticket to Work. The Ticket sometimes shields a person from a continuing disability review (CDR) while an attempt to work is being made. More information about Social Security’s return-to-work incentives is available in the Red Book, which can be found at http://www.ssa.gov. The Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842 and http://www.ssa.gov/work have more information about the Ticket.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Gary,

    You can either follow the online IRS instructions for completing the Schedule C for your income tax, which essentially lists all the business expenses you can claim or you can hire a tax preparer to complete the form for you. When it has been completed, submit a copy to Social Security. As long as your profit is less than $840 a month, you will not use a Trial Work Period month.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Chad,

    If you have not recovered medically , benefits will typically continue if you do not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which in 2017 is usually defined as monthly earnings of $1,170 gross wages or $1,170 net profit from self-employment. Impairment-related work expenses can be used to lower earnings when calculating earnings for the SGA evaluation. Report if you start work and keep all your pay stubs indefinitely to document monthly earnings in every month. You can read about the various work incentives offered to individuals receiving Social Security in the Red Book available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Allen,

    If you sign up for the Ticket to Work and request vocational rehabilitation services, the rehab counselor might have more control over options available to you than the person you spoke to. You might also contact the Texas Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see whether you qualify for assistance to obtain the teaching certificate or degree needed to teach. If they cannot help, look for programs for displaced workers or look into your eligibility for a Pell grant or other financial assistance for tuition and books.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Richard,

    Social Security Disability benefits are not reduced for work earnings; either benefits are payable or they are not. If you have not recovered medically, you will be granted a Trial Work Period (TWP). The TWP is made up of the first nine months that you earn $840 gross wages or net self-employment profit. During that time there is no limit on what you can earn and receive benefits as long as you have not recovered medically. During the following thirty-six calendar months, which is called the Extended Period of Eligibility, you will not be eligible for any payment for months that you perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), the benchmark for which is now $1,170. After the EPE, if you perform SGA in even one month, your claim will be closed. You can read about these work incentives in the Red Book, which is available from local Social Security offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Matt,

    Please see my response to the post you made earlier the same day as this one.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Matt,

    During the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), which is the thirty-six calendar months following the end of the Trial Work Period, averaging is not done because the law says that no benefits are payable during the EPE for any month in which the Social Security beneficiary performs SGA. Averaging can occur when an application has been filed while the claimant is still working.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear LJP,

    Social Security has several return-to-work incentives, which you can read about in the Red Book available at local offices or online at http://www.ssa.gov. I’ll mention a couple here. I suggest that you request a Social Security Ticket to Work and use the Ticket’s services to help you find employment. Then take advantage of the nine-month Trial Work Period (to see if you can sustain work). You will receive benefits during the TWP regardless of your earnings as long as you have not recovered medically. If you have to stop work again due to your health, be sure to be under the care of a physician at that time and report to the doctor what you were experiencing that caused you to stop work so it goes into your medical record. If your employer lets you go because you can’t perform the duties, it would be good to let the employer know that the reason is your health. However, in the end, if your claim comes up for a continuing disability review (CDR), it will be the Social Security Administration that decides whether you are still disabled as defined by Social Security law.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear KizWard,

    I suggest that you gather together the documentation of your Blind Work Expenses (BWE) and your monthly earnings breakdown and report the information before you are contacted by Social Security because of reporting of your earnings to the IRS. You can claim transportation and taxes. A list of allowable BWE can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/eng/blindrules.htm#2=&a0=1.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Beastmod,

    SSI is paid based on income received in a month even if it is earned in another month, so it is correct that your SSI would go down or be terminated for months that she gets the fifth paycheck.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Matt,

    Earnings for the evaluation of substantial gainful activity (SGA) is based on when money is earned not on when it is paid. If the pay stubs show the dates that the money was earned, you can calculate the actual amount earned each month and submit a summary saying it is based on the work dates on the pay stubs. If you are in your extended period of eligibility (EPE), no averaging is done. For an explanation of the EPE, see Social Security’s Red Book, which is available from your local office or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Wondering in MI,

    First you need to clarify with your subcontractor whether he is getting Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because the rules are different. If he is getting Social Security and he is trying to earn less than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, the amount in 2016 was $1,130 monthly net profit from self-employment or gross wages of $1,130. In 2017 the figure is $1,170 per month.

    A side note: If the man works for you and you control his work hours and activities, he is actually your employee and would likely require a W-2 from you. I suggest that you look into IRS law regarding this.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Stacy Ann,

    Given that you receive Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the only issue is to prove that you are not working. Given that you are selling things you and your daughter own (not buying things and reselling them for higher price), you are not running a business. I suggest that you go to Social Security with the 1099 and a written statement that you are not working, but rather selling off your and your daughter’s possessions. Ask for a date-stamped copy of the written report because in about a year and a half you could be asked about it again after the 1099 goes through the IRS system to Social Security.

    As an aside, in addition to what other you help you are getting for your shopping and debting addiction, you might try Debtors Anonymous. If there are no meetings in your town, there are phone meetings available. More information is available at http://www.debtorsanonymous.org.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kimberly,

    In general, it is not mandatory to have a Medicare supplement to cover deductibles and co-pays, but I do not know what rules might apply within the Ticket to Work program. Vocational Rehabilitation services are available through the Ticket. You might inquire whether there is any medical expense help to return you to work. You might also check the hospital where the cardiac rehab is to occur. Most hospitals offer some free or discounted services; perhaps the co-pays could be waived if you showed financial need.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear John,

    Most short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) policies reduce benefits for the amount of Social Security Disability (SSDI) received for the same months. Nonetheless, if you expect to be disabled for twelve months or more, I recommend that you apply for SSDI now because if needed SSDI is a lifetime benefit and LTD usually ends no later that at retirement age. Also, depending on your income bracket, all or part of your Social Security will not be taxable and after twenty-four months of benefits, you will be eligible for Medicare. Lastly, it will be easier to prove the onset date of your disability applying now than a long time later.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joe,

    Averaging should apply because not all the pay in the three pay checks was earned in one month. If you encounter any problems and averaging is not applied, you can calculate out the exact amount each month that you worked and earned by using the dates on the pay stubs that show the months in which the work was actually done. I recommend keep the pay stubs indefinitely.

    Also, if you have used up your Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits are payable regardless of the amount of earnings and are in the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), averaging will not apply. You will need to calculate the exact amount you earned in each month using the pay stubs and a calendar to identify work days within calendar days.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ront,

    You should report your work now as well as the fact that you stopped due to your health and that your health is worse due to having worked. Submit copies of paystubs or an employer payroll printout that shows when you started and stopped. If you did not work after the nine months or did not make $1,130 gross in any month after the nine months, your benefits should not be affected.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sickle Cell,

    If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), your benefits will not be reduced by work earnings. As long as you are eligible, full benefits are payable. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), SSI will be reduced $1 for every $2 gross earnings above $65 a month ($85 if you have no income.) Having a ticket to work can defer a medical continuing disability review.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Christina,

    Only earnings of $840 or more count as a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. When granted a TWP, during the TWP, he can earn any amount and still get benefits as long as he is still medically disabled. If he works at the $1,170 substantial gainful activity (SGA) level after the end of TWP and during the thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), he will not be paid for those months in which he performs SGA. If he performs SGA after the EPE, his claim will be closed. The Red Book provides additional information about these work incentives.

    I don’t know the answer to your question about the Ticket to Work except to say that a Ticket usually defers continuing disability reviews. The Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842 may be able to provide additional guidance.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Thanks for the heads up.

  • Dear Amy,

    That is correct; self-employment begun after having received twenty-four months of Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits is evaluated based only on earnings.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lashun,

    Please see my response to your earlier post. When you file the appeal, do include any impairment-related work expense. Note that Trial Work Periods apply only to Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) benefits, not to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lashun,

    I suggest that you appeal the closure. You probably don’t need an attorney. If you appeal within ten days and she is getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI), not Social Security, she can request payment continuation while the appeal is processed.

    To support the appeal, submit a statement from your daughter’s Walmart supervisor about the accommodations she was getting due to her disability. Also, submit her pay stubs to show that she did not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). Note that if she was paid three two-week pay periods in one month or five one-week pay periods, the pay stubs will show earnings $1,130 or higher in those months. This does not mean that she performed SGA in those months. You can make a chart of actual days/hours worked each month to show that she didn’t perform SGA in any single calendar month.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Bob,

    There is no limit to the amount that you can earn when you reach full retirement age.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Worried,

    If your Medicaid stops when you report the income change, you will be given a sixty-day personal enrollment period to enroll in insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Depending on your income, you might qualify for a government subsidy to help pay for the premiums. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov. At the same time, you could contact a medical insurance broker for guidance and/or your state’s insurance commissioner’s office to get a list of insurance companies serving your zip code.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Darren,

    When reporting work earnings, report he full earnings and report the Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWEs). The Social Securit Administration (SSA) then reviews and approves or rejects the IRWEs and reduces the earnings by any approved IRWEs.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Steve,

    If you are unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), your benefits can continue while you work. In 2017 the earnings level that is usually considered SGA is $1,170 gross wages per month. If you decide to work, notify Social Security when you start. Also, it could be helpful to review the information about work and SSD in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov or from your local office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shakespeare,

    Employment subsidies of the type you describe that are related to being paid for doing a full job while getting unpaid assistance to do the job or not doing all the duties is one condition that can reduce work earnings that are counted in an SGA evaluation. But, it is different from Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE), which are out-of-pocket expenditures paid by the disabled worker.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jack,

    The small amount amount of work earnings you suggest should not jeopardize your Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) benefits as long as you have not recovered medically and do not have the capability to work more and earn $1,170. You do need to report when you start work even though the earnings will be below the level needed to use a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. (You can read about TWPs and other SSDI work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov or from your local office.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear MRD,

    Yes, your gross earnings can be reduced by impairment-related work expenses (IRWE). The reduced amount will then be considered in determining whether you performed substantial gainful activity (SGA). Accordingly, when you report your earnings, also provide a statement and proof of IRWE.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Bob,

    I believe you mean that you have kept your earnings below $1,130 per year. In 2017 the usual level for substantial gainful activity (SGA) will be $1,170 gross wages or net self-employment.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Craig,

    You can report your work in any format, but using the SSA-795 would be just fine. Also, I support your idea of getting a date-stamped photocopy of your report to keep for your records. After you report your work, you may be sent a questionnaire for more detailed information about the work; this is generally routine.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear ABNRGRCSM,

    The fundamental question is whether you are still medically disabled. According to Social Security law, disability means being unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) whether or not you are working and whether or not you hold your earnings to below SGA level ($1,170 in 2017). If it is determined that you have the ability to earn $1,170 gross or more even if you are not doing so, your benefits will be terminated. (When determining SGA, earnings are reduced by any disability-related work expenses you might have.) If you have the ability to perform SGA, benefits can be stopped even with a Ticket to Work or during the nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). That said, a continuing disability review (CDR) is less likely to be initiated if you have a Ticket to Work. You might start by requesting a Ticket to Work. The Ticket sometimes provides vocational rehabilitation services. More information is available in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov and from the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842. Be sure to report when you start to work.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Alan,

    I suggest that you apply for a Ticket to Work. This will allow you to try returning to work with less likelihood of a continuing disability review (CDR) while you attempt work. Also, you might get vocational assistance in finding work through the Ticket.

    When you start work, full benefits will be paid during a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). After the TWP and for the next thirty-six months called the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), you will be paid only for months that you do not perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which in 2017 is $1,170 gross wages per month. After the EPE, your claim will be closed with the first month you perform SGA. If your claim closes due to work activity and not medical recovery, Medicare will continue for seven-plus years after the end of the TWP. Information about these work incentives can be found in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov or from your local Social Security office.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Joy,

    Because you reference dependent benefits, I assume your daughter is receiving Social Security dependent benefits, not SSI. If that is the case, she can earn up to $16,920 a year and not affect her benefits. You do not need to report the work as long as she doesn’t go over the limit.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Shiela,

    Evaluation of work earnings for use of Trial Work Period (TWP) months and substantial gainful activity (SGA) is somewhat different for a person who is self-employed. The earnings threshold is net earnings from self-employment (amount paid reduced by business expenses), and the number of hours you worked in the business per month and the types of services you performed are considered in determining whether your services were substantial. There is also the possibility that Social Security will determine that you were actually an employee and not self-employed.

    All that said, with your earnings having been below the TWP level, investigation of your work will likely be minimal, especially because you stopped due to your health. I suggest that you report your earnings now, giving an estimate of the number of hours you worked a month and reporting that you stopped.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Steven,

    I recommend that you report your work now saying that you didn’t realize that you had to report because you have been earning too little to use a Trial Work Period month. Say you are reporting now because you learned that you needed to. Report the two jobs and that you left the first one because it was too hard for you to do. Put all this in writing and make the report at your local office. Ask them to date stamp it and make you a copy of the document after it is date stamped. You may be sent a questionnaire to provide more detailed information about your work. If you are asked for pay stubs, you can submit what you have and request a statement from your employers for the missing periods. Start keeping the stubs from now on.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Aly,

    You are mixing up some aspects of reporting for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with reporting responsibilities for Social Security Disability (SSD). You were supposed to report your work right away when you started so it could be considered in the decision to approve your claim. That said, the amount you are working and earning should not affect your eligibility. Report your work earnings now. Hopefully, you have kept pay stubs to show your pattern of work was steady at around $450 and significantly higher in any months. If you don’t have them, just make a written statement of when you started, the number of hours you work, the rate of pay and your work duties.

    Insured status refers to your having enough work credits to be insured for disability benefits. The 2019 date is probably not the date set for a continuing disability review. Rather it is likely the date before which you had to have become disabled.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Hillary,

    To be eligible for benefits you have to be medically unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is usually $1,130 gross wages per month or $1,130 net profit from self-employment. (These figures change to $1,170 in 2017.) Number of hours worked is generally is not considered. However, when self-employment is involved, the number of hours an individual is working in the business is considered because profit does not always reflect the amount of work done by a self-employed individual.

    The $810 figure that you reference is the threshold for a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. During the nine-month TWP full benefits are paid regardless of earnings as long as you have not recovered medically. Then after the TWP, there is a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) during which you are paid only for months in which you do not perform SGA ($1,130).

    I suggest that you request a Ticket to Work before you start working by calling the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842. The Ticket will reduce the likelihood that a continuing disability review (CDR) of your medical condition will be initiated. You also need to report when you start working by giving the rate of pay, the number of hours, and a work duties you will be doing. Also include any special accommodations, if any, that you will be given. If you later have a change of hours that moves you into or out of the TWP level of earnings (or SGA level when you are in the EPE), you need to report at that time also. I recommend that you make the report in writing and keep a copy of it.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear DM,

    In 2016 earnings of $810 gross wages or eighty hours of self-employment activity is a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. Earnings below $810 do not constitute a TWP month.

    The fundamental issue is whether or not a person is disabled according to Social Security law. If the person is able to perform substantial gainful activity, whether working or not and whether in a TWP or not, the person is not eligible for benefits. Social Security’s Red Book explains this clearly saying a TWP will be granted “as long as you report your work activity and you have a disabling impairment.”

    Because work can be an indicator of recovery, it can trigger a continuing disability review (CDR) but it doesn’t always; it depends on the person’s diagnosis and other factors, sometimes including age. Signing up for a Ticket to Work will forestall a CDR unless something such as a fraud accusation triggers a review. In short, if a person wants to try to work, it would be a good idea to request a Ticket to Work by calling the Ticket hotline at 1-866-968-7842. The Ticket to Work has other advantages as well including vocational rehabilitation services.

    If a CDR is initiated, a claims examiner trained in Social Security law and in diagnoses and limitations that may stem from the diagnoses makes the decision of continuing disability or not. The examiner may consult with medical and vocational resources and personnel to gather information for use in making the decision.

    In your case, if the number of hours you are working is your maximum capability, your earnings stay below substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is currently $1,130 gross, and the medical evidence supports the limited work hours, then there should be no problem keeping your Social Security Disability benefits. But, you do need to report the work.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Blaine,

    If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) based on your own earnings records or childhood disability benefits (CDB) as a disabled adult child on the earnings record of a parent, you do need to report your earnings to the Social Security Administration when you start working and anytime you have a raise or your work hours vary significantly. This means that if you have not reported your work, you need to do so now. Also, you need to report any months that you earn enough for the month to be a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. See below for a list of gross earnings per month that constitute a TWP.

    If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, you need to report your earnings every month you a paid an amount that is different from the month. The reason for monthly reports is that have of your earnings above $65 ($85 if you have no other income) reduces your SSI benefits two months later. SSI reports are to be made by the 10th of the month following the month of change.

    2010-2012 $720
    2013 750
    2014 770
    2015 780
    2016 810
    2017 840

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Herb,

    The fundamental issue is whether or not a person is disabled according to Social Security law. If the person is able to perform substantial gainful activity, whether working or not, whether in a TWP or not, the person is not eligible for benefits. Social Security’s Red Book explains this clearly saying a TWP will be granted “as long as you report your work activity and you have a disabling impairment.”

    Because work can be an indicator of recovery, it can trigger a continuing disability review (CDR) but not always; it depends on the person’s diagnosis and other factors, sometimes including age. However, signing up for a Ticket to Work will forestall a CDR unless somethin, such as a fraud accusation triggers a review. In short, if a person wants to try to work, it would be a good idea to request a Ticket to Work by calling the Ticket hotline at 1-866-968-7842. The Ticket to Work has other advantages as well.

    Social Security grants only one Trial Work Period, which is generally referred to as being nine months in length, but it can be longer. A TWP month is a month in which earnings reach TWP levels–currently $810 gross wages or eighty hours a month work in self-employment. However, the TWP actually extends until the person has worked enough to use nine TWP months in a rolling period of sixty months. The key word is “rolling.” The Social Security beneficiary does not get a new TWP every five years, but if the TWP work months are spread out over time, the TWP could result in having more than nine months. This would happen when some TWP months from the first sixty months “drop off” and are not part of the new rolling sixty-month period that the claimant moves into.

    Here’s an example: Say a person had TWP months in January through March 2010 (3 months) and October through December 2015 (3 months) and April 2016 continuing. In this example, the TWP would end September 2016 after the person had worked twelve months at the TWP level but only nine months in a single sixty month rolling period, in this case from October 2011 through September 2016.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Val,

    My response is based on the understanding that you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) not Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you are receiving SSI, let me know and I will comment further.

    1. I suggest that you request a Ticket to Work. Usually individuals who have a Ticket to Work will not undergo a continuing disability review (CDR).
    2. Recovering medically means that your health has improved to the point that you have the ability to perform substatial gainful activity (SGA), whether or not you are actually working. Usually the ability to earn gross wages of $1,130 is the ability to perform SGA.
    3. If your claim undergoes a CDR, your medical condition will be reviewed by a claims examiner who is trained in Social Security Disability law and is trained as a lay person in many aspects of many medical conditions. Physicians are available for consultations in the review process and when certain medical issues are present always reviews the examiner’s decision.
    4. Being under the care of a physician, receiving medical treatment and/or taking medication does not necessarily mean a person is disabled. You must be unable to perform SGA in any occupation that you could perform absent whatever physical or mental limitations you now how. Age, education, and past work history is taken into consideration when making these determinations. At age fifty-three you fall into the category of “approaching advanced age,” so the expectations of being able to work in new occupations is not as high as if you were a younger person.
    5. Work can trigger a CDR, but it doesn’t always. Also see my response to number 1 above.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dan Smith

    Hello. I have been on SSDI since 2002. In 2009 I received a one-time payment from workman’s comp (Ohio) of $10,000 after lawyer fees. Shouldn’t this payment be looked at as the one-time one month’s income only which it was and my SSDI adjusted accordingly for that month only, instead of as income month after month for the entire year, which caused all of my SSDI for that year to be adjusted down? That would wipe out my SSDI due for that month, yes, but would not affect other months in which I did not receive any additional income. I am about to receive another one-time lump sum payment from Workman’s comp again, how can I minimize it’s effect on my SSDI for the year?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dan,

      It is correct that lump sum workers compensation payments are prorated (spread) out over a period of time and used to offset (reduce) your Social Security Disability for all months in the proration period. The law is clear on this, so you may want to keep the lump sum to use it gradually during the offset period.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jessica

    Hi Kay, I recently quit working for fear of losing my benefits because of some of the horror stories i’ve read. During the 6.5 months I worked I made around 14k dollars gross. As I was self-employed I made a net income of around 5k dollars. The amounts are accurate and were reported to SSA when I started and finished working. Unfortunately I did not keep track of my hours so I just estimated I worked less than 45 hours a month because I had both family and friends work with me. My question is can an overpayment occur while you’re in a TWP or if you never finished a trial work period? Im worried by me perhaps estimating the wrong hours that SSA may think im trying to cheat the system if they contact my contractor (Grubhub) and see I worked way more hours than I estimated. I get a 1099 at the end of the year and all my payments were directly deposited and include tips. I honestly dont know my hours and just estimated from memory when filling out the work history from. Basically i’m afraid of losing my benefits or an overpayment occurring or something like that biting me in the ass at some future date. i.e. what happened to this lady here: https://www.learnvest.com/2013/12/social-security-overpaid-me/

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jessica,

      The fundamental issue is whether or not you are disabled. Social Security defines disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.” Depending on how much your net profit from self-employment (gross income on the 1099 reduced by business expenses) and how much unpaid help (if any) you were getting from family and friends, you may not be disabled because you have the ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).

      To answer your question about future consequences, if you had been getting benefits for less than two years when you were working, your 1099 and/or self-employment tax returns could trigger a continuing disability review (CDR) even though you did not complete the Trial Work Period (TWP). When you have a CDR, whether work-triggered or a routine CDR, your work activity will be reviewed and considered along with your medical condition to determine whether you are still disabled. It is unlikely that SSA will contact your client about your hours. Claim closures due to work activity can be retroactive to when the work showed the person was no longer disabled; however, if you reported when you started and were told that you had a TWP, that should not happen.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jessica

        Hi Kay, quick follow-up question. I reported starting work February 31, 2016 and I reported ending it October 14, 2016. Assuming all of those months were SGA is that considered 9 months or 8 months? I guess im trying to understand how they compute the TWP months and maybe you can tell me assuming all of those months above were SGA how many TWP’s did I use and do they count the February 31st start date or will they count from March 1st? Thank you for your time and help on this.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jessica,

          If you started work on the last day of February 2016, which was February 29, you likely did not work and earn $1,130 on that one day or even $810, which is the level of earnings needed to count as a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. Accordingly, March would count as the first month in the TWP.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • David C

    Hi.

    I started working right at the end of October, but didn’t start getting income until November. Am I still entitled to the October payment that is received in the month of November?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      Please provide more information so I can respond to your question.

      1. Have you recovered medically?
      2. Do you receive Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
      3. Have you received at least twenty-four months of benefits?
      4. Is October the first time you have worked since you became disabled?
      5. How much did you earn gross in October?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Candice

        Hello Kay, first let me say thanks for all of the information you’ve provided. I’ve been on SSDI since Feb2012, I started a job on 8/28/2016, the months of Sep2016 & Oct2016 were over the SGA amount, I made about $2000.00 per month and that was only due to required training. My pay for November is $721.64, plus $58.50 for me not taking their insurance (I have insurance from former employer I retired from plus Medicare). So total it’s about $780.00 a month gross starting November, we get paid twice a month on the 5th & 20th of each month. 1st thru 15th and 16th thru end of the month. My questions are (3 of them) since my gross pay will now be below the $810.00 threshold, do you think its likely that I will get a CDR? Do you think it would be possible to trigger anything if I remain below the $810.00 gross pay? I’ve also read if you are under the TWP and work 9 months above SGA and the 10month or anything after 6 months you stop working or your pay goes down substantially that SocSec will determine you are no longer disabled. You would have to prove why your pay or hours decreased substantially, do you know if this is true? I called SocSec before I started working and asked about the TWP and they sent me information on the program. After that I was hired as a customer service rep in a call center and reported that to SocSec as well. I received form 821 from SocSec, which I filled out and submitted my pay stubs to them as well. I’ve also submitted this past weekend, copies of my last 2 pay stubs showing the check for 11/1 thru 11/15 (25 hours @ $13.18 an hour plus $29.00 for not taking their insurance) $365.47. I have not improved medically, I have severe osteoarthritis, depression and anxiety. I’m 55 years old, and my case when approved in 2012 shows a review every 5 to 7 years.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Candice,

          The fundamental issue in continuation or termination of benefits is always whether or not a person is disabled. Social Security defines disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.” In the situation you described–benefits are terminated when a person’s earnings drop from substantial gainful activity (SGA) to below SGA level right after the end of the Trial Work Period (TWP)–occurs when Social Security investigates and finds that the individual’s medical condition does not appear to be the reason for the reduction in earnings. In other words, the person has voluntarily limited work activity to keep benefits when actually have the ability to perform SGA and is not disabled as defined by Social Security law.

          Your situation of being able to sustain work at the SGA level for only one month should not have negative consequences because your planned and actual work schedule, which you have to sustain in the long term is well below SGA.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • David C

        Hi Kay,

        1) I’ve recovered enough medically to work.
        2) I have been receiving SSDI
        3) I just finished the 24-month period one month earlier
        4) This is the first time I’ve worked since becoming disabled.
        5) I didn’t get any paychecks in October, but the time I worked equated around 2k.

        Hope this helps. Thanks for your input and time!
        David

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear David,

          If you report medical recovery, usually benefits are payable for two months after recovery, which would mean that you would be eligible for the October and November benefits that are paid in November and December. If a claim closes due to work activity there is no grace period.

          If you are sure you have recovered enough to sustain work, reporting medical recovery would be appropriate. If not, it might be more advantageous to request a Ticket to Work and a Trial Work Period (TWP), which is nine months, during which you would receive full benefits. n exception would be if you were scheduled for a continuing disability review during the TWP and were found to be recovered. At the end of the TWP, you would not receive benefits if you were still performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is usually considered to be the ability to earn $1,130 gross a month. You can read about these return-to-work incentives in the Social Security Red Book available online at http://www.ssa.gov. Whichever reporting you think is the correct one or you, it might be a good idea to save the benefits until you know for sure which months you are eligible to keep.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • allen klein

    if i make 900 or below while getting disability on a part time job every month, do i have to report my earnings every month to ssi office, and also do i have to pay taxes on it every year

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Allen,

      If you are getting Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) and you earn the same amount or close to the same amount every month, you only have to report when you started work and when you stop if you stop or if the amount changes substantially. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you need to report every mopnth that your earnings change even if the change is small. Check with a tax accountant regarding your requirement for filing a tax return.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • If I make 980 a month on disability if I take a part time job to make a little extra money by doing work at home I will make about 300 a month will I lose me disability

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chuck,

      Earnings of $300 a month will not affect your eligibility for Social Security Disability. Be sure to keep your pay stubs if you will be an employee so you can document the pattern of your work (how much was earned in each month). If you will be self-employed, keep a log of the number of hours you work and a record of all your self-employment income and business expenses so that you can file self-employment tax returns to document your earnings.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Shawn Connolly

    Hello, Kay. Big thanks in advance for your help. I am accepting a job that will pay more than the $810 cap, but I have disability-related expenses that will take my earnings below the $810 cap. How do I report my earnings and disability-related costs to SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shawn,

      Submit a copy of your pay stubs and a copy of your receipts for disability-related work expenses to your local office. Be sure to keep the originals indefinitely. As an aside, $810 is the benchmark for a month’s earnings counting as a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. The benchmark for Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is currently $1,130. You can read about TWPs in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Shawn

        THANKS, Kay! As a continuation of my question, are my Medicare monthly SSDI deductions, parts A-D, deductable from my earnings during my Trial Work Period? Thank you!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Shawn,

          I doubt they will be deductible; however, you could try to make a case for the premiums being deductible because without the insurance you would not be able to get medical care or medication that is needed for your health to be good enough to work. (By the way, there is no premium for Part A if you are receiving Social Security.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • David Wilson

    Hi. My wife and I both receive SSDI. Are we each able to make 1130.00 per month? Our disabilities will not allow us to work outside the home, so we had considered some sort of online business.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      Your and your wife’s claims are evaluated separately as related to whether or not either of you is performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you decide to work together in a business, I suggest that you clearly define the type of business by consulting with a tax accountant and/or a small business advisor such as can be found through the Small Business Administration. You need to define each of your roles–are you partners in a partnership, employees in a C-corp, one a sole proprietor and the other an employee? How will each be compensated? You also need to track the number of hours you each work in the business and the specific duties you perform. All of this will be needed for Social Security to have a clear picture of each of your work activity and earnings.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Hi Kay,
        I have been disabled for 5 years . I am 55 years old and have recurring spinal fractures due to osteoporosis . I worked most of my life . A few years back I tried some part time work at very low paying jobs at 15 to 17 hrs a week . I am divorced and was struggling to pay my co payments for my specialty Doctors . I did try 3 different jobs but none work out due to ruptured fractures and some mental health issues .. I got a letter stating that they need to know more about my work to over the last 4 years to see if I am still eligible to receive benefits .. I reported all my income and was told that I was far below SGA and no where near my TWP. The jobs paid less than 8.50 an hour , and I am now petrified that I will loose my benefits . They enclosed paper work for me to fill out in regard to the jobs ..any advice would be greatly appreciated .

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Charlotte,

          The work as you describe it and your worsening medical condition indicate that it is unlikely that you will lose your benefits. Complete the paperwork as fully and accurately as possible. Indicate that you left both jobs because of your health. Also state that you reported the jobs at the time you were working. If you still have the pay stubs from the jobs, attach copies of them.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Halley Hampton

    Hi,
    I have had MS for 21 years now but worked up until 10/25/2014 when I over done it and had a horrible relapse. I was/ am an LPN. I got my license in 2011 so I want to keep it. I get 931.00 a month. I have been getting 469.00 a month in LTD insurance also but it runs out in April 2017. I still cannot work full time at all like I used to but I believe with all my heart and my Dr agrees that I can work 1 or 2 days a week to keep my license but who knows maybe one day I can work more but not any time soon. i really want/need to work the 1 or 2 days a week when my LTD runs out. Am I able to return to the same profession or does SS require u to change professions? I will earn between 589.00 to 1000.00 a month but not more than 1100 a month. Will I continue to keep my SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Halley,

      Working limited hours in a past occupation is not prohibited and your earnings would be below substantial gainful activity, so benefits should continue. However, when your claim comes up for the usual scheduled medical review, you and your doctor will need to explain why you cannot work more than a day or two especially if you work full day shifts.

      I suggest that you request a Ticket to Work before you start work and the report when you start and give estimated earnings at that time. Keep all your pay stubs so that you will have easily accessible proof of the amount you earned in each month. You can read about Social Security’s return-to-work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov. You can get request a Ticket to Work by calling the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Craig Davis

    Hello,

    I have been receiving SSDI for 3 years. My disability realistically cannot get “better” so a CDR review does not make me nervous. It was approved 1st attempt FYI.

    I wish to start coaching Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) classes at a local MSF approved for profit school. This will be as a private contractor and will never exceed gross pay of $750.00 monthly. It is only a few days monthly when they are short of instructors. This work is not remotely related to my previous high stress job as a hospital director FYI 🙂

    Just a couple of questions and thank you so much in advance for these postings !!

    1. When exactly should I inform SSA of income?
    2. Since I will NEVER exceed $830.00 (gross) monthly, I am assuming that TWP will never be invoked, is this correct?
    3. Do you see any “gotchas” in this scenario where SSA may claim that I am now able to work above SGA ? I know that all scenarios cannot be addressed, but in general I’m just wondering if I follow these rules will SSA treat me okay?

    Thanks much,

    Craig D.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Craig,

      Report your work in writing when you start. Include that your will be an independent contractor; estimate the number of hours per month and the maximum earnings. Also, describe the services you will perform–coaching, demonstrating, classroom teaching. Take the written report to Social Security and ask to have the report date-stamped and to be given a photocopy of the stamped report. To complete documentation, when you file your taxes be sure to include your self-employment earnings and keep those tax forms and your original report indefinitely.

      In 2016 the Trial Work Period benchmark is $810 net self-employment and usually less than forty-five hours a month working in the business ($830 in 2017). Accordingly, you are right; you will not be using any Trial Work Period months. Without an improvement in health and with consistently low earnings and few work hours, it is unlikely that Social Security would determine that you had the capacity to work and earn $1,130 ($1,170 in 2017). The only trigger I could see would be if you have to demonstrate riding a motorcycle and you have a physical disability that should preclude that ability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Craig D.

        Thank you Kay, that was exact and concise information. My disability is not physical, it is a hereditary coronary disease but I will take your information into account.

        You are very gracious to share your knowledge.

        Craig

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Craig,

          You are welcome. (Heart disease is a physical disease as opposed to a mental illness.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • dee moon

        Kay
        Quick question.
        I get 840 on disability. A month. Can I apply for Ssi. I’m only 56.
        And if i do care giving which has nothing to do with my disability, I will be making 960 a month gross will that affect it negativity?
        Thanks
        Dee

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Dee,

          Your Social Security benefit is too high for federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and too high for an SSI supplement in most states. You can check with Social Security to find out the state supplement limit in your state. And, with work earnings of $960 gross you will not be eligible for SSI state supplement in any state.

          Regarding the effect of $960 gross wages on your eligibility for Social Security Disability, you can request a Ticket to Work from Social Security and request that your work earnings be applied to a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). During the TWP, you can receive full benefits as long as you have not recovered medically to the point of having the ability to earn $1,130 ($1,170 in 2017), which is generally considered Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Benefits will continue to be paid for any months in the Extended Period of Eligibility, which is the thirty-six months following the TWP, that you do not perform SGA. After the end of the TWP, your benefits will be terminated and your claim closed the first month that you earn at the SGA level. You can read about these work incentives in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov. You can request a Ticket to Work by calling 1-866-968-7842.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Brendan

            Hi Kay, I was under the impression you could earn as much as you wanted during the TWP without it being counted against you? Am I incorrect?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Brendan,

              The Trial Work Period (TWP) is intended for people who want to try to work but don’t know whether they can sustain work because of their health, hence the word “trial.” So, it is correct that you can earn any amount during the TWP and still be eligible for full benefits as long as there is no evidence that your health has improved so much that you are no longer medically disabled irrespective of work activity. It is a good idea to request a Ticket to Work because often Continuing Disability Reviews are deferred during the TWP and even during the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE).

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • A.A.

            Hi Kay,
            As I understand it, your answer to Dee was not entirely correct. There is a 3 month “Grace Period” when you still get paid benefits after reaching SGA level.

            If your countable gross income is at or below the SGA amount for any month, you are eligible for your full SSDI benefit amount for that month. In any month in which your countable gross income exceeds the SGA amount ($1,130 in 2016), you are not entitled to benefits for that month. ***However, there is a one-time exception to this rule known as the “grace period.” You are eligible for benefits for the first month and the following two consecutive months during your EPE in which you work above the SGA amount.*** AFTER that your benefits will stop if you continute to earn above the SGA amount.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear A.A.,

              The grace period applies only to terminations due to medical improvement not due to performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) in the Extended Period of Disability (EPE) or after. You can read about this on page nine of Social Security’s Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • Chris Fox

      Hi Kay, did I read that rental income does not count as work income for disability benefits? Thank you.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Chris,

        If your rental income can be reported as passive rental income on your income tax forms, the income will not be considered earned income.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Spyz

      Dear Kay, I’m having a hard time living on SSI. I’m considering trying to drive for Uber. Would I be able to deduct Insurance, cell phone, Internet and gas expenses since they are all work related expenses?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Spyz,

        If you will be working for Uber as an independent contractor, your net profit after business expenses is considered in determining your earnings for both calculation of SSI (Supplemental Security Income) payments and for determining whether you are performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).

        I suggest that you consult with a tax accountant for a list of valid business expenses and/or review the instructions for business deductions approved by the IRS. I can say that you can deduct gas expenses or you can deduct a flat rate per mile of business use. The latter would probably be easier to document if you are using the same vehicle for work and non-work transportation. You probably cannot deduct your cell phone unless you have a separate business phone. Same would be true for mixed use of the Internet. Be sure to report your work to Social Security and provide an estimate of how much you will be earning; then turn in a copy of your Schedule C from your tax return each year for final proof of your earnings the prior year.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Angela Padua

    I just want to ensure that I am understanding this correctly. In the TWP and the Extended work, as long as you make under $1130 you still receive your benefits. So in the TWP, if you make over $1130 a month your benefits stop. And also they stop if you make over $1130 in the 3 years extended work period and they deny you and close your case. Sorry just confused. And, as long as you make under $810 it doesn’t count towards your TWP, but anything over $810 does.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Angela,

      Your summary is correct except 1) During the TWP, benefits continue regardless of the amount you make; and 2) during the EPE benefits are suspended only in months you perform SGA, which is usually $1,130 gross wages. After the EPE, your claim closes with the first month of SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sherri

        And there are 5 weeks in some months that will make you go over! I have been working six years and receive my disability almost lost it due to not understanding how they do the five weeks! Example my pay period ends on Sat that could be Sat Dec 3 so since it ended on second and there is another week to go that count that week also! Just some tips! I just had to cut all my hours for November! My next 5 weeks is in Jan!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sherri,

          Yes, people who are paid weekly will receive five paychecks every three months. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment calculation, the earnings count when paid. For determination of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) for both Social Security Disability and SSI disability, the earnings count when earned not when paid. For that reason, it is important to keep pay stubs to show when pay was earned because it is possible that actual earnings in five-paycheck months do not go above SGA levels, that is, you didn’t earn $1,130 in the month even though you were paid more. This can occur because in months of four paychecks, you are not being paid for all your earnings in those months and the unpaid wages earned gradually build up till the month that there are five paydays.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sergei Kapooski

    Hi, I started receiving SSD benefits last June. I was a licensed electrician, because of my severe COPD and having to be oxygen permanently, that job was too dangerous and too exerting. I am only 60; I believe that I could do some light work to supplement my SSD benefits. My condition will never get better; it might even get worst with time. The benefit I am getting is $1,488 before taxes. I am still confused when I read about Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
    I have received an offer of a position at $9.75 per hour, 3 days a week, but I do not want to cut my own throat. People have told me that I was lucky to get SSD on my first try. I have not explored my work options due to my breathing problems. I can walk and preform menial tasks without exerting myself as long as I have my portable oxygen concentrator (POC).
    I have read that presently the benchmark for the SGA for 2016 is $1130.00. Does it mean that I can work and get up to $1130.00 per month, and still my get full benefit of $1488.00 or am I reading this all wrong? What I anticipate of getting would be about $936.00 per month working 4 weekends, and I understand that there are months with five weekends increasing up $1170.00. What would happen then?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sergei,

      Social Security has several return-to-work incentives. The first is a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which full benefits are payable even if you earn at the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level, which is $1,130 in 2016 and $1,170 in 2017. (Note that you must under those amounts not at those amounts). Any month in which you gross $810 or more ($830 in 2017) is a TWP month.

      The thirty-six calendar months after the TWP is the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). During the EPE, no benefits are payable for any month you perform SGA. After the end of the EPE, benefits will be terminated and your claim will be closed with the first month you perform SGA. If you are eligible for Medicare at that time, Medicare will continue for another fifty-four months.

      You are right to note that in some months, you may earn at the SGA level. I suggest that you read the Red Book available online at http://www.ssa.gov for more information about the incentives. Information is also available at the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mike B

    Hi, I was working when I first applied for ssdi and made approx $800/month, and I reported this on the application. I was denied that time as they didn’t find me disabled. I re-applied right away, and only had to check a box on the application if I worked since the last application, which I did. That time I was approved. I had to wait the 5 months before benefits began though. During that time, I continued the same work, making a little less and then drastically less once benefits began. I was never asked to verify that work during the second attempt or after I was approved, so I have been assuming that they are aware of my work status as I have fully reported the income on my tax return each year. Since on benefits, I have only made $200/month which allows me to qualify for my state’s medicaid “workers with disabilities” program. Now that I have reached my 2 year period, I am being offered medicare a and b, along with a program to assist with part b expenses. The quesion is, should I list that small income, assuming that they already know about it, or for go that assistance? I am just now reading about the SGA and reporting income. Again, I assumed that since I reported that I was working during the application process, that that was enough. Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      The small amount of work you are doing and have done since you applied should not affect your SSDI eligibility. Eventually, your claim will come up for a Continuing Disability Review and you will have to re-declare your work then, so you might as well apply for the premium assistance now.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mike

        Thanks very much. If you can believe it, in last night’s mail, I received a notice that I have been automatically enrolled in the “Extra Help” program! So I believe that demonstrates that Disability DOES know about my income and that I have medicaid under the “workers with disabilities” program.
        I have no idea how I was enrolled, but I’m relieved.

        Another related question, on “my disability” profile page, it shows that I am enrolled in medicare a and b to start January 1st, and the premiums are listed as zero. Do you think that means that medicaid will be paying the part b, or the “extra help” program is? Or will the zero change to the actual premium cost in January?
        Thanks again.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Mike,

          Given that you got a notice saying that you have been enrolled in the “extra help” program for premium payment, I’d say that program is the one covering the premiums. I can’t say for sure, but it would think that the correct premium would be posted at the same time as you were enrolled and approved for premium assistance.

          I don’t think that you can conclude that your work income was known and considered when you were automatically enrolled for premium assistance. SSA gets earnings information from the IRS for disability enforcement and benefit recalculations and the Medicare premium operation may not interface with the IRS information. Also, Social Security would not get 2016 earnings information from the IRS until half way or more through 2017.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Dear Kay,

    I just got hired at Amazon as a fulfillment associate. I receive Social Security Disability Insurance. The position I was offered pays a base rate of $10.50 per hour, with a shift differential of $3.50 per hour for working weekends. I am supposed to work 10 hours on Saturdays and 10 hours on Sundays. I cannot make over $1,129.00 per month in order to keep my SSDI. I need to keep my SSDI because Medicare and Medicaid pay for a shot of mine that costs around $2,000 per month. After 7-8 years, I could eventually lose my Medicare if I lost my SSDI now, and I plan to take this shot for the rest of my life.

    Do employers generally make accommodations for this type of circumstance, such as negotiating pay and/or hours? Since a shift differential is not required by employers, if Amazon could not cut my hours, do you believe that I could opt out of receiving the shift differential? If I were to have my hours cut, I would make around $896-$1,120 per month at $14.00 per hour and work 16 hours per weekend. If I were to cut out my differential pay to $10.50 per hour and work 20 hours per week, I would earn $840-$1,050 per month.

    Sincerely,

    Adam D. Brucks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Adam,

      It will be your employer’s decision regarding whether they will reduce your hours or pay you less than other employees for the same work. When tracking your hours keep in mind that some months, there are more than eight weekend days. For example, November 2016 has ten weekend days. You need to report your work to Social Security when you start and it may be to your advantage to request a Ticket to Work, which you can do by calling the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • William VanHorn

        Dear Kay,
        in a similar situation as this but do not have medicare yet, also under $1,000 per month from income. My question is: If an employer chose to furnish me and my spouse with health insurance, would this large benefit affect my SSDI payments ? My disability is mental and requires a lot of medications and Drs. visits.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear William,

          If your employer pays health insurance premiums for you and does not gross up your wages to include the premiums when reporting your earnings, the payments will not be included in your gross wages when evaluating compensation for your work activity.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,

  • Patricia

    Hi Kay,
    I have received SSDI for over 10 years. I started working in June 2016 part time, because I really needed the money. 1 month, I made above the
    SGA, as I was transitioning to another part time job. After 2 months, I found out that I could not work the first job. So, I got another job working 4 hours a day 3 days a week. But I had to finish out the schedule of the first job. I just received a disability update report to complete. My concern is that I did not report it to SS when I started working. So, I am wondering should I send in all my check stubs with the report? And also, will this cause my benefits to be terminated. My health have not improved, it actually have gotten worse. And will most likely have to cut my hours or discontinue working. I really appreciate your input about this.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      Report your work start date and end date of the first job and your start date for the second job. Indicate that you left the first job because you were not able to do it. Be specific about the reason you couldn’t do the job–your health, lack of skills, etc. Say that your earnings were higher in the month that you transitioned to the second job because the first employer wanted you to finish out your scheduled shifts. Describe the problems you are having doing the current job. Also in the medical portion of the questionnaire, be specific about how your health has worsened. I’d say, keep the stubs unless the questionnaire says to submit them. If Social Security wants them, they will be requested. Even if they are not requested keep them permanently in case a question about your work activity comes up in the future.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Trish

        Thanks Kay. I really appreciate your help and your quick response.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Trish.

  • Samath

    Hi Kay, thanks for all you do for the people on here it means a lot. I’ve read through the forum and can’t find an answer to my question. I’ve been receiving SSDI for over 12 years now. I started working as an Independent Contractor for Amazon Flex basically an Uber service except deliver packages instead of people. I let SS know right away that I started work and performed it on and off for 6 months. I kept track of all my profits and losses during that time. Every month I would report new income and would be sent the 820k form to fill out asking me to estimate the amount of hours I worked and the amount of hours I received of unpaid help. I quit doing the job because it became too difficult. I informed SS I quit and they sent me the last self-employment form to fill out. I thought since I was in my trial work period nothing more was needed. Now they’ve sent me a new form SSA-795 asking a family member who helped me to provide them with their duties, hours, and dates and times of work. We only estimated that on the 820k forms because I was within my trial work period. We never tracked any of the hours and now im afraid of losing my disability. I quit before my TWP was up and I dont know what to do they say this form is voluntary but if I dont have it filled out it can be used against me when up for my review. I’ve tried getting help from attorneys but none want to talk to me since im already on SSDI. They’re only willing to help if im trying to get disability or if ive been kicked off of it. I really regret trying to work now and wish I never even attempted it. Please help if you can.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Samath,

      Do have your relative make the statement. I suggest that the relative say that you and he or she did not keep records at the time of the number of hours or the specific work days and that he or she is giving an estimate of hours per month based on memory. A range of hours is okay. Do list the types of help you got, which the two of you are likely to remember, and perhaps why you needed the help–why you couldn’t do that task. The relative should state that he or she did not receive pay and that despite the help you had to stop working in the job on a certain date because the work was too difficult for you. I recommend writing the statement on another paper until it is written down clearly and then transferring it to the 795 form for signature. relative can copy it over on the form.

      Also, I suggest photocopying the blank 795, so that you can make your own statement. In your statement say that you read your relative’s (give name) statement and agree with the facts listed. Reiterate that you stopped work because in spite of the help, on a certain date you were unable to continue due to your health and that you reported the stop work at that time. With these two documents and the fact that you stopped working due to health before the end of the Trial Work Period, I do not think your work attempt will affect your eligibility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jeanne

    Hi Kay,

    I’m a bit confused & I need clarification on working beyond 36 month Extended Period of Eligibility. If I work while collecting SSDI making less than $1130/month, can I continue working after the 36 months of EPE making less than $1130/month and still be eligible to continue collecting my SSDI benefit.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    Jeanne

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeanne,

      As long as you are not found to have recovered medically, you can work after the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) and receive benefits if you do not work at the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level in any month. Even one month at the SGA level after the EPE will cause benefits to be terminated and your claim to be closed. Currently, the benchmark is $1,130 gross wages or net self-employment; in 2017 it will be $1,170. Note, however, that in self-employment other factors besides earnings are considered so lower self-employment earnings could be considered SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ryan

    Hi Kay, thanks for your help on this one. If you have a degenerative illness and you’re on SSDI and choose to see doctors out of state who you feel are more competent treating you will that be looked at suspiciously during my CDR? If i’m going for out of state care will this raise a red flag with SSDI and make them more inclined to have them visit one of their evaluating physicians in state?

    • Ryan

      I meant to say above “more inclined to have me visit one of their valuating physicians in my own state?”

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ryan,

      As long as the doctor is licensed and has a specialty or practice appropriate to your illness and you submit the medical records from the doctor during a CDR, there is no reason that seeing an out-of-state specialist should trigger a consultative examination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Max

    Hi Kay, if im still in my trial work period and im self employed but decided I can no longer do the job after 7 months. Is there a possibility that regardless I can still be found SGA even though I didnt use the full 9 months or that my future continued disability review will cause me to lose my benefits due to attempting to work during the Trial Work Period as a self-employed individual? Income wise / hours wise I only exceeded SGA twice during TWP but I fear future ramifications from SSDI as ive heard they look for excuses to remove you from the program.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Max,

      Please see my response to your prior post. I will expand my response slightly here because you say here that in two months you exceeded the benchmark for your work to be considered Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). I previously said that your total self-employment earnings averaged below $810 so you didn’t use a TWP month. That is true in that usually self-employment is averaged because a self-employed person can work for more than one month and then get paid for multiple months’ work all in one month. If you are truly self-employed and not working steady hours for someone who hired you as contract labor to avoid paying payroll taxes, I would expect your earnings to be averaged. If you are, however, putting in regular hours for one client and being paid regularly like an employee would be, then there is a chance that in the months you were over the TWP or SGA levels, those months would count as TWP month or SGA months. However, especially since you are stopping work because of your health, I don’t think you need to worry about loss of benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Max

        Thanks for the response Kay. I guess my only other question would be is since I attempted to work could the time I worked be used against me in my CDR that is scheduled to happen a year or two from now?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Max,

          Your work activity will be considered as part of a Continuing Disability Review (CDR), but the work attempt will not necessarily have a negative impact on the review.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Max

            That’s very depressing to hear as i’ve read online of many horror stories of people being considered medically imrpoved just because they attempted a trial work period. It seems like social security is just trying to find an excuse to remove people from its program. I now feel stupid for even attempting a trial work period. I assumed during a TWP you would still be considered disabled and that the CDR would not even take into account a incomplete TWP. Now im going to have severe panic attacks knowing that my CDR is just around the corner and they could use my work attempt as an excuse to kick me off the program. God i’m so stupid.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Max,

              If a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) is scheduled based on normal review guidelines, it will occur whether or not you are using a Trial Work Period (TWP). As I wrote before, any work will be considered but will not necessarily negatively affect the review. Even if they count your earnings month by month instead of an average, work at the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level during a TWP is not by itself a basis for closing a claim.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Nina

    Good morning, I receive disability due to fibromyalgia. I recently started a small business and don’t know how to report, claim, or file taxes. It’s currently being run at break even/loss. What do I need to do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nina,

      I suggest that you hire a tax accountant to assist you with record keeping and tax filing for your business. As far as Social Security goes, you need to report the date you started to work and the nature of your business and the duties you perform in it. Also, provide an estimate of how much profit you expect in 2016 and how much in 2017. If during the year, you see your estimate needs to be changed, file a modified estimate. Each year’s earnings or losses will be finalized when you submit the business schedule from your tax return for the prior year. I also suggest that you review Social Security’s Red Book, which describes Social Security work incentives. The resource is available online at http://www.ssa.gov. You might also request a Ticket to Work by calling the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Emily Lemiska

    Hi Kay! Thanks for all you do. I’m on disability, but work part-time. I’ve been working since I was awarded benefits on and off, with my income varying between $0 and $1000/month.

    I now have a consistent job, though, and I’m about to get a raise that could put me near the SGA limit even though I’m only working 10 hours/week. I was told by a friend (with my same illness) on disability that as long as I occasionally dip below $810/month, I should be OK and not receive any extra scrutiny. Is that true?

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Emily,

      There is no formula to avoid having your work activity and health reviewed from time to time. The $810 figure is a the amount of earnings in 2016 that results in a month being counted as one of the nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months. If you have already used up your TWP months by earning $810 a month in 2016 or $780 in 2015 or $770 in 2014, to be eligible for benefits in any of the thirty-six calendar months following the end of the TWP, you must keep your work earnings below Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level, which in 2016 is $1,130 and in 2017 will be $1,170. After the end of the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), your benefits will be terminated and your claim closed the in the first month you perform SGA. You can read about these return-to-work provisions in the Red Book available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tori

        Hi Kay
        I receive SSDI and work part time. I received an overpayment notice for 4 months worth of benefits.

        I had one months check withheld in full but in the meantime, went to my local SS office. I have receipts for impairment work expenses (taxi, since I cant drive) that dont put me over SGA when counted. I submitted them and filled out an appeal form.

        My benefits are now fully reinstated while they review my info. This was almost 2 months ago, do you have any idea how long this typically takes? Will I get the month they withheld back automatically once they see it was taken in error? Thanks

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Tori,

          The review could take another couple months. Assuming you get a positive decision, they will pay benefits for any month withheld and the overpayment decision will be reversed so you will not have an overpayment for the other months.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Barbara

    I am 64 almost 65 and have a hard time living on my monthly SSD payments. I have been on SSD for 6 years. If I take a part-time job that pays about $500.00 per month, will I lose my SSD benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Barbara,

      If your health has not improved to the point that you are no longer disabled, working and grossing about $500 a month should not affect your eligibility. Even though the earnings are low enough that they will not count as a Trial Work Period month, you do need to report that you are working. Also, keep your pay stubs permanently, so that if asked about your work, you can show the amount earned in each month, not just the total for the year that your W-2 will show.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Barbara

        Thank you Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Barbara.

      • Barbara

        One more question Kay, how would I go about notifying SSA of my work? Is there a certain form I have to use?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Barbara,

          No special form is needed, but I do recommend reporting in writing and keeping a copy of the statement. (If you deliver the information in person, ask for a date-stamped copy as a receipt.) Include when you start work, what your job will be, the number of hours you will work per week, and your estimated gross wages per month.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • danny

    I am on ssdi…..Thanks!

  • danny

    Hi! I have been offered a small job take a vet, to the V.A. and to the Dr. I make $1,950….Could I take this job or would it be a bad idea. I am simply driving him….That is all…..Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Danny,

      My response is to both of your posts of October 23. So that I can respond, please tell me now much you would be making driving the veteran.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melissa

    Hello, I am receiving SSDI for myself and 2 children under me. I have 3 questions- I have been given the opportunity to write reviews for products given to me for free however incur a tax value. I will be issued a 1099. Does this count as work? I would hate to take an expensive vacuum and that knocks out my benefits.

    Also, my benefits said 3 years. I am approaching 3 years in December. Will they contact me soon for resertification? Will this review gig impact it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      Social Security will contact you when they begin your Continuing Disability Review (CDR) by sending you a form to complete. You would list your work on the form. And, yes the reviews you write will be considered a work product and the value of the products as issued on a 1099 will be your gross income. If you have any work expenses, you can list them on your tax return’s self-employment schedule. Your net profit will count as your work earnings.

      All that said, even a very expensive vacuum cleaner is not likely to cost $810 ($840 in 2017) to count as a Trial Work Period month or $1,130 ($1,170 in 2017) to be at the level of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Also, the number of hours you work a month, which you should keep track of, is likely to be low. Accordingly, I doubt that the small amount of work you will be doing will affect the determination of whether you are still disabled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • D. Green

    Hello Kay,

    I have been on disability for 5 years. Two years ago I started to work part time but did not feel that I was ready to enter the ticket to work program. So I made sure I kept my monthly earnings under $790. Earlier this year I had to stop working because the stress and pressure from the job exacerbated my illness. Now I am in a situation where I could really use the extra income again. I thought about driving for Uber but I have a question. I am thinking about leasing a car through the Uber Xchange Program. The way the program works is that Uber will deduct a certain amount every week from my earnings to go towards the lease of the vehicle. I understand that I will be considered self employed while working for Uber and only my net earnings will be counted as SGA but does that include the amount that Uber will deduct from me weekly? Or could I make an additional $810 outside of that deducted amount?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear D.,

      Assuming that the cost of leasing the car is an allowed self-employment business expense on your self-employment tax return, the cost of the lease would be a business expense that would reduce your net profit. If your earnings stay below the Trial Work Period benchmark, your work will probably not be evaluated to determine whether it is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). However, I do want to mention that for SGA evaluations of self-employment, earnings are not the only factor that is considered in determining whether or not work is SGA. In other words, net self-employment earnings could be less than the SGA benchmark of $1,130 and be determined to be SGA based on other factors. You can read about how self-employment is evaluated at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0410510000.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Darrell

        Hi Kay, ive been doing Uber for 7 months now and recently quit due to multiple relapses (I have multiple sclerosis) and fear of losing my benefits. I made 13,000 gross and 4300 net. Im wondering since im in my trial work period and ive quit will I still lose my disability? Ive been reading a lot of horror stories of self employed people working part time and even quitting before the TWP ended only to have their taxes send a red flag to SSA which in turn causes a CDR and gives them an excuse to consider your work substantial even though you never finished the TWP because of all the other stuff that goes into the evaluation of a self employed person is this true? Like I said I have multiple sclerosis and Ive been on SSDI for over a decade and this is the first time ive tried to work. Im very fearful.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Darrell,

          If you have not yet reported your work, I suggest that you do so at the same time as you report that you stopped due to relapses. Also, be sure to submit your business schedule from your tax return when it is filed to provide documentation of your earnings. Depending on the number of hours you were working and the reasonableness of your work expenses (i.e., how valid your low net profit is), your work should not affect your eligibility. Also, if the $4,300 is accepted as your income, the average is not enough to have used any Trial Work Period (TWP) months in that $810 earnings is the level that counts as a TWP month.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • CindyLu

    Hello. I have been disabled for several years. I am on the every-three-year-review plan. If my first review comes three years after SS notified me of the approval of my claim, it will happen in Sept 2018. I have been offered a job as an independent contractor for September 2017 through August 2018. The job for the year would earn no more than $8000, far below the monthly acceptable amount, but I wouldn’t be paid monthly, I’d be paid for each portion of the job as it finishes. So some months I might be paid $1000 while other months I would be paid little to nothing. The work would be continuous, but the contracts are not. Does that make sense? So in June for instance, I would work but not get paid. In July, I would work and not get paid. But in August, I would get $1000. Will SS look at that and see that I am being paid less than the allowed amount per month?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear CindyLu,

      I suggest that if you decide to take the offered work, that you request a Social Security Ticket to Work, which in some cases defers a medical review. With Social Security Disability (SSDI), your work will be evaluated to determine whether you have used Trial Work Period (TWP) months and once those nine months are used up, whether you are performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Earnings of $810 in 2016 and $840 in 2017 are enough to have the month considered a TWP month.

      Net profit of $1,130 in 2016 and $1,170 in 2017 would usually be considered SGA. However, because self-employment income and self-employment business expenses can be irregular, usually income is averaged over the period worked, but within a single calendar year. This means that the self-employment profit you report on your 2017 tax returns will be averaged over September 2017 through December 2017 and your self-employment profit reported on your 2018 tax return would be averaged over the months you worked in 2018. (When you start work, you give an estimate of how much you will earn and that is finalized after you file your tax return.) It should be noted that the rules for evaluating self-employment before receiving twenty-four months of benefits are different from those used after twenty-four month and that with self-employment, factors in addition to just earnings are considered in determining whether self-employment work is SGA. One such factor is the number of hours worked in a month and whether your work is essential to the business. you can read more about this evaluation at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0410510010.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Paul

    I am wondering, is there a “permanently disabled” designation that the SSA utilizes? How can I find out if I have been designated “permanently disabled” by the SSA? Do all people that receive SSDI have to undergo CDRs (continuing disability reviews)?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Paul,

      Social Security does not make “permanently disabled” determinations. To be eligible for benefits, a person must be disabled for at least twelve months. All individuals are subject to continuing disability reviews (CDRs), but the frequency can vary from less than a year to seven years. Additionally, if a condition is very severe such as quadraplegia, the amount of information required for the review may be very limited.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Scott L

    Hello. Will an income tax refund that puts my gross income over 1130 cause me to lose my benefits for that month?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Scott,

      Income tax refunds are not work earnings and do not affect Social Security Disability benefits. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the tax refund will not count as income, but it will count as a resource the first of the following month and will count toward your $2,000 resource limit ($3,000 if you are married and living with your spouse).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Paul

    I just received my SSDI disability award letter two months ago from Social Security. I am receiving $977 per month, this is not enough to live on. Can I now immediately get a job and participate in a Trial Work Period? I just began working part-time (about $1,400 month) What happens now? My award was just two months ago. Did I need to wait 12 months for the Trial Work Period?Is this allowed? Thanks so much for your help Kay, you are an amazing resource!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Paul,

      If you have been disabled twelve months (twelve months since the disability onset Social Security accepted), you may be entitled to a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits are payable. After the end of the TWP, with $1,400 gross earnings, you will not be eligible for benefits. You can learn more about work and Social Security by reading the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov. If you have returned to work earning $1,400 before you have been disabled for twelve months, your claim may be reopened and denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lisa

        I don’t see how to post a question so I’m replying to this sorry.

        Q:
        I’ve been on disability for 10 years due to mental disabilities. I have not worked at all during the ten years but I cannot afford a two bedroom apartment for me and my son and would really like to give him the bedroom he deserves. A part time job has opened up at a bowling alley right across the street from me. I think I might be able to do it because it’s not every day which gives me flexibility I need due to my disability. I currently receive about 1500 per month. The part time work would be about 600 per month. Would it be a trial work? Also I’m right in the middle of a CDR and just sent in the Adult Function Report and haven’t heard back yet. I’m real concerned it I take this part time job it will affect my CDR and they will terminate my benefits. I don’t know what to do. There’s not many part time jobs I can get that would be more perfect. Work is the nights a week and doesn’t affect my son. What should I do?

        • Lisa

          *Three nights a week.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lisa,

          If you were not in the middle of a continuing disability review (CDR), I would say that taking the job should not pose a problem because the earnings are even below the Trial Work Period (TWP) earnings level, which is currently $810.

          You will have to decide whether to take the job or not. In theory, the work should not have a negative effect on the CDR because earnings are minimal; however, it could raise the question of whether or not your condition has improved. If you do take the job, report the work right away to your local office–start date, anticipated earnings, number of hours per week, the fact that the job is across the street from your house so no commuting stress or time demanded, and that it part-time enough, only three days a week that you can recuperate on your four days off.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Paul

        Hi Kay, I have not yet been disabled twelve months (twelve months since the disability onset Social Security accepted) so I am not entitled to the nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP)? This fact is not mentioned in the social security literature specifically it is not mentioned in the little red book “Working While Disabled – How We Can Help”. Where is this twelve month waiting period written about? This is very tricky as it would seem from the writing I’ve read that you are encouraged to participate in the Trial Work Period anytime, without a twelve month waiting period. I do not want my claim to be reopened and denied simply because I chose to participate in the Trial Work Period prior to twelve months passing since my disability onset.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Paul,

          Social Security’s definition of disability is “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”

          This means that a person cannot engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which in 2016 is typically defined as $1,130 gross wages or net self-employment (other tests also apply to self-employment) within the first twelve months of disability unless it is an attempt to work that ends due to the same disability within less than three month (sometimes six months). Such work can be treated as an unsuccessful work attempt and will not cause the twelve-month clock to start again. However, unsucessful work-attempt determinations usually apply to periods before the claim is being reviewed for approval or denial, not after an approval has been rendered. If you work and earn less than SGA but $810 or more, the month may count as a Trial Work Period month with benefits continuing. I suggest that you discuss your work plans with a Social Security claims representative.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Elizabeth

    Received my first SSDI check in July 2013 along with a huge lump sum check for 2011 and 2012. Went out to work P/T Nov, 2013 & completed my TWP. Been receiving my benefits all along since July 2013. My work ended February 2015 (only worked 2 mos that year) and have not worked from 2/2015 to now, 10/2016. Supposed to be starting a part time job 10/3/16. What can I gross? $810 or $1,130 & not lose my SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elizabeth,

      If you perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) in even one month, your claim will be closed because you have completed the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligiblity (EPE). Currently the SGA benchmark is $1,130.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Josh

        Hi Kay,

        Is there a way to tell how many months of SGA you have worked under the trial period? I worked a part time job for six months in 2015/2016 where I was making close to the SGA and may have gone over.

        Thanks!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Josh,

          To get a breakdown of your earnings, you would need to get copies of your pay stubs from your employer. Note that during the nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP), benefits are payable even if you work and perform SGA in some of the months. in 2016 $810 gross or more counts as a TWP month. The nine months do not have to be consecutive. After the TWP ends, for the next thirty-six months, no benefits are paid for months in which you have SGA-level earnings.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Tricia

    I was diagnosed with cancer in March 2016. I earned more than $2000 per month through July. I applied for SSD in September and requested compassion consideration. If approved, what is my start date? October or January?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tricia,

      Social Security benefits would be begin to accrue in January. If you also applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), SSI benefits would begin in October.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tricia

        Thank you, Kay. I only applied for disability and not SSI.

  • Kim,

    I have been on ssdi for 3 years now. I have multiple disabilities. I have reached a point though where I feel I can try out working a part time job. I was hired at a gas station in town today. My question is this: If I continually make UNDER the $810 per month, can I keep my part time job without loosing my benefits after the 9 month trial period? How long can I continue this? It is my understanding that the 9 month trial period pertains to amounts OVER $810. If the monthly amount is UNDER the $810, will I be able to work for a longer period (beyond 9 months) without my benefits being affected? I would be working a maximum of 15-20 hours per week if my health can take it. What are your thoughts? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anon,

      If you never earn $810 gross per month, you will never use a Trial Work Period (TWP) month and, assuming you have not recovered medically, you can continue to earn that amount indefinitely and receive benefits. If you earn $810 or more and use up your nine-month TWP but never perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) after the TWP, your will continue to receive benefits indefinitely. Currently, the benchmark for SGA is $1,130. When figuring your earnings keep in mind that there are four and a third weeks each month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Max

        I just wanted to say that even if you do make less than the SGA amount they can remove you from SSDI. If they see you’ve worked for 9 months straight they can view this as SGA as you have been able to maintain a job for 9 months without issue. A gentleman in Pittsburgh had this happen to him after he worked for 9 months making $300 /mo part time SSA mailed him a letter terminating his benefits because he was able to hold down a job for 9 months and thus they felt he had improved medically and no longer needed to be on benefits.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Max,

          For a claim to be closed due to work alone, the work has to be Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) or close enough to it to indicate that SGA could be performed. Otherwise, there would need to be medical documentation to show that the person had recovered. If the gentleman in Pittsburg is not able to work and earn more than he has been, he should appeal. One exception applies and that is with self-employment. A person might work many hours in a month and only earn $300 profit despite performing substantial services for the business.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Hello Lay. I am receiving Sad right now. I would like to go back to work but I’m not sure how much I can earn without losing my benefits. I currently have a PT job but was offered another PT job on different days when I’m not working my other job. I currently pay my Medicare and part of my scripts. I receive $1000. But also have additional payment of my Medicare taken out of it. Which brings my payment down to $897. How much can I earn without losing my benefits?

    • Sorry Kay . I receive SSD

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brenda,

      You do not say how long you have been working or how much you have been earning so I don’t know whether you have used your nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months. Gross monthly earnings of $810 or more counts as a TWP month. Full benefits are paid during the TWP. The thirty-six calendar months following the end of the TWP is called the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). During the EPE, no benefits are paid for any month you perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which is currently $1,130 gross wages or net self-employment. After the EPE ends, your claim will be closed if you perform SGA in even one month. These work incentives apply if you have not recovered from your disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rebecca

    So similar question above because I have been told both. I have SSDI and started working in 2011,was awarded benefits in 2010. I was told by SSA that my work counted when it was received not when it was earned, months later after not knowingly used many of my TWP months was later told it was counted when it was earned and NOT when received (thanks for screwing with me SSA!) – which I don’t fully understand because a pay stub doesn’t break down which days you earned what. For instance like the gentleman above if his pay period is aug 28-September 10 and made $300 in aug and $1000 from 9/1-9/10 how would SSDI know from a pay stub? You’d have to have your time sheet figure it out yourself and they never ask for that, so they would be taking your word for it on your documents. Any guidance?

    Moving forward, since I completed my TWP and rolled into the 36 month ETE, which has since ended this summer even though I had only worked 5 of those 36 months all under SGA. I couldn’t get a straight answer from a SSA rep if I should be concerned. I just started working a commission based 1099 job and reported it to SSA, I thought it would be considered self employment but I guess because I have a boss and he writes my checks the SSA rep said it wasn’t. – not sure if that’s correct? Also, when I got the info that I was out of EXE I couldn’t get a straight answer if I were to make over SGA 1 month or even the occasional month hear and there if this would end my benefits going forward until unemployed. Right now I’m averaging $350/mo, but this is seasonal and we are growing so there could be the occasional months (probably summer) where next year I could be a little over $1130 or whatever SGA is at that time, but then the rest of the year be bringing in $300-$500. The rep also stated what I was originally told which was they count my earnings when I’m paid not when I earn them. Which I questioned, assured her she was referring to SSI, not SSDI, yet she continued to tell me she was sure and would send me booklets (which were useless and did not confirm or deny this.

    One more question, if I were able to find a job over SGA on a regular basis, which in either case would cease my disability. If I quit my job because my husband got PCS orders (military orders to a new duty location) again I am out of the EXE would I be able to get my disability back via expedited reinstatement? Or would I have an issue. I have cerebral palsy spastic- hemiplegia from birth but didn’t get disability until after a layoff during the recession. My biggest problem in my former Feild of work is, it’s hard to get a job and I’m typically the first to go (I’m reasonably slower than others) so if I were to actively look and find an employer willing to hire me, but then quit when my husband gets orders to a new state it might be months if not years before I can find another employer willing to hire me despite my draw backs.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kaya,

      Lacking evidence to the contrary, a paycheck with work days in two months would be prorated an equal amount for each day. If you think that your earnings were counted incorrectly, you could try to submit time cards or other proof from your employer to correct the calculation.

      If you work and earn at the SGA level in even one month–yes, it counts when earned because that is when you demonstrated the ability to perform SGA–your disability claim will be closed. I think it is important to determine whether you are an employee or self-employed. If taxes are being withheld from your checks, you are an employee and gross earnings count; however, many employers want to avoid having to pay Social Security tax, workers comp taxes, etc. so they hire people and report on a 1099 even though the person is an employee. There are several different tests that are applied to determine whether you are actually self-employed or an employee.

      Note that commission work can be tricky related to establishing when the work was performed. For example, you might work to generate a lead and not get paid a commission until the lead converts to a sale, which could happen in a different month and be paid in yet another.

      Expedited Reinstatement applies for five years after your claim closes and only if you cease work due to your medical condition, not for other reasons such as relocation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • So if I am recieving benefitd and get a ticket to work and I get a job like Home health care with elderly. Soc. Sec. will quetion my dissability ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joyce,

      If you have recovered medically, you need to report your recovery and have your benefits stopped. If you have not recovered medically and are just trying work to see whether you can do it, a Ticket to Work will ordinarily defer continuing disability reviews because you are participating in a return-to-work program; the Ticket will not precipitate a review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brandy

    Hello Kay,

    I’m on SSDI and have just started a P/T work from home job via Vocational Rehabilitation Services. I will not be making over $810/month in gross wages at this job but I’m worried about breaking that limit when I add the $250 a month my husband and I receive from a piece of land we rent out (joint ownership). Does rental income count as SGA? Currently, this rental income goes straight to my father to pay him back for the money I borrowed to purchase in the first place so even though I do report it as income, it’s not like I’m seeing any returns yet.

    Thank You,
    Brandy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandy,

      Rental income is not work income. An exception would be owning a large apartment complex and working regularly to rent and maintain the property. Given that you have obtained work through vocational rehabilitation services, I suggest that, if you have not already, you request a Social Security Ticket to Work

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • gg

    Hi Kay,
    I am curious how SS computes weeks of the month. If a week starts in one month, and ends in another, which month is it calculated in. I assumed that counted fridays each month. thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear GG,

      Earnings for calculation of Substantial Gainful Activity are counted when earned, not when paid; so a single pay check could include earnings from two different months. Earnings for calculating Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment amount count when when paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Heather

    I am on social security disability. I have called out due to my illness. And was written up by my manager for calling off. Can I loose my job?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      I am not an expert on employment law or on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You might try to locate an attorney or omnibudsman dealing in disability issues and/or employment law to advise you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • SS

    SELF EMPLOYMEMT INCOME WHILE ON SSDI, ONE INCOMPLETE YEAR ONLY: I receive SSDI for myself and my minor child gets a check. Have been on since 2009, retro to 2005/2006. Due to reporting taxes I show self empty income of $9,767 for 2015, which is a one time thing. Not sure how to fill out the SSA-820-BK. Basically me and family (together) sold yard sale, gifted, inherited yard sale, household item online via Craigslist, Internet and family did yards sales to get rid of everything. I can’t live without SSDI, so I’m panicked on how to submit the form correctly. Anyone else ever had to follow this? The money went through my nieces Paypal account (under her Soc Sec number), it was a joint effort, my effort was little as I have none to spare! Thank you.

    • SS

      Just as reference in 2011 I had ticket to work and couldn’t make it, became more I’ll, made $6,900, in 2010 they show $1026 earnings but I won that money. Regardless that’s all.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear SS,

        This response is to both your posts. Look at the date from which you are asked to provide information. Provide only for that period. Does it go all the way back to 2011? (It might.) Fill out the form to the best of your ability based on any records you have. Add a note that the 1099 for 2010 was money you won. Add specifics about the source of the winnings.

        As you describe selling things on Craig’s List, you were selling things you owned, which is not work activity, not like running a buy-and-sell Internet retail business. Because it is not work activity, you do not need to report it to Social Security.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • forrest talbot

    Hello Kay. I have used my trial work period up. was not able to work a regular job. i am on ssdi. i wanted to sell some of my craft items at local events. if things go well, i should be able to make around $100 a month, maybe a bit more. i want to be up front with SSDI and don’t want to jeopardize my SSDI payments. any advice will be appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Forrest,

      You $100 gross self-employment will not be enough earnings to affect your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. Additionally, your net self-employment income (your profit) will be your countable income. Profit is what you take in reduced by business expenses such as materials and the cost of renting a booth. When you file your taxes, you will probably be filing a schedule C, which you can turn in to Social Security.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • G

    Dear Kay,

    Awarded Fully Favorable Decision a bit over 7 years ago. I receive $809 monthly SSD adjusted 2-3 times over period this far, and enrolled in school full time online a few months ago, affords me flexibility on completion of assignments at my leisure, obtaining a degree in different field as cannot continue past career in respects to my disability. I recently received the TWP, and cannot live on this income successfully. Is the $1130, SGA limitations in addition to the SSD of $809 ($1939 added monthly) or $809 plus $321 in part time earning to total $1130? I do realize my disability virtually leaves me little to no options as far as work parameters, but please clarify!

    Thanks.
    G

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear G.,

      Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) refers only to work earnings, so $1,130 gross wages is usually considered SGA. If you earn $1,000 a month while going to school, your income would be the $1,939 you suggest. When you obtain the degree you may be able to perform SGA, earning well over the SGA benchmark. If so, you will not be paid benefits. Your Medicare coverage, however, will continue if you pay the premiums for ninety-three months after the end of the Trial Work Period even if you perform SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tina Nicole

    Hi. I have been getting ssdi for a year now. I also get medicare. I am 36 and I was wondering if I am allowed to go back to school without my ssdi and medicare being affected. I was thinking of going to college online to take 1 or 2 classes.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tina,

      Your limited college work should not affect your benefits. If you were eventually to get a degree or vocational certificate and your claim was reevaluated to determine whether you were still disabled, your new educational/training level would be considered in determining whether you could then work in a new occupation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tom

    Kay

    Posted a question last night but do not see it

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tom,

      Your question was posted and answered on September 12. Scroll up to see it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • michelle

      I have Crohn’s disease and I am looking to make a little money to help out with bills…what types of jobs would be considerable without losing my benefits I know they take into consideration the SGA but they also take into consideration the type of work performed regarding your disability is that correct? and would it be in my best interest to work a part time job like two days a week and making $9.00 or below so I keep my benefits. Also if you do start reporting to them do they then make you fill out the long form review?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Michelle,

        The type of work does not matter except to the extent that if you work doing work you said you could not do at all, it would raise some questions. Request a Ticket to Work and your continuing disability reviews should not accelerate. It is up to you to decide how much to work and earn. Currently $1,130 gross wages per month is generally considered Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) and $810 gross wages a month uses one of your nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months during which benefits are payable regardless of the amount of work. You can read about Social Security work incentives in the Red Book, which is available from local Social Security offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • michelle

          Oops sorry Kay I did find it and thank you for replying

          • Kay Derochie

            You are welcome, Michelle.

        • michelle

          Sorry Kay but what do you mean about working to the extent? and is it best to go through the Ticket to Work? Would they find me a job that is suitable for me without me losing my benefits referencing to pay

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Michelle,

            I was saying that if you work in a type of work you said you could not do, for example, working around people or lifting twenty-five pounds and you go out and do work that requires you to have a contact and interaction with co-workers or customers or requires you to live twenty-five pounds, it puts in question whether you are disabled.

            A Ticket to Work can entitle you to Vocational Rehabilitation services with the goal of returning you to work, although some people use a Ticket to Work and are unable to work enough to stop getting benefits. You can read about the Ticket to Work in the Red Book, which is available at local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov. You can also call the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842 to get further questions answered.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • michelle

            Is it best to go through the Ticket to Work Program and what is the benefit?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Michelle,

              If you are thinking of working, I’d recommend getting a Ticket to Work. The Ticket to Work program usually forestalls continuing disability reviews or limits them to “short-form” review. The program can include vocational rehabilitation services as well. You can get more information by reading about the Ticket to Work on Social Security’s website, http://www.ssa.gov, and by calling the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

      • michelle

        I still have not yet to hear an answer regarding my question….Thanks

  • Tom

    Kay I really need your help. In 2001 I became disabled. I was awarded SSDI in 2007. At the same time I was self employed to make money to make ends meet. I made less than $2,000.00 that year. Once I received the award letter I notified SSA about the income. I filled out some documents for them, they reviewed it and I received a favorable notice (2008) that it didn’t effect my benefit. Later in 2008 I was entering into self employment again and called SSA to report it. I was on hold for a while and when a women picked up I explained to her why I was calling and she told me that I didn’t need to call unless I was exceeding the SGA amount. I thanked her and noted the content of the conversation in my SSA documents back in 2008. From 2008 thru 2013 I never earned more than $2,500.00 in any of those years. In 2014 and 2015 my wife became ill and lost her job so my sen employment income for those years were 10,000.00 and 9,812.00. respectively. I never exceeded 45 hour in any month but did find out (based on the information here on this page) I exceeded the 9 month TWP amount by 9/2014. All the subsequent months I never exceeded the SGA or 45 hours per month. I believe I am ok with EPE? What has me concerned is I received a letter from SSA today with form SSA-820-BK to fill out. I have reported each year all of my self employment to the IRS and never tried to hide it. I am petrified now because I am being told I needed to let SSA know about this yearly income….I did try in 2008 and I never exceeded the amounts. I am 5 months away from receiving my regular SS benefits at age 66. My wife and I can not afford to loose my benefits. Please help me!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tom,

      Evaluation of self-employment in a single-person business is not as black and white as wages because, de facto, you are performing services essential to the business. Accordingly, I can’t fully reassure you that you will not be found to have performed Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). That said, the amount of your earnings and the number of hours you worked makes it reasonably possible that the work will not be found to be SGA. I suggest that you include on the forms a written statement of the specific day in 2008 that you attempted to report if you have that date in the notes that you took. If you have the representative’s name, include it as well. Another thought is that if you were determined to be performing SGA in 2014 and 2015 when your work hours were greater, some of the 2014 months may be in the TWP, when full benefits are due regardless of performing SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      However, completing the Trial Work Period (TWP) in September 2014 would mean that you are still in the Extended Period of Eligibility.

  • Tilghman

    I’m trying to assist my husband, who has a mental disability and is on SSDI, with trying to figure out how much time per month he can work financially without threatening his benefits. We get that the SSA counts the monthly income, but we’re trying to understand how SSA counts a month. Is it the date that the paycheck is rendered that matters? The date that the pay period ends for? He is working in retail with weekly paychecks, and weeks don’t line up neatly with months.

    He can ensure that he doesn’t work more than $1130 worth of time in a calendar month, but if SSA counts monthly income differently, then he could be hurting himself without realizing it before it’s too late.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tilghman,

      Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is evaluated on when it is earned, not when it is paid. Your husband should keep all his pay stubs so that he can show he did not perform SGA in any month even if it appears did so in months he receives five paychecks.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • My pay period Begin August 28th and I got a check on September 2nd. I was wondering since I get paid every 2weeks and get 3 checks this month Will all 3 checks count for this month?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Brandon,

          If you receive Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), your work earnings for determination of Trial Work Period months and Substantial Gainful Activity count when the income is earned. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), SGA is determined the same as SSDI; however, earnings counted as income for determining SSI payment amount are counted when the money is received.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • I have the said where I get a monthly check. I was just wondering if the extra pay check Will count for this month since pay period Begin on August 28th and end September 10th since I get pay bi weekly

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Brandon,

              I am still unclear on the type of benefits you get. I think you may have written a typographical error. Whether you get SSDI or SSI, for purposes of determining a month of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), the work performed in August will count in August and the September work in September. Keep your pay stubs to prove the monthly breakdown. If you get SSI the whole check will count for determination of payment amount as September income because it was received in September.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

        • So if the pay period begin August 28th and I worked only September 2nd then only September 2nd will count as a income for this month and the rest of September?

          • I get the ssdi where I receive a monthly check. Sorry about that I was just been trying to figure out BC I don’t context questions right I apologize

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Brandon,

              Hopefully, my prior responses will answer your questions.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Brandon,

            Yes, that’s correct. Only work in September counts as September income (if SSI income calculations are not involved.)

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  • Dot

    I am currently on TWP and I always report my work earnings when I go over $810. I have four months left on TWP.. But do I have to report every job no matter if I do not exceed that amount? I got a letter from SSDI after I did my taxes this year (2015) and they are asking for amounts that were reported on my taxes. I am fine with that, but my question is, will they terminate my disability benefits? The letter said they will use my information to decide I can continue to receive benefits. This scares me because I still on the TWP and have not gone over …

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dot,

      You need to provide pay stubs to show the pattern of your work so that Social Security can see which months you earned $810 or more this year and $780 or more last year. The review does not mean your benefits will be stopped. For one thing, apparently you have not used up your nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). After you have, benefits will continue to be paid for a period of thirty-six consecutive calendar months called the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) if your earnings are not at Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level ($1,130) and if your health has not improved substantially so that you have recovered medically. After the EPE, your claim will be closed the first month that you perform SGA. If you don’t perform SGA, benefits will not be terminated due to your work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kelly

        Hi,
        Can you clarify for me please?
        Even if you continue to be disabled and earn below the SGA (but above the $810) after 36 months of part-time work your benefits are terminated?
        Thank you for your time,
        Kelly

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kelly,

          After the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility, your benefits will be terminated if you ever work at SGA level in even one month. Conversely, if you always stay below SGA, your benefits will not be terminated because of your work earnings.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Bill

    I get SSDI, 1200 for me and another 600 for my minor child. I was told by a disability advocate that I am already over the SGA so any work I do would trigger the TWP. Is this true? I thought the SGA meant work that you actually do and did not include the SSDI. I can’t live on so little money and need to supplement, but am unable to work full time. I wanted to work part time making under $1000. I am discouraged now. I am hoping you will tell me the information I was given is incorrect.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bill,

      The disability advocate is misinformed. As long as you are unable to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which has a benchmark of $1,130 gross wages per month, your Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI) benefits will continue. If you work and earn less than $810 gross per month, you will not use any of your nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months during which full benefits are payable. If you work and earn $810 but less than $1,130 gross per month, you will use the TWP months. At the end of TWP and during the next thirty-six month calendar months which make up the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), no benefits will be paid for any month in which you perform SGA. After the EPE, you benefits will be terminated and your claim will be closed the first month you perform SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Bill

        Thank you so much, Kay! This gives me hope. Why is it imperative you report your earnings even if you are under 800? My fear is it puts you on their radar. They already tried taking it away, though I had been on it over a decade and nothing changed with my health. It will be difficult to work part time, but I can’t pay my bills so must do something.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Bill,

          Reporting work is one of the published reporting responsibilities for individual receiving disability benefits. Better to put yourself on their radar than to have them discover unreported work when the IRS and SSA computers interface annually.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Bill

        I am confused by the SGA amounts. I thought you could earn up to 1100, so why would 800 trigger the TWP?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Bill,

          The thresholds for a Trial Work Period (TWP) and for Substantial Gainful Activity are different and both can change with a new calendar year. In 2016, earnings of $810 gross wages or $810 self-employment uses one TWP month. (You get only nine TWP months throughout the life of your claim, though, the months can be spread out over any length of time.) On the other hand, $1,130 is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) an indicator that you may no longer be disabled. Any month in which you perform SGA after the end of the TWP, you will be ineligible for payment that month. As explained, this is true for thirty-six consecutive months. After that, any work at the SGA level causes your claim to close.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Jenifer

    I applied for disability in Sept 2013. Just this month, Aug of 2016, I was awarded the disability but do not yet have the order in hand or back pay.
    I tried to work for 4 consecutive mths this past April thru June of 2016 and I earned well over the $810 a month. I needed money to survive since so long with no income. However I was let go as I could not successfully do the job over time.
    Questions: Will this affect my disability eligibility status? Will it affect my backpay? Is it part of my TWP? If I try working again full time now after being awarded, how will that affect my disability? My attorney says there is no reinstatement period ..if I lose the benefit I will need to reapply and start from scratch all over again.

    Thank you … my attorney dowsn’t answer my questions, just refers me to SSA info and I still need to have these questions answered!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jenifer,

      Your work will likely be treated as four months of your Trial Work Period (TWP) leaving you five months of TWP should you try to work again. The thirty-six-month period at the end of the nine-month TWP is called an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). During the EPE, you are not eligible for benefits any month that you perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). (The current benchmark for SGA is $1,130 gross wages.) During the EPE your claim stays open and you will be paid for any month you do not perform SGA. The first month you perform SGA after the end of the EPE, your claim will be closed. If you then become disabled again, you have to reapply. However, if you reapply within five years, you can request Expedited Reinstatement, which can speed the claim up a little and there is no unpaid five-month waiting period.

      You do need to report your work. I suggest that you wait till you get the written approval from the judge and report to Social Security that you tried to work and stopped again due to your health. Provide pay stubs (keep a copy for yourself) and request in writing that the work be applied to a TWP because you had been disabled more than twelve months when you attempted work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • I have been on SSD for 6 years and have been working in retail now for 4 years before that as a certified medical assistant. I had bilateral foot surgeries which left me with neuropathy which traveled to my kegs and hips and lower back . Since receiving SSD I have had 6 surgeries bursitis sac removed Birgitta hips, burning the nerves on both legs and now I’m going to has a spinal cord stimulator put in do I can control the pain but it’s not a cure . I will be a living viberator. I don’t sleep and gave pain 24/7 but more at rest. I live on pain pills but can’t take them when days I have to work. I work in retail and get laid bi weekly but there are pay checks that have the end of one month and the beginning of another that puts me over . I take a taxi to work 3 days a week $15 a ride so when I go over they subtract it from my $1,130 . I only work 20 ~ 23 hours a week so I can get my medical exipenses paid in full. Medicare only pays 80% and my united health care picks up the tensing balance which my surgeries can run $50k. If I’m not working I’m in bed in pain so working helps me to get out of bed but I pay dearly for it st bed rest. My question is what else can I right off to keep me from going over $1,130. I am 55 1/2 now and hope to stop working after all my surgeries are completed . It’s a full time job adding every hour I work and not knowing if I should add October 1 to my September earnings when it’s all on the same pay check.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Melissa,

          For the purposes of calculating Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), earnings count when earned so in your example, if the paycheck runs through October 1 and you worked on October 1, that day’s earnings would count in October. You need to keep your pay stubs and time sheets or some other record of the actual days and hours you work. As far as reduction of earnings for disability-related work expenses goes, you can claim any expense you incur due to your disability that is a also a work expense. (For example, presumably you can write off your taxi cost because you are physically unable to drive or take public transportation.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Tori

    Hello,

    Thank you very much for all the time you put into this website and helping people. I would like to know if I am working part time and not going over SGA (I’m receiving SSD), will my benefits ever increase since I am now paying taxes again and paying into “the system.” I can’t find any information anywhere about this. I would like to find out how much my disability benefits can increase depending on how much I’m paying in taxes. Thanks again.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tori,

      If your current annual earnings are enough higher than the lowest year used in calculating your current benefit, your benefit will be recalculated and increased automatically at the end of the year following the year of work that prompted the recalculation. It is virtually impossible to estimate the amount of the increase, if any, that current work will cause because all the payment calculations are computerized and automated. The IRS computer interfaces automatically with the Social Security computer and the programmed formula is applied to the earnings transferred from the IRS. If an increase results, an automated letter is sent to you and you automatically get the increase.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Sarah

      I receive ssd because of memory loss but if I was able to work at a certain job that helps me remember things how much can I make ? Or can I even work if I’m on ssd? If so how many hours a week?

      • Sarah

        My disability is short term memory loss and there is not many jobs I can do with my memory not being so good but I feel I could do something

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Sarah,

        As long as you are only able to earn less than $1,130 gross a month and have not had an improvement in your disabling condition, your benefits would continue. The number of hours you can work depends on the hourly rate of pay. You do need to report any work, and keep your pay stubs so you can prove how much you earned in every month you work. You can read about work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov or from your local Social Security office.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • I am 62 and getting $1015.00 PERFECT MONTH. AFTER PRAYING ALL NECESSITIES THERE IS ABOUT ELY NO MINE LEFT. NOT ENOUGH FOOD AND NONE FOR CLOTHING. I LOVE IN MISSISSIPPI. CAN I NOT GET SSI? MY HOUSE IS FALLING APART AND NEED A ROOF IMMEDIATELY. I GET $62 IN SNAP. I DON’T KNOW WHEN TO TURN. MY ROOF WILL SOON FALL IN. IT ALREADY LEAKS. I AM DIVORCED AND HAVE NO OUT SIDE HELP.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Margie,

      I do not know whether help is available, but you might contact the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) commission to see whether any help is available for repairs. If you do not have a mortgage, you might also investigate a reverse mortgage. In a reverse mortgage, a bank pays you a payment each month to effectively buy your house while you continue to live there. You might be able to use the reverse mortgage payment to you to pay for repairing the roof and other essentials. That is, maybe the bank would lend you the money for the roof repair and collect the payments on the roof loan with the reverse mortgage.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dan

    I receive social security disability , correct me if I’m wrong but from what I understand I can work part toms and receive FULL benefits INDEFINATELY as long as I earn less then 810 a month and don’t work in anything that goes against what my disability is ( my disability effects my muscles in my legs) so basically not working longer then 10-20 hours a week or anything that has me doing anything social security says goes against my condition I.e long periods of standing, heavy lifting ect?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dan,

      If your condition has not improved and your health limits you to working part time, yes, you can work and earn less than $810 a month and never use a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. If you do earn at the TWP rate in nine months, you would still continue to get benefits after the end of the TWP if you could not perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which currently is typically $1,130 gross a month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dan K.

        I’m also Dan and on here_ same question. Good advice down the line. Simple I can work PT / under 800 mo. too easy thank you.

  • Anne Harrington

    Hi. I currently receive a monthly disability payment of $1072.00. I am not able to work full time yet because of my disability. I would like to work part time. I would like to know if I can work part time indefinitely while receiving my disability payments indefinitely. I would like to know what the monthly employment income limit is while receiving disability payments.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anne,

      As long as you have not recovered medically and do not perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which in 2016 is typically gross earnings or net profit from self-employment of $1,130, your benefits will continue. However, once you have exhausted your nine-month Trial Work Period and the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) that follows the TWP, your benefits will be terminated and your claim will be closed. These work incentives and more are explained in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov or from your local Social Security office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • John

      Kay,

      I recently helped a friend obtain SSDI. The claim was awarded at the end of July 2016 and she received her backpay shortly after award. She works a part time job and in month one after the award of claim she made $774 in earned income.

      The department determined that her disability began on June 1, 2015 and her backpay was determined accordingly. She then assessed her work related pay when I told her to report her work income. She apparently slighly exceeded SGI during 4 months from June 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016. The largest deviations being $1300 and $1400 respectively. Can you offer guidance on her position with the administration. She cut back hours significantly since the award so I don’t believe that this will be a problem in the future. Thanks for your help.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear John,

        Your friend’s work was during the first twelve months that she claimed disability so the work will not be ascribed to a Trial Work Period. There are two ways to look at this. She could assert that most of the time she was below SGA and that she averaged below SGA (if she did) so over the period of time since June 2015 she shown the ability to perform SGA. Or, if each time she dropped back to below SGA because of her health, that is because her health prevent6ed her from sustaining the greater number of hours. If that is the case, she can assert that each month that she went over SGA was an unsucessful work attempt.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Stephanie

    I’ve been offered a part-time job. I will be working 1-2 times a month for 8 hours at 9.00 an hour. Because the amount and time is so little do I still need to report? And will this affect my ssdi?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephanie,

      You are right, the amount you will be earning will not affect your Social Security benefits; however, you should report the work. Keep your pay stubs as a permanent record of the pattern of your work to show your work in any given month. If you stop work or increase your work so that you are earning $810 or more, report the change

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sebastian Dangerfield

    I have been on ssi for approximately 7 years. I started working a full-time job and earn $1,600 a month. I have not reported this to the SSA. I would like to contact SSA and request a PASS/SGA program. How long will I continue to receive my full benifits before I am cut off?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sebastian,

      You need to report your work activity immediately. If you receive Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI), the PASS (Plan for Achieving Self-Support) does not apply because it relates only to Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Unless you have disability-related work expenses, your earnings are at a level of substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you have not recovered medically, your first nine months of earning $810 gross will count as Trial Work Period (TWP) months. Full benefits are paid during the TWP. The following thirty-six months make up the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) during which benefits will be suspended and not paid for any month you perform SGA (earn $1,130 or more). The first month after the EPE that you perform SGA, you claim will be closed. Medicare entitlement will continue for fifty-four months from then. You can read more about SSD return to work incentives in the Red Book which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sebastian Dangerfield

    I have been on ssi for approximately 7 years. I started a full time job earning $1,600 per month (gross) about six weeks ago. The ssi website says that I’m due to receive my next payment but I am sure that I am over the $1,130 dollar limit this month. How long will I continue to receive my full benifits? I would very much like to tell the SSA that I am attempting to hold a job again and request admission to the PASS/SGA program. Input please.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sabastian,

      You need to report your work activity right away.

      The TWP and EPE apply only to SSD benefits. The Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) applies only to Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

      If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI) and if your new job is the first work you have done after becoming disabled or you have not earned enough (currently $810 gross) to use Trial Work Period months and you have not recovered medically, you may qualify for a Trial Work Period (TWP). If you are granted a TWP, benefits will continue during nine TWP months. During the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), which is the thirty-six months following the TWP, benefits will be suspended for any month in which you perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which currently determined to be $1,130 gross. After the EPE, your claim will be terminated the first month you perform SGA; Medicare would continue for another fifty-four months. (If you have disability-related work expenses, those expenses could reduce the amount of your earnings used to evaluate SGA.)

      If you receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), your $1,600 work earnings are too high to receive a federal SSI benefit unless you have disability-related work expenses. If you do, those expenses would be used to reduce your countable income. If you demonstrate the ability to perform SGA for a few months, your SSI could stop because you are demonstrating the ability to perform SGA. You can inquire about a PASS, but you may not be eligible because you are already achieving self-support. That said, if you are making payments on a car that is required to get to work (no public transportation or carpooling available), you might get the portion of your earnings needed to make the car payments excluded as income under a PASS.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sebastian Dangerfield

        Kay,
        Thank you so much for the quick reply. I would qualify by sharing that I am High Functuoning Bipolar and that I stopped seeing my psychiatrist 2 years ago. Mostly because after the sudden death of my young spouse(we were in our thirties at the time), I began abusing the limited spectrum of medications that were effective, mostly strong benzodiazapines that cause behavioral problems and physical addiction when used excessively and I have been trying to manage my alternating episodes sans pharmaceutical therapies. This has proven to be somewhat effective but I am still prone to deep troughs and to lesser extent manic upswings. During the past few months I have been determined to start working in an effort to regain some self esteem and have even begun a fairly healthy relationship with a Behavioral Psychologist.
        I haven’t contacted the SSA because I am afraid that they will discontinue my benifits and that I may loose my job the next time my BPD catches up with me but I am rational enough to realize that I need to do this ASAP before I loose everything. That said I’m wondering if you could share from your experience how much time I might have to gather the courage to walk into the SSA office.
        Your advice on this matter is greatly appreciated.

        Thank you, S. Dangerfield

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sabastian,

          I encourage you to report your work earnings this week. Putting off reporting would only compound any problem that may exist. And there may not be any problem. You do not say how long you have been working, but you may be eligible for a nine-month Trial Work Period. When you use that up if you continue to earn $1,130 gross or more per month, your benefits will be suspended for thirty-six months before the claim is closed. The TWP and the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) should give you enough time to determine whether you can sustain employment. You can learn more about Social Security’s work incentives in the Red Book, which is available at local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Sebastian Dangerfield

            Thank you Kay!

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Sebastian.

    • Leonard

      Sebastian,
      Did your benefits stop? I’m In the same boat as you. Made $13,825.59 last year (which is 1154/month) and just got a work activity report that I must fill out and return in 15 days. The problem now? I’m about to be laid off. Does anyone know if my benefits have alreasy stopped? I never reported it, as I never thought too…dumb, I know, but now I’m very scared. Any advice, and do they know if I’ve worked this year at all?

      Thanks,

      L.B.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Leonard,

        Social Security is probably requesting the work report because they received notification from the IRS of your 2015 earnings. The 2015 benchmark for Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) was $1,090. You need to complete the report honestly and provide verification of your earnings. If you worked irregular amounts during the year, your pay stubs would show which months you were over that amount.

        You may be granted a Trial Work Period (TWP). If you do get a TWP, the first nine months that you worked and earned at least $780 gross will be TWP months during which full Social Security Benefits are payable. (If you worked previously while entitled to benefits the full nine-month TWP may not be available.) After the end of the TWP, there is a thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) during which you are eligible for benefits for any month that you did not work and perform SGA. You are overpaid for every month in 2015 after the TWP that you earned $1,090 or more and every month is 2016 that you earned $1,130 or more. Note that if you have recovered medically you will not be eligible for those work incentives. When you are laid off, you can report that and if you have not recovered medically have your benefits reinstated because if your TWP ended in 2015, you would still be in the thirty-six month EPE now. However, expect to have part of the withheld to collect the overpayment.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Kelly

    I currently work three hours a week at a pizza place . I want to get a second restaurant job. How many hours can I work total without it affecting my benefits? I heard it was 10, but my mom always advises me to work under 8 so nothing gets messed up.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kelly,

      Please tell me the following so I can respond:
      1. Are you receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both?
      2. How many months, if any, have you worked since getting disability benefits and earned over the amount per month shown in the chart below?

      Thank you,
      Kay

  • Walter

    Ok, my question is simple. I am on Social Security Disability, and i make 742$ a month from it. I recently was contacted by a work from home telecommunications service that has offered me a job. Now, my question is, what amount can i make, as a call center work from home specialist, before i lose my social security? i am still disabled and do not want to lose my medical insurance or the income. I want to make sure I do not exceed the amount considered enough to end my benefits.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Walter,

      If you are unable to perform substantial gainful activity, which is usually considered the ability to earn $1,130 gross per month, you are still considered to be disabled if you have not recovered medically. If you earn more than $810 gross in a month, the month will count toward completion of your nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which full benefits are paid. A thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) follows the TWP. During the EPE you will be paid only for months that you earn less than $1,130. After the EPE, your claim will be closed with the first month that you perform SGA. Medicare will continue for fifty-four months. You can read more about Social Security’s return-to-work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • g

    Hello,
    I recently started doing some work mostly from home for an insurance agent. She just pays me with a check and said she would give me a 1099 at the end of the year. I keep a copy of all my checks. When I called to report returning to work, I was put through the 10th degree. The women then tells me it’s dicey that I’m getting a 1099 and not on the books. Well that’s not my issue if that’s how I’m getting paid. She didn’t even ask that I send in copies of my checks. Told me the info they will need will be at the end of the year on the 1099. Well that’s fine, but she tells me they will look into this dicey situation? I feel like I am being made to assume I am doing something wrong. I work like 15 or so hours at $8.00 way below trial work month income?? What should I make of it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear G.,

      You are being paid as an independent contractor making you self-employed. (What is “dicey” is whether you are really self-employed or an employee for whom the employer should be withholding taxes and paying the Social Security and Medicare taxes). Your net profit is usually the work income that is considered in determining earnings for a Trial Work Period month and substantial gainful activity (SGA).

      I suggest that you continue to keep copies of your checks so you can show your pattern of work. When Social Security gets the 1099, they may request a copy of your tax form Schedule C, which is used to report self-employment income for sole proprietors. I suggest that you talk with a tax accountant to help you calculate how much you need to be sending in quarterly for your income tax, if any, and for self-employment (Social Security and Medicare) tax).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kyle

    Hello, I am disabled due to severe chronic asthma and I would like to try to go back to school but they are telling me I need a doctors note stating that I can participate in gainful employment to return to school. Will this cut off my disability income?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kyle,

      I need more information to respond.

      1. Are you receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Social Security Childhoold Disability Benefits (CDB) on a parent’s earnings record?
      2. Does “they” refer to a financial aid program? To a department of vocational rehabilitation? To an SSI Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)?
      3. How old are you?

      Thanks,
      Kay

      • Kyle

        I am 33, it is SSDI. Yes the financial aid is telling me I need to have a gainful employment note signed by my doctor in order to receive assistance from them. It’s a trade school similar to ITT-Tech

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kyle,

          It might be helpful to find out how the trade school defines “gainful employment,” so if you decide to get a note from the doctor, he or she will know what is meant. If the definition is different from Social Security’s, there might not be a problem with your SSDI claim.

          Social Security’s definition of disability is “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.” In 2016, $1,130 gross per month is usually considered substantial gainful activity (SGA).

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Amber

    Hi. My mom has been on SSD for over 4 years. She has been working part time on and off during this time with same job. She was told she could not make more than X a year. She try’s to keep her hours under 12 per week so she can get insurance to pay for her high medication costs. She just received a letter that she owes $16,000 to SSD for back payment and will be deducting it from her check. She found out it’s not what she makes in a year but per month. Some months are 5 weeks and that is where she is being penalized. Since she made X over for that month the back pay is for total amount she received from SSD. They said that if this happens again she may lose SSD all together. I told her to quit working and not risk losing her main check. She is afraid that since they are taking $400+ out a month how she will live and pay for Meds. She has filled out the document to forgive the payback but they denied it. What are some of her options?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amber,

      If your mother is within sixty days of the date of the overpayment letter, she can appeal the fact of the overpayment. She may have been paid earnings equaling substantial gainful activity (SGA) in months with five paychecks without having earned SGA in any month. Stated another way, the five paychecks would be for thirty-five days; no month has thirty-five days in it. She can add up her earnings each month based on the actual days worked in each month. This may result in no months being SGA. See the chart at the bottom of this response for SGA levels over the past few years. Your mother can also request a lower collection amount.

      The reason that her claim could be closed if she performs SGA is that she has probably used up her Trial Work Period and Extended Period of Eligibility. If so, the next month of SGA results in termination.

      If your mother really continues to be disabled and unable to perform SGA and needs the benefits, she could reduce her hours to be sure she does not perform SGA. Or, if she is able to work and support herself, she could increase her hours and let Social Security stop.

      Substantial Gainful Activity Benchmarks

      In calendar year 2016, $1300
      In calendar year 2015, $1090
      In calendar year 2014, $1070
      In calendar year 2013, $1040
      In calendar year 2012, $1010
      In calendar year 2011, $1000
      In calendar year 2010, $1000
      In calendar year 2009, $980
      In calendar year 2008, $940
      In calendar year 2007, $900

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • KIME

    Hi, my question is abouting reporting income. I started a part time job last week but first called SSI and he explained about the nine month trial. He also said something about reporting income and that’s where I got confused. Do I need to report my income (gross or net) every month or just at the end of the trial period and what type of documentation is needed? I did speak with him before I got the job so do I need to call and let them know I am working? Thanks, any help would be appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kime,

      When you report that you started work, ask the representative whether you can report only when earnings change or more often and whether any documentation is required. Be sure to keep your pay stubs so that you have proof of the amount earned each individual month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Amy

    I have a former friend who is committing social security fraud. She is a respite care worker for an young adult who is 22 years old. My former friend and the young man’s mother has been working together to conceal her work activity.

    She will put down on the time sheet the right amount of hours to appear that she is working under SGA. The other hours she “banks” and put them in the months she does not work as much. My former friend was off benefits for three years due to SGA and then got too psychologically stressed out at her teacher’s aide job and got her benefits back in 2009 While waiting for the decision from SSA in 2009 she worked over SGA and had to pay back the temporary benefits. Her boss and her in 2009 came up with how to deal with the earning limit by “banking” excess hours. She told me about it. STUPID!! I am very black and white, right and wrong oriented. She never told me if she “banked” hours until March this year, even though she probable did do it.

    The young man had to graduate(leave) his special education school in Dec. since he turned 22. The day program for this individual was not set up and my friend worked 40 house a week for three months, while his mother went to work. She told me (stupidly) that she “banked” 180 hours to be paid later.

    She is my former friend because of this issue. I have found out that I need to type up a report about what I know and send it to our local SS office. If I don’t report it am I liable for anything? Will I be asked to testify before a judge at a hearing? What if she loses benefits and can’t pay her rent and bills including paying the gov. back? She will not be eligible for Medicare also.

    I want to do the right thing.
    Amy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amy,

      I don’t know whether you would have to testify or the affidavit would be enough. Ordinarily, when benefits stop due to demonstrating the ability to perform substantial gainful activity (excess work), Medicare continues for fifty-four months. I don’t know whether falsifying work patterns would change that. I don’t think you can be prosecuted for not reporting the fraud, but I suggest checking with an attorney to be sure.

      You will have to decide what you are going to do. My subjective opinions are that everyone is harmed when a government assistance program is abused and if your friend is capable of working forty hours a week for three months in her new occupation of care provider, she will be able to support herself working in that occupation and be able to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act if she loses her benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Debbie stipetich

    I was just approved for ssi and ssdi after two years. They told me what each owes me in back payments. And explained that ssi will have to pay back DSS for the amount of time I was on it. Here is where I’m confused. One person tells me ssdi will pay ssi back the amount they paid to DSS. Then someone else tells me that ssdi will also pay ssi any months that overlap that I would have received and someone else said they will only pay ssi back for what they paid to DSS. So please tell me what’s correct.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Debbie,

      AT least part of your SSI back pay will be used to repay the state’s Department of Social Services (DSS)for the assistance you received while your claim was pending. Such repayment is not usually made from Social Security Disability (SSD). Your SSD back pay will be reduced by SSI paid for the same period including the SSI used to repay DSS.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • R.M. Revell

      Hello,
      Thank you for this forum and for making it so easy to ask questions.
      I am 39 and have metastatic breast cancer. I receive infusions every 3 weeks. My treatments will only end with my death. I stopped working when I was diagnosed 11 months ago and started receiving SSDI in February.
      I have been offered a contract position a few hours a week. Because my field is well paid, I anticipate being close to $1,000 each month. Because of my medical condition, I don’t see that I will ever be able to return to work much more than that.
      Can I make over $1130 per month for 9 months and then stay under $1130 for the next 36? And what happens after the 36?
      Thanks so much.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear R.M.,

        Self-employment in the first twelve months of disability is evaluated differently than it is after twelve months of disability, so I suggest you stay below $1,130 until you have been disabled for more than twelve months. If after that you earn a lot over the $1,130 during your trial work period, your continuing medical disability could come into question despite the treatment you are receiving. (The TWP and EPE apply when there is no medical recovery.) After the thirty-six-month extended period of eligiblity (EPE), your claim will be terminated the first month you work at SGA level.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Shela

    I’m so confused. I’m currently receiving SSDI and am interviewing for a position that is 40 hrs/week And pays 9.50/hr. This will be more than SGA allows so does this mean I’ll automatically lose my benefits if offered this job and accept it?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shela,

      Social Security offers a nine-month Trial Work Period during which you can perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) to see whether you can sustain work and still get full benefits. After the nine months if you can continue performing SGA, benefits are suspended. Keep in mind that if you can sustain work, you will not need the disability benefits because you will not be disabled. You can learn more about Social Security’s work incentives in the Red Book available online at http://www.ssa.gov. Lastly, be sure to report when you start work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • William

        I had been receiving ssd payments for est 24 months. Under the ‘work program’ I went back to work and within the 9 months cut my earnings back to well below the SGA. I’ve had four people at my local office tell me I’ve done everything right. I haven’t received an ssd payment in nearly 3 months. I’m being told the hold up is at the payment center in philadelphia. When can I expect back payment?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear William,

          You can ask your local office to send a follow-up request for payment. If you don’t get payment 30 days after that, you might contact your congressperson’s office to see whether they will follow up for you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • KathyMichelle

      I’m really confused about all of this – I’ve been on SSDI for close to 10 years. I have had my health decline over the years BUT, I was going crazy and wanted to try to get out there again – to work PT – I found an employer that would hire me very PT (14-15 hours per week) with a doctors note to not schedule me for more than 4 hours per day.
      I make about 600 gross a month. I have never had a CDR since I was awarded my disability benefits in 2007.
      Since I started working PT – I have had a flurry of letters and now a short form CDR Form 455-A. I have been honest and up front with my work and submitting pay stubs to SSA.
      I am now worried since I am nearing my end of my 9 month trial period – which however I never was able to contact a SSA rep to advise them I wanted to try to work. I sent emails and phone cals when I made the decision to try to work.
      I was originally approved for both a physical disability as well as a mental disorder.
      Am I right to be concerned? And why after all these years why was I selected for the CDR when Congress said back in 1998 you couldn’t be selected just because you went back to work?
      I’m confused.
      Also, my earnings are under the 810 or the 820 per month – well under that dollar amount as well as the monthly hour requirement –
      The stress of all this is a little too much for me. Not with everything else going in my life.
      Thank you for your time and assistance in this.

      • KathyMichelle

        I also am three months from turning 60 – so does a different algorithm apply to me because of my age?

        PS- please wondering if my comment is awaiting moderation because of a repetitive kind of question?

        I felt it was kind of answered but not entirely… appreciate your response either here or on email.
        Thank you!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kathy,

          See my response of earlier today. Your age is one factor that is considered in determining your ability to change to an occupation you have not performed previously.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear KathyMichelle,

        You do not say when you began to work. However, if your gross earnings have been below the following amounts in the following years, you have not used any Trial Work Period months in those years because your earnings were lower than the TWP threshold.

        2013 $710
        2014 $770
        2015 $780
        2016 $810

        As far as the review, I think that the ruling about waiving Continuing Disability Reviews applies only to people who requested and received a Ticket to Work before starting work. You can read more about return-to-work incentives in the Red Book available online at http://www.ssa.gov and from local offices. If your health has not improved and you are working to capacity, the the review should support that you still meet Social Security’s definition of disability.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Melissa rivera

    I have been disabled since 2007. I already used up my trial work months and it’s been over 36 months. I use to be a nurse but with my bipolar I had to give that up. I returned to part time work as a cashier because it is therapeutic for me but I am unable to work more than 20-25 hours a week other wise the stress causes me to have a manic episode. I have been working at a craft store for 3.5 years. I just received my annual review. I only make 720-840 a month. Is there a chance I can lose my benifits?

    • Melissa rivera

      To clarify my medical status had not changed

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Melissa,

        Please see my reply of a moment ago.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Melissa rivera

          What if during my cdr they find my medical disability has improved and my benifits are stopped. How long after that decision do your benifits stop? Right away or do they give you a grace period. Also can I still get medicare after I am no longer getting ssdi and for how long? I hear you can continue to get medicare for 5+ years is that correct?

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Melissa,

            Medicare will stop as soon as benefits stop. Medicare does not continue when termination is based on the decision that you are no longer medically disabled; it continues only when your claim has been closed without medical improvement but due to working and exhausting the Trial Work Period and the Extended Period of Eligibility. Benefits stop when with the first payment after the decision has been made unless you appeal within ten days. If you appeal within ten days, you can request continuation of benefits while the appeal is being processed.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            Does that include your cash benifits? I heard you get 2 months cash benifits after you are told that you have improved. Is that true?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              I have unsuccessfully tried to find reference to the two-month transitional payments that you reference in order to determine whether they are still in effect as they were a number of years ago. I haven’t found anything about them, so they may be.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      You will not lose your benefits due to your work activity. You do need medical documentation that you are still disabled, so hopefully you have stayed under the care of a mental health professional.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Melissa rivera

        I have been under a doctor’s care for the entire time. I only got the short cdr form. Will they ask for the long form?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Melissa,

          Unless there is something to indicate that your health has improved, it is not likely that you will be requested to complete a long continuing disability review form.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            On the short form it asked is your disability the same worse or imroved. I checked the same. Then the other question asks can you work or I haven’t spoken to my doctor about working. I checked my doctor says I can work with an explanation that my doctor will only allow part time hours any more hours will cause me to have manic episodes. I also put my last doctors visit. It was may 29th. Is there anything in my answers that would trigger a long form? Thank you so much for your answers.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              I can’t say for sure whether your response about work will trigger additional investigation to determine whether your ability to work part time would reach the ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            What can trigger a long form?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              If a person’s condition is expected to improve or there is a reasonable likelihood of improvement, a long-form (more extensive and detailed) continuing disability review will take place. Lack of treatment by a medical provider or significant amount of work since the last review could trigger additional investigation after a short-term form has been submitted.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            I am under so much stress. I can’t stop worrying about my benifits. I am afraid they will say I need a long form because I said my doctor says I can work part time and they will say I am no longer disabled. because I am and I am unable to work full time. I can’t sleep or concentrate although that is part of my disability. Please let me know if I should be concerned. Thank you so much for your time.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              I can’t tell you whether a long form will be requested or if it is requested whether you will be found disabled or no longer disabled. But I’d suggest that you take it one day at a time and worry about termination of benefits when and if it occurs, not before.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            What would you consider significant amounts of work? Above sga? Or length of employment.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              For Social Security Disability, $810 monthly gross counts as a Trial Work Period month and should be reported; $1,130 monthly gross is usually substantial gainful activity (SGA) and should also be reported.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            What are the chances I could lose my benifits during a review because of my work if I am below sga and I have maintained a relationship with my doctor.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              If you are still medically disabled and have been working to your maximum ability, your work shouldn’t have a negative effect on your claim.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            Was that a typo. I should be worried about working or shouldnt?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              Yes, that was a typographical error. I have changed the response to “shouldn’t be worried.”

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            What do they look for when doing an extended review?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              A continuing disability review (CDR) is a review to determine whether you are still disabled at the time of the review. Medical condition and work activity are considered–the same as when you first applied. If your medical condition is unimproved and you are not performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), the review should find you still disabled.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            They are doing an extended review on me and I have been going to my doctors taking my meds and seeing a therapist. I still am very much disabled. Should I worry I will lose my benifits even though I’m doing everything right. Statistically 95%pass there cdr is that true?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              I don’t have the statistics on the percentage of people who continue to be eligible after a Continuing Disability Review (CDR), but many do because many people who are approved for benefits do not experience significant improvement. It appears you have documentation of your current condition and have been regularly treated for it, so if you are still disabled you should have the documentation to prove it. If, however, your claim is closed, you can appeal.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            I am working below way below sga. I was a nurse and no longer to work in that fied anymore. The only work I could do is retail in the replenishment so I am away from customers. And I work early morning which works because I have extreme anxiety. Extended from my last post

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              Your work activity should not have an impact on the outcome of your Continuing Disability Review (CDR); but, if you haven’t do report the work.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            They requested the long cdr form from me. I have been seeing my doctor regularly and just started seeing a therapist. The last 4 visits with my doctor have been difficult I have been manic and needed my medication adjusted. I requested copys of my doctors notes and some of them say that I an anxious and some say manic but some say I am feeling better. Will the notes that say I am feeling better hurt me during the review because I am bipolor sometimes I am fine others I am not. I never know how I will feel in any given day. Or will social security understand that I am bipolor and my moods change sometimes drastically.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              When you submit the records include a statement that your condition varies from day to day and, if true, that you do not maintain extended periods of better health sufficient to hold down a job.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            What is a listing for mental disabled people? How does it effect my review if I fall into the listing category? I am bipolor and there is a listing for that disability. Can you explain what that is and how it will effect my review. Thank you.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              If a person’s illness or injury meets the listings, an approval decision can be rendered without considering work history or vocational ability. For most listings, the person has to have the findings that are listed. Findings are tests or clinical exams that show the symptoms or degree of severity needed for a certain diagnosis to meet the listings. In other words, just having a diagnosis in the listings does not necessarily mean a person’s condition meets the listings.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            Kay first I want to thank you for taking the time to answer my questing. I already submitted my forms and I did mention that I never know how I will feel from day to day. I also have had several clinical notes say that I have had manic episodes but some notes say i am better. Does that qualify for a listing decision

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              If you want to figure out whether you might meet the listings, print out the criteria from the Internet and show it to your psychiatrist and ask him or her whether he or she thinks you have the listed requirements for the diagnosis to meet the listings. Again, you can qualify for benefits without meeting the listings. You can read more about how decisions are made in the article “How does Social Security Decide If I Am Disabled under the “Claim Process” tab on the navigation bar at the top of this webpage.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            Is doing the short form and getting a letter from ssdi saying your benifits will continue considered a medical decision.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              Yes, you have received a decision that you continue to be disabled according to Social Security law.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            If my benifits are terminated for working over sga will I continue to be able to keep medicare and for how long?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              Medicare will continue during the Trial Work Period and during the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Disability and for 57 months after your claim is closed.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Melissa rivera

            Does social security look at notes from a therapist? Or just psychiatrist only. I signed a medical release form and it said excludes from therapists is that true?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Melissa,

              Because therapists are not doctors or clinical psychologists, Social Security does not accept their assessments. If you are seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist, you might as them to confer so that the psychiatrist can share in the therapist’s insights when providing information for Social Security. Not all will do this, but some will. List the therapist and frequency of sessions just to document care even if not information is solicited from him or her.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Michelle

    I have a question regarding working on disability. My husband been disabled for many, many years due to a cancerous brain tumor which left him with permanent disabilities in speech, balance and fine motor skills. He returned to work in fall 2014 despite his disabilities and used his TWP and is now about 12 months into his EPE, he has made well over the SGA since he started working full time. Recently his employer has been making things difficult for him and has now informed him he has been demoted and someone else is taking over his job, we know this is because of his disabilities but of course they won’t come right out and say it! He has had a hard time with the job, it is a bit much, but he has continued to do the best he can. They basically said if you don’t like the way things are, then resign! The stress and anxiety and humiliation this has caused him is just unacceptable and I would rather see him stop working at this place of employment and find something part-time that is easier for him to handle. Is this possible? Would he be able to stop working and find a part-time job and be able to reinstate his benefits until he is able to find another full-time good paying job again? Does he need to be fired from this job because of his disabilities or can he just stop working?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      During the thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), your husband can receive benefits for any month he does not earn $1,130. The reason he stops work doesn’t matter. When he starts working again, he needs to report it right away so his benefits can be reinstated. After thirty-six consecutive calendar months from the end of the TWP, the EPE ends. If he performs SGA (currently $1,130) after that, his claim will be closed. If within three years, he stops work due to the same disability, he can request Expedited Reinstatement, which in theory means his request for benefits will be processed faster than a normal new claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • geri

    Hello, I just started working a very part time job where I earn about $550 a month. Been on SSDI since 1996. I work mostly from home, with visits to employer to drop off and pick up work. This enables me to work when I feel ok and not when I don’t. I get a weekly paycheck, but will be getting a 1099 at the end of the year. Does everyone need to report to SSDI that they have returned to work? I saw previous comments stating you don’t need to report unless over a certain dollar limit, but how will that work if SS sees your income on tax return? I’m confused on this.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Geri,

      Work earnings less than $810 a month don’t have to be reported, but keep all your pay stubs so that if SSA contacts you about the 1099, you can show that you did not earn $810 in any month. If you do earn $810 in a month, that month will count as one of nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months in which you can work and earn any amount and still receive full benefits, if you have not recovered medically. More information about Social Security’s return-to-work incentives can be found in the Red Book which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • geri

        Thanks Kay. I just looked over the red book and it says in there that you must report to SSA if you start or stop working. I guess that means no matter what your earnings, they need to know you have returned to work even if very part-time?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Geri,

          It is best to report all start and stop work; but if you don’t, it will only have an impact on your claim if you earn $810 a month or more.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Bryon

    Hi,

    I have Cystic Fibrosis (terminal genetic lung disease) and diabetes and have been receiving SSD income for over 5 years. I went back to work almost 1 year ago because I decided to live as normal a life as possible but I did not notify Social Sec Admin. My current job I make about $30k a year…its a desk job that I sit all day. I want to work while I can and still collect SSD if possible. With my medical expenses and housing and other things $30k a year feels like a lot less which I guess is why I did not report my working to social security but I know I could not get by on social security alone…it seems like a catch 22. It could literally be tomorrow that I could no longer work or may require a double lung transplant…I really don’t know what tomorrow holds but am looking for financial security now. What do you advise or advice you could offer please?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bryon,

      Report your work to Social Security immediately because failure to report could leave you open to a fraud investigation. Social Security has several return-to-work incentives, one of which is a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which full benefits are payable if you have not had medical recovery. You have been ineligible for benefits since the end of the TWP and will have to refund the Social Security benefits you received for those months because you are performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) after the end of the TWP. (Usually gross earnings of $1,130 a month is SGA.) You can read about the Extended Period of Eligibility and Expedited Reinstatement in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • James

      Mrs. Kay,
      I’ve been disabled since 2003. A volunteer job I do is gonna become paid. It will only pay about two to four hundred a month. Do I even have to report that income or hours to SSA. Do I just do the job and not notify anyone? I want to be on the up and up.
      Thanks, James

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear James,

        If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD), you do not have to report the work because ther earnings are too low to count as a Trial Work Period month. I would recommend keeping all your pay stubs so that if Social Security inquires about your work after the earnings are reported to the IRS, you can show that you did not earn $810 in any month.

        If your receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you need to report the earnings by the tenth of the month following the month in which you receive the first paycheck. Earnings of above $65 ($85 if you have no other income) and half of the excess do not affect SSI payments. For example, if you are paid $300, your SSI would go down by $107.50 ($300 – $85 / 2).

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Mike

    Hi;
    Currently, I live in out of the country and unfortunately I can not use
    my medicare plan here and I need medical coverage for myself and for my children. For this reason, I put my name on a friend’s business payroll list to get health insurance thru his work place. My monthly earning shows around $600 and after 6 months I was out of the payroll list. The truth is;, I can not and did not work at all, did not get paid, not even went to work place either and besides this I paid the insurance premium myself to my friend just to get medical coverage.
    My question is; do I need to report this to SSDI?
    Thank you for your time and answer.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      You need legal advice because you and your friend may have committed insurance fraud. As far as Social Security Disability benefits go, you didn’t work and they didn’t pay you, so if the company did not show you as an employee payroll expense when filing taxes, there’s nothing to report.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • maple

    Hi Kay

    Im currently applied for disability i broke my arm a month ago. I work as a lifeguard(not cleared to resume work) however I do sub as a teacher part time. I’m contemplating working just ONE day as a favor for one of the teachers, will this affect my ability to get benefits? it will only be $125, that’s well below the $800 you mentioned, i dont plan to pick up any shifts.Does the 800 only apply to full time employees? I am part time

    Should I work that one day? School is letting out soon, so it would be unable to sub anyways after Junewhile still waiting for my arm to heal

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Maple,

      To be eligible for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, you have to disabled or expected to be disabled for twelve months. Additionally, you have to be disabled from all occupations that you are otherwise capable of performing. This means that if you are able to work as a teacher with the broken arm, your claim is likely to be denied whether or not you work the one day.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Deborah

    Hi!
    I have been disabled since 2007 for cancer. I had my trial work period in 2008 and up having a mini stroke. I have not worked since. I have been approached by a major beauty brand to use my images they saw on Instagram for their campaign!! They want to pay me between 12-17,000 dollars! I called ss and they said the limit is based per year, not per month. I see your posts saying its per month. I can’t lose my Medicare benefits as my health is not good. But I am afraid that ss will take them away if I accept this payment. When I was going through chemo they first denied me benefits!!! I cannot work on a regular basis but this is such a validation of my creativity. But peace of mind with healthcare is more important. I truly appreciate your feedback!! Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deborah,

      As I understand the regulations and guidelines that Social Security published in their Procedures and Operations Manual System (POMS), money received for the sale of your images that were created as a hobby will not be counted in determining whether you are working and performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). Accordingly, your benefits and Medicare should not be affected by the proposed one-time royalty for the images. You can read about this at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0410505010. Look at section F.3. Note that if you subsequently decide to create more images and start selling them, in the future, the royalties could count toward SGA.

      I suggest that you copy the reference and that you report the income with a written statement. Ask for it to be date stamped and that you be given a copy of the date-stamped report. That way if your claim is flagged due to an IRS interface next year and you are contacted, you can show your filed an explanatory report. I also suggest that you call 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment to talk with a claims representative regarding reporting royalties after the end of an EPE. Ask for the appointment to be with a claims rep, not a service rep.

      It is important that the income not be counted as work earnings for determining SGA because even if it is averaged over a year, either figure ($15,000 or $17,000) you would be above SGA and SGA in even one month would cause your claim to be closed.

      Here’s some general information that will illustrate why performing SGA would result in termination of benefits. Your thirty-six-calendar month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), which began the month after the end of your trial work period (TWP), ended sometime in 2011. This means that if you perform substantial gainful (SGA) activity in any month after the EPE, your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits will be terminated and your claim will be closed. If that happens due to work and the work stops being SGA, in theory a person can apply for Expedited Reinstatement, which could take a couple months. However, you have not been working so you would no longer be insured for benefits, which I think might be required for reinstatement although I am not sure.

      I do not know what would happen to your Medicare eligibility if your entitlement to benefits ends because of work that began after the end of the EPE. Medicare continues for ninety-three months after the end of the TWP (fifty-seven of which are after the EPE) when benefits stop due to SGA that began the EPE and continues; however, the regulations seem to say only if you were performing SGA in the EPE. You can read more about the work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov or from local Social Security offices.

      So to reiterate, if you sell your images, what will have to be determined is whether you have performed substantial gainful activity (SGA). The usual guideline for SGA is $1,130 gross wages or net self-employment, although other things are taken into consideration with self-employment. However, these rules should not apply because you created the images as a hobby with no expectation of sale.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Glenda

    I have been receiving ssdi since 2011, for bad back, foot surgery. I can only sit, stand or walk for a short time or distance. My friends daughter is in the Military and wants me to watch her child a few days a week and/or may a week when her and husband have to go in the field one week a month. I know they would have to do a child care plan, she said to put me on as provider, so to take baby to Dr., get on post, buy for child or whatever the child needs in their absence. I was wondering if I could do that without affecting my payments since it would not be on a permanent basics and it would be through the government. Payment would be on some kind of card or something.

    Do I have to report it since it will be about $400 a month? Will it affect my payments?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Glenda,

      You do not have to report earnings to Social Security if they are under $810 a month gross. If you do earn $810 in the month you care for the child for a whole week, that month will count as one of your nine Trial Work Period months and will not affect benefits. You can read more about Social Security Disability (SSDI) work incentives in the Red Book, which is available at local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mark Wages

        Hi Kay, i have been on SSdisability for a few years now because of on going Health problems How much money can I make without jepordizing my benefits. I keep seeing $810 gross and you dont have to report it. And is that dollar amount across the board or on an individual basis. And does this amount very from state to state. Thanks for taking time to help everyone very much appreciated.

        Sincerely Koolaid

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Mark,

          Social Security Disability (SSDI) is a federal program so the law is the same in all states. If you have not recovered medically, several work incentives are available to you.

          If you gross under $810 every month, you do not have to report the earnings. If you earn $810 or more, you need to report and that month will count as one of your nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months, during which full benefits are paid. You can learn more about TWPs and other incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov and in local offices.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Hi, I am inquiring the amount you are aloud to get on disability income!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Gregory,

      The current maximum Social Security Disability benefit is $2,639. The amount you actually receive depends on how much you earned in your lifetime. The maximum federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is $733 and is paid if you have no other income exceeding $20.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michelle

    I have been disable since 1998. I have tried small jobs for a time over the years and have never been able to continue. Coronary heart disease, first heart attacks at age 39 and now triple bypass that could not correct all the problems, disintegrating spine, Bi Polar, Anxiety disorder and now early onset dementia is being suspected. The last 2 years I have been filing and keeping accounts on client outstanding payments for an office. I work only out of my office at home as many days I just can not cope. I am paid $350 a month. Does this put me over my pay limit? Or if I added another person that would pay $150 a month put me over. You have to understand I can get up and leave the room or go sleep when needed to make doctors appointments and treatments when needed. These are small sole proprietor offices and the stress is minimal. I get so many conflicting answers when I call SS offices. I am confused. Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      Self-employment is evaluated a bit differently than wages, but $350 or even $500 earnings might not be considered substantial gainful activity even though you perform all the services in your business because you perform the work at home and take rest periods at will during the day.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mandy

    I am very confused. I am trying the ticket to work program and I do not understand the $810 earnings a month for it to count as one of your 9 months.

    If I earn $30 a day, does the money I earn mean every day I work in the month or is it per pay period?

    Because I could earn over $810 in a month but it would show up on one paycheck this month and one paycheck next month.

    I do not know if I’m asking this the right way but can someone please help me.

    I have called SS 2 times and they tried to explain it to me but I just don’t get it.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mandy,

      If you earn $30 a day, you monthly earnings would be $30 times the number of actual work days.

      The $810 gross per month is the amount earned in the month regardless of when it is paid. If you work about the same amount every month and are earning over $810, it won’t matter in which month it is paid because you will both have earned and have been paid $810 in every month. The only month it might be material is when you start work if you start in the middle of a month.

      You can have nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months with earnings over $810 and receive full Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. During the thirty-six calendar months after the end of the TWP, you will receive benefits in any month you do not earn $1,130. After the end of the thirty-six months, if you perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which in 2016 is usually $1,130, your benefits will be terminated and your claim will be closed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Kay,

    I’m researching this topic for my mother. Here are the facts I know regarding her situation:
    -She has been disabled (below the knee amputee) since 2008
    -She receives roughly $678 a month from SSDI
    -She receives roughly $120 a month from SNAP
    -She has free Medicaid
    -She has been taking prescribed narcotics and other pain meds since 2008 and there is no expected changed to this in the forseeable future
    -She is 54 years young
    -She has not worked since her amputation of 2008
    -She has recently been offered a position at a local produce/flower shop as a part-time cashier at minimum wage

    Scenario:
    If she works part-time(20-23 hrs/weekly) hours at minimum wage ($8.50) and does NOT exceed $800 earned income.
    Questions:
    -She should still report weekly to case worker her hours and income? Or how often does she report this information?
    -Is the threshold of $810 earned income alone? OR would her SNAP benefits be included in this? (if she were able to keep them that is)
    -Does this threshold include earned income and her current SSDI payment?
    -Am I understanding correctly that she can maintain her current SSDI payments and earn up to an additional $810 a month for unlimited months/years but she just has to report her earnings? (Her disability will never go away unless we create a way to grow bones back as she is not able to walk. Even with a prosthetic as her surgery incision has never fully closed. It continues to have an opening that constantly leaks and gets infected due to it being open)
    -If she does work under this threshold will her current SSDI be reduced or will she be in jeopardy of losing it?
    I’m only referring to the under $810 a month scenario because due to her pain and medications I do not see her being able to perform adequately more than 20-23 hours a week, if even that much. However, I see other parts of her health deteriorating quickly because she literally sits in her chair all day. She was attempting to use a walker in the house and hop on her good leg for quite a while but one day that all came to a halt due to her good leg “giving out” and she fell and broke the femur of her already amputated leg. She gets depressed sitting inside all day by herself and she just needs to feel she is serving a purpose… okay I digress my apologies.
    -Last question-If she is below threshold will her medical coverage be in jeopardy?

    Kay, thank you so much for your assistance with this. I do not live in MI with my mother so I’m trying to help her as much as I possibly can. She thinks because I am a Paralegal…that I know all these answers 🙂

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Samantha,

      The following information is based on your statement that your mother is receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI). Your mother needs to report every month that she has gross earnings at the Trial Work Period (TWP) level, which in 2016 is $810. She should keep her pay stubs that show her hours because if she is paid weekly or biweekly, she will have a fifth paycheck every three months or a third paycheck every six months.

      If she earns more than $810 in nine months (used up the TWP); to continue to receive benefits, her work has to fall below Substantial Gainful Activity, which in 2016 is $1,130 gross. All of these figures are work earnings only. In any month SSDI benefits are payable, it will be the full benefit with no reduction for work activity.

      A note: I wonder whether you are mistaken about either the kind of benefit she is receiving or the kind of medical coverage she has. If your mother is receiving SSDI and has been receiving it for twenty-four months, she should have Medicare. It is possible that she also has Medicaid that is paying her Medicare premium. If she has received benefits for twenty-four months and does not have Medicare, then she is likely receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the effect of working is different. If she is receiving SSI, let me know and I will provide additional information.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Andrew

    Hi Kay,

    When working while receiving SSDI, is your monthly income determined by when you work or when you get paid? For example if I get paid bi-weekly and therefore I get paid during the first week of June for my work the last two weeks of May, will that be considered as part of my May income or June income?

    Thank you very much

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Andrew,

      Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) threshold is calculated month by month and is based on work performed in the month. In the case of “extra” paychecks, you can save your paystubs to show that your hours worked each month result in earnings (rate of pay x actual total hours in the month) below SGA. This will document that part of the pay in the sixth month is for work performed in the previous five months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jeff

    How is the $1,130 figured per month? Some months have 4 paydays, some have 5 paydays..Does it go per month? Or do you take your weekly earnings and times them by 4.3333, which is average, or is one month of 4 paydays equals a month, and one month of 5 paydays equals that month of SGV? I guess what I`m saying is, I just started working part time, I haven`t been approved for ssdi yet, but I have not had any income for 3 years while waiting, I`m a single dad with a 12 year old son, we gotta eat. But i want to stay under the $1,130. I just started a part time job working 20-25 hrs a week@ $10.11 an hour. so at 10.11 x 25=252.75 a week, $252.75 x 4=1,011 a month. but $252.75 x 5= $1263.75. So the month with 5 paydays will put me over correct? Or is it calculated different? I used 25 hours cause thats probably what ill be working the most… I need to know how this is calculated so i can tell my boss if I`m getting over or near my limit.. Thanks….Jeff A..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jeff,

      Usually the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) threshold is calculated month by month. However, you can save your paystubs to show that your hours worked each month (25 x 4.333) result in earnings (25 x $10.11 x 4.333) that are below SGA in every month that the work was performed. Stated another way, part of the pay in the five paycheck months is for work performed in the two prior months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Elizabeth

    Dear Kay,
    I’ve received SSDI since 2004 and recently had my 10 year review and approved as permanently disabled. I have done small side jobs in the past to boost my income for my children as a 1099 contractor. Currently I am looking to do the same thing and boost my income this year as a 1099. I am not sure what I will be paid per month at this point and I know what I have to stay under the SGA $1130. My question is, since I’ve received disability for over 12 years, will my net income still need to be under the SGA amount?

    Can you clarify the rules for me on the 36 month rule: 1) is the 9 month grace period considered apart of the 36 month rule? 2) If I continue to work past the 36 months, can I still earn disability benefits or will they be cut?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elizabeth,

      The inability to perform Substantial Gainful activity (SGA) is part of Social Security’s definition of disability so it always applies to your claim.

      The nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) is not part of the thirty-six months, but it is a one-time incentive and it sounds as if you have used it up in the past. The thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) is the thirty-six calendar months (not work months) beginning immediately following the last month of your TWP, so yo EPE may have expired. If you work and earn at SGA level in even one month after the end of the EPE your claim will be closed. To get benefits again once you were not performing SGA, you have to have stopped performing SGA due to your health and you would have to file a new claim. If it is within five years you can request expedited reinstatement but the claim would still have to undgo a medical review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Beth

    How does the Ticket to Work program work when you are self -employed? I have a small candy making business. I work from home as a sole proprietor. I make approx. $5000.00 in net sales annually ( approx. $400-500 per month). I spend about 30-40 hour a month on the business. its primarily to keep me active while driving in a few extra bucks. i thought if i stayed below SGA I was safe. i have been on disability since 2013. i thought you could become self employed after 24 months without worrying about having work or medical reviews done. i am so confused. Hard to get straight answers when calling them. When i talked to a rep, she told me ” only need to report when over SGA – i think she said $1170.00 a month.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Beth,

      Currently the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is $1,130 a month profit from self-employment. Because you are substantially below that amount and are working less than one-quarter time, it is unlikely that your claim will be pulled up for a continuing disability review or to assess whether your work activity is substantial regardless of earnings. It is even less likely with a Ticket to Work. You need to report if you earn $810 a month, which is enough for the month to count as one of the nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months. After nine TWP months, you are not eligible for benefits in any month you perform SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Beth

        If you get a ticket to work, are you required to contract with an agency or employment network?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Beth,

          My understanding is that you are not required to use all the services open to you with a Ticket to Work. You can read more about the Ticket to Work in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov or from a local Social Security office.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Tyler

    If you are past your 36 month period,what if you get paid bi weekly $400 dollars and because of 3 paychecks one month you go over the $1130

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tyler,

      If you can show that your work hours all months result in your EARNING less than $1,130 gross in each month, you can argue that you did not earn at the Substantial Gainful Activity level despite the payment pattern resulting in excess payment every three months. If, however, in any month your work hours caused you to earn at or above SGA level, your benefits will be terminated and your claim will be closed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dear Kay, how do I determine the monthly income from my paychecks if the pay period on one of my paychecks begins near the end of the month and crosses over in the next month? How would I calculate the 3 bi weekly paychecks?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Brandon,

          Please see my previous responses. Add up the income for each of the days worked in the month.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Lindsey

    Hi,

    I have been considered disabled since September 2015 and did not receive benefits until October. I am about to go back to full time work. Since I have not been disabled for 12 months, do I still get a trial work period with my full benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lindsey,

      If your benefits started to accrue the month after your established date of disability (September 2015), you are receiving SSI benefits, not Social Security. SSI law does not have a Trial Work Period and does require that you be disabled for twelve months. Accordingly, your SSI benefits are likely to end and you may be overpaid all benefits you received. If you are overpaid, you can try requesting a waiver of repayment if you can’t afford to repay based on your not being at fault in causing the overpayment because you did not know you were going to be disabled less than twelve months.

      If you have a relapse within less than six months and stop work again due to the same disability, you can request reinstatement of benefits based on the work being an unsuccessful work attempt.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lindsey

        I’m sorry I said that wrong. I went through a 5 month waiting period before I received my benefits. Is that not ssdi? I am getting benefits through what I put back working. I have had my illness since I was born but recently got really sick to where I was hospitalized for a month causing me to quit my job. I have cystic fibrosis and diabetes, and I never know when my cf will act up. Would this be ssdi or ssdi? If ssdi, would I earn a twp?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lindsey,

          You are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI). If you are disabled for twelve months prior to returning to work, you will be eligible for a Trial Work Period and an Extended Period of Eligibility after that. You can read about these and other work incentive in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov and at your local Social Security offices.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • amy

    I cannot thank you enough for your time and your input. It has helped me navigate through this process. I appreciate it very much. Best to you.

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Amy.

  • Sandy

    Another question: I worked 10 months from Sept 2014-July 2015 and exhausted my TWP but due to a wrist issue I’ve been unable to work since July. I’m planning on returning to work and will stay under SGA but how does the 36 months work? Since I haven’t worked for close to a year does that mean I only have 20ish months left or is the 36 for months where I’ve earned money? I’m doing my best to return to work and I want to stay within the guidelines.

    Sandy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sandy,

      The thirty-six months begins the calendar month following the ninth Trial Work Period month. If you perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) even one month after the end of the thirty-six months, your benefits will be terminated and your claim will be closed. Keep your paystubs to prove how much your earnings are month by month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sandy

        Thank you Kay,

        I stopped working 1 month after my 9th month TWP and I want to go back by the end of this year. Because I was off over a year (at that time) did those 12 months of non working months count as my 36 months or do I have to earn money for it to be counted?

        Thank you for your help.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sandy,

          Yes. The thirty-six months in the Extended Period of Eligibility are the thirty-six consecutive calendar months immediately folloiwng the last of your nine Trial Work Period months.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Kristen

        Hi, what happens if I went over 1 month while I was within the 36 months. Will my benefits be terminated?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Kristen,

          If you earned at the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level during the thirty-six months, you were not eligible for SSDI benefits that one month and you will be required to repay the overpayment.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sandy

    I just completed being an executor for my Uncle’s estate and will be paid statutory fees paid to me. I’m on SSDI and the fees are reported as Other Income. The estate was easy I basically paid bills. My disability prevented me from doing anything physical so I enlisted family to help.

    Will these fees affect my SSDI?

    Sandy

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sandy,

      The statutory fees might be considered work earnings. Whether or not they would affect your benefits depends on several factors. Please provide a bit more information so I can respond regarding further. Have you worked previously while getting disability benefits? If so, how many months and roughly how much gross did you earn per month?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Sandy

        Thanks Kay.

        I worked from Sept 2014 to July 2015 and made approximately 900 per month. I stopped as it aggravated a previous wrist issue.

        • Sandy

          I was approved as Executor in Sept 2014 and it will be finalized approximately July 2015.

          • Sandy

            Sorry July 2016.

          • Sandy

            The fees will be $8500

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sandy,

              I am replying to your last four posts regarding the executor pay. See a separate response regarding the Extended Period of Eligibility.

              You can report the executor fees saying you do not know whether the executor statutory payment is treated as earned income so you are reporting. Make a statement that the payment was for services from September 2014 through July 2016 at an average monthly compensation of $369. The payment should not affect your benefits because even if the payment is considered work earnings, it does not reach SGA levels.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Sharon

    I hope I am writing this in the right space. I began receiving disability a few years ago, went back to work for almost 3 years. Recently my disability has worsened, total knee revision and pending back surgery, etc. etc. I received a letter from SSA that my benefits would be reinstated effective Feb. 2016. A week later I received another letter stating my benefits would not be started at this time. It could take 30-60 days, and deposits would be made to my new bank. Is this normal? Is it because of the bank change or since I worked the length of time I did are they recalculating the benefit amount? I cant seem to get any answer from the 800 number but that its in processing.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sharon,

      It is hard to say what has caused the delay, but reinstatement is actively in progress as indicated by the reference to your new bank account. If your work earnings increased your benefit that could be a factor.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Don

    Hi, I’m 60 yo and have been on SSDI since 7/2010. I have about exhausted my trial work period. I have a opportunity to do a seasonal job within my capabilities and under the SGA, except it includes using my own vehicle, to which I’m reimbursed mileage. I’ve contacted SSA, and have talked to four different people on whether mileage reimbursement is part of my income. I have received two different answers to this question. Two yes it does, and two, no it doesn’t. I’m afraid if its included this puts me over. My employer itemized the reimbursement out separately for the mileage. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Don,

      The mileage reimbursement will probably be treated as earned income. After your Trial Work Period ends, the thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) begins during which you will be paid benefits only for months you earn below the SGA level, which this year is $1,130 gross.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Fran

    My husband had a bone marrow transplant in March of 2015 and was released to work in February of 2016. He has been working full time since Feb. 29 and he reported this to SS before he went to work. He has talked to 3 different people at SSDI and all 3 keep telling him that he will be paid for 9 months and our daughter until she is 18 and that the money does not have to be paid back. He told them what he should be earning per month and told them he didn’t want to have to pay anything back and didn’t want to have to pay taxes on anything that has to be paid back in the long run. He said he would rather them stop paying us from 2/29/2016. It seems to me, from what I have read that we WILL have to pay all of this money back. He makes over the $1130 per month. Should we call back a 4th time and explain that he is working full time and is over the amounts listed? If they won’t stop paying us and we have to pay it back, will we also have to pay taxes on all of this money? Regards, Fran

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Fran,

      If your husband was disabled for twelve months before he returned to work in February 2016 (a full year to the day or more), he may be eligible for a nine-month Trial Work Period, during which full benefits are payable. If he is still working after nine months and earning $ 1,130, his benefits will be suspended at that time. If he continues to work for the next thirty-six months at that level his claim will be closed at the end of the thirty-six onths. You can read about these return-to-work incentives in the Red Book available at http://www.ssa.gov. The one exception to this is if your husband has definitely recovered medically. If he has, then the Trial Work Period would not apply and he would be eligible only if he was disabled for twelve months and only up until his medical recovery.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • AMY

    ssdi for over 24 months

    want to start small business – ice cream truck. couple days a week. net profits would be approx 400-500 per month for about 6 months a year

    because this is under sga would i be eligible for ticket to work program
    do i need to report amount of earnings each month if they are unider sga limits
    how is it best to inform ssdi about employment status – calling or writing to them and is it best to call 800 number or contact local field office
    does the local field office conduct the CDRs and would working under sga prompt a CDR
    is it true that if you collect ssdi for over 24 month a cdr is not triggered when returning to work under sga
    i see a doctor 1-2 a month so my medical condition is well documented.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amy,

      Requesting a Ticket to Work reduces the likelihood of an unscheduled Continuing Disability Review (CDR). You need to report when you start work and keep records of your gross sales and business expenses so you can file tax returns to document your net profit, which will count toward evaluating your work as related to Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Earning $400 to $500 a month working a couple days a week should not affect your benefits. I suggest going into the local office to request the Ticket to Work and to report when you start work. Make your reports in dated statements and keep a copy.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • AMY

        thanks you – i so much appreciate your input. I am seeking legal counsel next week before i make any decisions

        ticket to work – is this available to those seeking self employment on a part time schedule. Approx 10-12 hrs a week and approx 400 net earnings a month.

        does a failed work attempt apply to those seeking self employment

        can you please explain how and why ssdi looks differently on someone with a minimum of 24 months on ssdi when evaluating work review.

        your free counsel and advise is so valuable. i am so grateful for the services you offer so freely. thank you.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Amy,

          You can request a Ticket to Work for self-employment. If you try to work and stop because of your health, it does not matter whether you were an employee or self-employed; however, unsuccessful work attempts only come into play during the first twelve months of disability.

          I am not knowledgeable about the twenty-four month minimum you refer to. One possibility is that if at the time of approval you were scheduled for a continuing disability review (CDR) within twenty-four months and you start to work, the review date might be accelerated, but I really don’t know for sure.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Amy

        apparently there are rules when evaluating ones work. if collecting ssdi for greater than 24months ssdi only applies the countable income test as opposed to the three test rule when one has collected ssdi under 24 months – can you speak to this?
        see attached ssdi website info
        https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-1575.htm

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Amy,

          Thank you for the link. Section (a)(2) does describe different rules for determining whether self-employment prior to receiving Social Security benefits for twenty-four months is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). In general, the provisions outline criteria that could show that a person either is performing (SGA) or has the ability to do so even if earnings do not rise to the level (now $1,130). In your situation, you would be providing all the services, so the activity could be considered substantial especially if you work forty-five hours a month in the business. Because the governing rules are are detailed and complex and a degree of judgement will be involved in the decision, to know for sure how your planned self-employment would be handled, I suggest that you discuss the matter with a Social Security claims representative (not a service representative).

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • amy

            Once again, I appreciate your quick response. I was hoping you can take a look at the attached link. in looking into the matter further, as best I can understand – once you have received 24 months of SSDI, when returning to work ( including self-employment)the government looks only at countable income. After 24 months on ssdi, no work review is triggered. Additionally, it seems there are provisions that protect an individual in case a work review is triggered by mistake. With all this being said, i suspect this would not prevent the government from requesting a CDR – which could very well prompt the government to cease benefits, when an individual reports work activity on a CDR, however SGA is not being met.

            Can you take a look at what ive attached. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

            http://www.thesocialsecurityattorney.com/social-security-disability/favorable-decision/continuing-social-security-disability-reviews/

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Amy,

              I won’t comment on the link you sent because it is not published by the Social Security Administration.

              It is true that usually earnings at SGA level is the primary and often sole factor considered in determining whether work is Substantial Gainful Activity. However, even after twenty-four months of eligibility and even with a Ticket to Work, it is always possible that a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) could occur. A CDR could be initiated if there is some indication a person who is working has recovered medically or could be working and earning more and is just holding work hours down to stay on benefits. That said, if your medical condition has not improved and you really can’t work more hours than you are now planning, a CDR should not result in termination of your benefits.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Virginia

    I am on ssdi.I am working part time and was asked to go full time. My gross would still be lower than the sga but I worry about the healthcare I would lose. I have Medicaid qmb which pays Medicare premium and pays what Medicare does not. Is it worth it for me to take on the hours at work and going to lose Medicaid? I really want to better myself but all I see are barriers.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Virginia,

      I am unable to answer your question about Medicaid. I suggest that you talk with the agency that is administering your Medicaid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • J Mark

    Dear Kay,
    I am currently in my Extended Period of Eligibility which ends in September of this year. I have already received benefits through December 2014. I recently filed my 2015 Federal Income Taxes, and I discovered that I did not meet the SGA for that year. I checked my Earnings Report at ssa.gov, and it confirms this fact. Am I eligible for another year of benefits? If so, what do I have to do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mark,

      If you stay below Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) every month as documented by your pay stubs, not your W-2, which does not show your pattern of work, you will continue to receive benefits indefinitely, assuming you do not recover enough medically to no longer be disabled. During the remainder of the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), you are eligible for benefits only in months you earn below SGA. If you work at SGA level even one month after the end of the EPE, your benefits will be terminated and your claim closed. The only thing you need to do, is report if you earn SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • J Mark

        Thank you. Just a follow up question. I am self employed. So, all I have is my 2015 net income (from my Schedule C and my SSA Earnings Report) which is below the SGA amount multiplied by 12. What does the SSA do in these cases?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear J.,

          If you are trying to figure out SGA, your net profit from self-employment as reported on a Schedule C divided by twelve is usually what Social Security uses to decide whether you have performed SGA during the year. This is because it is acknowledged that business expenses and income often don’t occur in the same month. I say “usually” because depreciation can be claimed on a Schedule C and usually depreciation is not considered a business expense for determining profit for SGA.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • J Mark

            Thank you, Kay

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome.

          • Kevin Buckingham

            And thank you Kay, your advice is greatly appreciated.

        • Kevin Buckingham

          I can relate Mark. I have a progressive disabilty that keeps me from working full time. I however retain a Real Estate License and still work around 10-12 hours a week largely from home or in my car. With real estate, expenses are of course monthly but income can vary greatly from month to month. Anywhere from a net loss to a net gain of $2 or $3k. I have always averaged my monthly net by dividing by twelve my annual net after expenses. So far this seems to be satisfactory to the SSA. Every couple years however, I get a letter asking me to verify income and work activity, as well as provide tax returns. Hopefully I am in compliance as I am 59 years old and the symptoms of my disease continue worsen. My issue with disabilty income/work requirements is simply this; Disability income is nowhere near a livable income. I would like to see the SSA relax their income/work requirements some, allowing decent folks that are in an unfortunate position through no fault of their own, a chance at a better standard of living and quality of life. Thanks for your post. Good luck with all.

      • Harry

        Hi Kay, I have two questions. My 36-month EPE will end in June 2016. Currently, I am not eligible for SSD benefits because I have been working above the SGA amount for awhile. Lets say that I leave full-time job on May 27th (35th month), I will probably get my last paycheck during the first week of June which is 36th month of EPE. Since I work above the SGA amount during 35th month of May 2016 and don’t work above the SGA amount during 36th month of June, will I be eligible for SSD benefits again? Thank you for taking the time to answering my questions!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Harry,

          As long as you are still medically disabled and do not work after the thirty-sixth month, you will be eligible again. However, if you have the capacity to work and decide to continue working, Medicare will continue for fifty=four months even thouogh your claim has been closed because you decided to continue to work.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Harry

            Dear Kay, I am profound deaf so it should still meet SSA’s listing for disability. That’s how I got my SSD awhile ago. Thank you for your quick response!

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Harry.

          • Harry

            Hi Kay, I have two questions. Q1: Back to my previous question about 36 month EPE ending in June 2016. If I leave my full-time job on May 27th (35th month), I will get my last paycheck during the first week of June which is 36th month of EPE. That paycheck will include my vacation pay. Will SSA count vacation as SGA for May and I will still be eligible for SSD benefits again?
            Q2: You said Medicare would continue for 54 months? That means it would stop while I am getting SSD and working below SGA? Medicare started at the same time as EPE? Thanks for your time answering the questions in advance.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Harry,

              Your pay stubs would show when the money was earned and it would count in the month earned, not the month paid. The vacation pay might count in the month for which it was paid. Medicare continues while SSD continues. If you keep performing SGA and your SSD is terminated, you will get Medicare for fifty-four months after benefits end.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • Harry

            Hi Kay, I just wanted to make sure that I got this right. if the vacation pay counts in the 36th month while receiving my last paycheck, I will still be eligible for the SSD as long as my earnings don’t go above SGA during the 37th month , correct?

            Thank you for your response in advance.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Harry,

              Yes, your claim will be closed if you earn at the SGA level in the 37th month or any month thereafter.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Larry

    I receive $1260/mo SSDI and have not worked since SSDI started. I have read all the posts here regarding what you can earn and how earnings apply toward TWP. So, just to make sure I am understanding correctly, as long as I earn less than the $810/mo in 2016 it will not count as a TWP month? Is the $810 gross or net? However, if I earn between $810 and $1130 (SGA limit) per month gross, is that considered a TWP month? At what monthly earnings amount triggers the TWP? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Larry,

      Any earnings of $810 or more gross earnings counts as one of the nine Trial Work Period months. For the next thirty-six months, you will be paid benefits in any month you do not perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) usually defined by $1,130 gross earnings. SGA after the thirty-six months causes immediate termination of benefits. You can read about these work incentives and a Ticket to Work in Social Security’s Redbook, which is available at local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sandra

    So in reading this above information I’m I correct in saying as long as I stay under the $1130. mark I can continue drawing my ssdi, forever, unless I am considered recovered by my doctor?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sandra,

      Your summary statement is almost entirely correct. You can get benefits unless Social Security determines that you have recovered enough that you are no longer disabled. If you do not now have a Social Security Ticket to work, it could be worthwhile getting one because often continuing disability reviews are deferred when you have a Ticket to work, which you can get by asking for one.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi, I have a question

    I had an accident back in April 12 and am on workers compensation. I
    did not realize that they combined my SSD with my earnings from
    worker compensation. And now the IRS is wanting over 10g in back
    taxes. If I had known that I would have never applied I am losing more money than I am even getting from them less than $80.00 a month and well over 240.00 a month in taxes. I get more being non taxed on my workers compensation. Is there a way to get off SSD with out that Ticket to Work program.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Roseanne,

      You can simply decline to receive any more Social Security, but doing so may not be to your long-term advantage. Social Security is a lifetime benefit assuming you remain disabled until retirement age. Usually workers comp is not. When workers comp stops your Social Security will go up.

      Before you take any action, I suggest that you discuss your tax situation with a tax accountant to be sure that the IRS bill is correct and that you clearly understand how much less your taxes would have been with no Social Security. If you are getting only $80 a month Social Security (or even around $200 adding together your $80 payment and the portion of your benefit withheld for a Medicare premiums), I don’t see how you could owe as much as you say you do on taxes–or if you do, it would seem the unexpected taxes wouldn’t be caused by Social Security alone.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Thank you, I appreciate your insight. It’s truly only from SS disabilty is why we hired an attorney. And you are correct it’s not forever and my Dr’s recommend that I retire due to injuries.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Rosanne.

  • Teri

    My husband applied for disability last July and was accepted and started getting checks in February. He told them at time of application he changed from working full time to part time per doctor’s orders, so does he still need to tell them he is working if he doesn’t go over gainful ? and since he never stopped working how does the 12-month thing affect trial of work 9-month period? so confusing! thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Teri,

      Your husband does not have to report his earnings monthly as long as he stays below substantial gainful activity. However, he may be contacted yearly because of the interface between the IRS and Social Security computers. For that reason, he should keep all his pay stubs to show the pattern of his work was always below the SGA figure each month. I believe that the Trial Work Period begins after the end of the twelve months of disability required to receive benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Richard blakeman

    Why are my questions not posting, simple short question, please email me and explain what I’m doing wrong. My post is always there until I leave the site then they are gone .

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Richard,

      You keep looking under different articles instead of where you posted in the first place. Your first post and my reply were posted under the article “Are Social Security Benefits Taxable.” The short version of my answer is that, yes, your Social Security will increase if it has been reduced for workers comp.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Marie

    I have a question, I’ve been on disability since 1995, I am currently receiving $1143 a month, my medical is fully being paid under medical hardship, recently I realized I need to work just to get out of my home. I was offered a part time job of 12 hours a week at minimum wage, it’s less than $100 gross a week, do i need to report this? Will this effect my benefits? I believe I did the twp many years ago, didn’t work out as it was full time and just too much for me, so I believe working part time won’t be an issue for me, it’s just a couple of hours a day… Do I or can I participate again in the program or is it even necessary since this money will be way less than the amount we can earn while on disability?? Just curious, I don’t want to open a can of worms if I don’t have to, it was enough just to get them to reinstate my medical and pay for it…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marie,

      Even though you may have used up your nine-month Trial Work Period, twelve hours a week for less than $100 gross will not affect your disability benefits. You should, however, report the work when you start.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Michael Garabaldi

    I have been applying for SSDI and recently have been approved. During the application time, I was offered a job but have not worked yet. Since I’ve been approved for SSDI I am wondering if I should simply forget about the job.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      If you have been disabled for longer than twelve months, you could be eligible for a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which time full benefits are payable. This would give you a chance to see whether you are able to work. You can learn more about TWPs and other work incentives in the Red Book available at local Social Security offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Monte

    Hello. I’m a current SSDI beneficiary working under the $810/month threshold, and I have already used 5 of 9 TWP months throughout the course of my disability. My employer has offered me the opportunity to take on a special project as an independent contractor and would 1099 me. I can find no resources on combining W2 and 1099 income for Social Security purposes and am trying to determine whether I would lose benefits if I accept the special project. Do you have advice for me?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monte,

      Being paid as an independent contractor and compensation being reported as self-employment would mean that your net profit from the self-employment would be counted. Your gross compensation shown on the 1099 reduced by your business expenses related to the 1099 work, would be your net. Your net added to your monthly pay stubs would be your earnings for the month and used in evaluating a Trial Work Period month. If the work for the special project spanned multiple months, you and your employer could make a statement regarding the months so that the 1099 compensation could be divided over those months before being added to the wages. (As a side note: if you aren’t going to have any expenses related to the special project, it might be simpler to just have your employer pay you for the project as an employee and withhold taxes.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Preston

    Hi, I am on ssdi and can’t get around to easily. A friend offered to let me house sit and let the dog out. I get $30.00 a month for doing this. Do I have to report this to ssdi?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Preston,

      Technically, all work activity is supposed to be reported; however $30 a month is not enough work earnings to affect your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits or eligibility. Earnings below $$810 do not even count as a Trial Work Period month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Joe

        Hello Kay, I was injured on the job in 2009. At this point I have been on SSDI since 2014. I have multiple physical disabilities as well as anxiety, depression. I have an opportunity to work for a friend at a shop being a safety manager very part time. I was asked by my friend to find out exactly how much I can make before affecting any of the benefits from SSDI I had to fight so hard to get. My family is financially drowning and I have to do something to help. I guess what I need to know is the gross amount I would be able to make with out having any affect on my current benefit. I, at this point am not even sure if I will be able to do anything at all with the daily pain and mental instability I go through, but I also can no longer sit back and watch my family suffer either. Do you know the exact amount I can gross with out affecting my SSDI as well as my Medicare ? Please help me if you can….Thank you for your time.

        Joe

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Joe,

          If you are only able to work and earn less than Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which in 2016 is usually defined as $1,130 gross per month, you benefits will continue unless there is an indication that you could be performing SGA.

          Earnings of $810 count as a Trial Work Period (TWP) month, during which full benefits are paid. A thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) follows the nine TWP months. During the EPE, you will receive full benefits for months you do not perform SGA. After the EPE, if you work at the SGA level, your claim will be terminated with the first month of SGA. Medicare continues throughout and for another 54 months after termination due to work. You can read more about these work incentives in the Red Book, which is available from a local Social Security office or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Laurie

            I am so confused. Which figure can I earn indefinitely and keep my ssdi indefinitely: $810 or $1,130? I don’t expect to ever recover at this point, but I am in desperate need of additional income for debts, uncovered treatments, etc. thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Laurie,

              Earnings of $810 or more count as one of the nine Trial Work Period months. In 2016, $1,130 is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). If you stay below SGA earnings and don’t have an improvement in health, you can work at that level indefinitely.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Doug

    Hi, I have been on Ssdi since 2/2011 due to various health issues one of them severe depression and anxiety. I was in banking for 30 years.mi am 56 years old. I just started a part time job in a nursing home in the laundry area for 14 hours a week at minimum wage. I received this job through the ticket to work program. I was reading about this and one article said as long as I’m on the ticket to work that a CDR would not be requested. Is this true. I have not had a CDR done since I was approved. I believe because of the seriousness of my health at the time thst a review was not going to happen until 7 years. Will a review still be done or does the ticket to work stop a CDR?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Doug,

      Usually a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) will not be performed while you are on a Ticket to Work. The amount that you are earning is below the level to even count as a Trial Work Period month, so it seems unlikely that your work will throw up a red flag to indicate you have recovered medically.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • JoAnne

    Hi,
    I just received my letter that my TWP is up and I had well over the SGA every month, and as long as I work here FT I will, so no benefits will be paid 4/1 on so on. I started work outside my long career field last February, because I medically can’t stand 8 hrs a day nor bend over any more. However, everywhere and everyone says my Medicare will continue, thankfully. I just started my new Medicare supplement with United Healthcare for all services, medical and drugs. If I’m not getting SSDI as of 4/1, how do the Part A $104.90 and Part D $60-plus AND my additional $16.20 that was coming out of the SSDI, how do they get paid? As it is now I will barely be able to afford rent (I’m moving to a studio apartment as of 4/1), food, and utilities. I have a 1998 Honda Accord that will need stuff soon, and how will I be able to pay the additional insurance costs now? Will they bill me or what? I’m in a panic! Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear JoAnne,

      You should get a bill before April 1 for the portion of your Medicare premiums that has been coming out of your benefits. Part A will continue without a premium, but if you do not get a bill for the Part B and Part D and the additional $16.20, contact Social Security right away and try to pay the premiums in the office and get a receipt. Given that your income is going down, you might apply for SNAP (formerly called food stamps).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • JoAnne

        Thank you so much, Kay!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, JoAnne.

  • Sonya

    Hi,

    I’m 55 yrs old been on Social Security Disability 3 years now. I haven’t actually worked in 5 yrs. I was just offered a part-time job at minimum wage. This job offer was not referred to me by the Ticket to work program. A private employer offered me a position. So even though I didn’t get the job via ticket to work, am I still eligible for all that trial work incentives? I apologize for asking but I’m a little confused. How much can I earn per month without effecting my disability payment. Some posts on other sights say it $830 a month. Some say $730. I want to try to work again. It would certainly lift my spirits. However at my age it’s not likely I can start life over with my disabilities if I were to loose my monthly benefit. I’m alone in life and haven’t anyone to fall back on if I lost my benefits. I’m scared to death to take this step out into the working world once again. But it would certainly make me feel alive again being a productive citizen. Thank you in advance for any help to answer my questions.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sonya,

      You can receive benefits during a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP), no matter how much you earn per month or how you got the job. For the thirty-six months following the end of the TWP, you will be paid Social Security Disability (SSDI) only in months that you earn less that the typical Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level. In 2016 that amount is $1,130. At the end of the thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility, your benefits will be terminated the first month you perform SGA. So, in summary, benefits could continue indefinitely and without interruption if you remain medically disabled and your earnings do not exceed the SGA level after you have used up your Trial Work Period. You can read about these work incentives in the Redbook at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Parviz A

    Hello,

    I ubderstand that the SSDI convert to Social Security benefit once tyou reach full retirement age. What will happen if you reach full retirement age and are on Work Trail Period or EPE?

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Parviz,

      Once you reach full retirement age and your benefits become retirement benefits, the Social Security Disability laws no longer apply. Retirement benefit laws then apply. Currently, a person at full retirement age can work and earn any amount and the earnings will not affect the retirement benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Anna

    Hello , I have been on disability benefits now 2.5 yrs. Previously my career was in banking full time for 35 yrs.
    10 years ago, I studied and earned my Sales Associate Real Estate license on my own while maintaining my banking job. My former husband is a broker and I held my actual license with his firm. I have never used my license but kept it active through open book continuing Ed online course held ever 2 yrs. Answers to the tests are open to find and thus the exam does not require any memorization etc. I am cognitively disabled.
    I am purchasing a home and putting down a down payment from funds saved prior to my accident. Generally, Real Esate agents can obtain a portion of commission on their own personal property they buy or sell by registering that they are licensed. In this purchase , the commission would be 5%. Will accepting the commission work against me with regards to Disability Benefits. If I do not take it, it will go to the seller/builder’s sale representative and I will make that commission. I do not work, do not have any gainful employment, this is a one time deal given for a purchase/sale of personal property. Please let me know. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anna,

      I suggest that you check with your tax accountant to see if the commission will result in a 1099. If it does, you would need to report the “self-employment” income to Social Security. You could at the same time present documents showing where it came from and make a statement that you have never worked as a realtor and were just taking advantage of a windfall situation. Even if it is counted as work, the “work” would have been all in one month and would count as one month of your nine-month trial work period, during which benefits are payable.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Anna

        Thank you kay.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Anna.

  • michelle

    Dear Kay,
    I.have a question. I receive $731/mo in disability. (I dont want to sound stupid) am I on SSI or SSDI. If im receiving.SSDI can I receive SSI. I am living with family and would like to have my own apartment , but can not afford it on the amount I receive..I dont know if I can work part time. I have Congestive Heart Failure and Kidney Failure ( all related to Diabetes/Hypertension) please let me kbow if I can receive Both or should I try some type of work..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michelle,

      The amount you gave could be either of the two benefits. You can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and find out which benefit it is. If it is Social Security Disability (SSDI) and it is the gross amount of your benefit before any withholding for Medicare premiums or taxes, you might be eligible for $22 SSI and a small state supplement if you live in a state with an SSI state supplement. If you are not now getting food stamps, you might look into that to free up more room for housing. Another option might be to apply for government-subsidized housing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Clint

    When you are calculating your SGA for the month (It’s $1,130 for non-blind this year) & you are in a month with a 3rd or 5th paycheck depending on whether you get paid weekly or biweekly (I get paid biweekly), do they count all 3 or 5 paychecks for just the first 2 or 4? Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Clint,

      You are correct that SGA for 2016 is $1,130. It went up even though the blind SGA did not go up because different formulas are used. As you your question, Social Security will use all the earnings; however, it is when the money was earned that counts. This means that the “extra” paycheck may represent days worked in two different months, so they should look at the exact dates the paycheck covers and prorate out to determine whether you earned at the SGA level in any month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dipesh

        Kay
        This is an issue I have been agonizing over.
        I have been on disability for 5 years and gross $140 per week.
        I am way under $820 TWP.
        However, I also get paid biweekly resulting in several months each year with 3 Friday pay checks per month for a total of 6 weeks being received in one calendar month.
        I feel I need to be out and moving, but am I jeopardizing my benefits?
        Thanks.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Dipesh,

          Even in months that you have a third paycheck, your earnings are below Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which in 2015 was generally considered $1,090 and in 2016, $1,130. Accordingly, you are still eligible for benefits even though by now you may have you have used up your nine Trial work Period (TWP) months.

          Note that you may have also used up part of your Extended Period of Eligibility, which is the thirty-six calendar months after the end of the TWP. During the EPE, you are ineligible for benefits any month you earn SGA and after the end of the EPE, if you earn at SGA level in even one month, you benefits will be terminated and your claim closed. I suggest that you gather verification of your work earnings (pay stubs or statement from your employer of your work earnings by pay period for the whole time you have been working so that you can establish your TWP and EPE months with Social Security.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Pat

    I have a problem which I feel could be a real mess. I have been on SSDI for about 10 yrs. due to my MS. A few years back I opened an eBay account as my underage child was trying to sell some items. My 3 children have been using the account to sell things since then and lo and behold this year I come to find out I now have a 1099 in my name that I need to file taxes on. I guess I have not received any in the previous years as there is a limit of how much you can sell before eBay issues a 1099. Call it ignorance on my part for not knowing this but now I am worried that I am going to get in trouble over this as it is my name. Any suggestions or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pat,

      Please tell me the amount of the 1099 and I will try to offer a suggestion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Pat

        About $35,000.00. My 21 yr. old daughter has a severe anxiety problem and since she can’t hold a job due to it has been trying to make this her income. That is definitely not all profit(not nearly) but she did not save many receipts for proof of that either.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Pat,

          First a disclaimer: I am not a tax accountant. Now my idea: go to a certified tax accountant and ask about whether the 1099 can be treated with you as nominee (I think that is the right term). With bank accounts that have joint owners and a tax document is sent to one, there is a way to split out the tax liability to the right people proportionate to their ownership interest. The nominee issues some tax document to each of the other people on the account, which transfer some of the tax liability out. I have no idea whether this can be done with a 1099 or without your daughter’s name on the EBay account. If so, this would switch the tax liability to your daughter and you would have tax documents to show Social Security..

          As far as your Social Security Disability benefits go, the issue here is to prove that you have not been working and running an EBay business with earnings above the Substantial Gainful Activity level. You do need to report this to the Social Security Administration, and I would do that immediately after getting an answer for the tax accountant (which I’d get asap) if you decide to see one. If not, report the 1099 now and make a written statement about what happened. Take a statement from your daughter that the selling activity was hers and you did none of it. If you have any proof other than your statements that you did not receive the money from the sales, provide that also. For example, did your daughter set up a PayPal account in her name?

          And, of course, change the name and Social Security number on the EBay account for 2016, or if that is not possible, close the account and have your daughter open her own now that she is an adult.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Pat

            Thank you so much for your response. I will say I am very worried, very scared as what will happen to my benefits as everything is in my name, but I am going to use your suggestions and will hopefully get started on that right away this week. Thank you again.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Pat.

  • Hope

    Hi Kay,

    I’ve been on disability since 2011 and was approved with my initial application in 4 months at the age of 38 for fibromyalgia, CFS and MDD. I started working in June of 2015 and have not made SGA. I did go in to social security and report that I was working and how much I make an hour. The rep asked me how many hours a week I work and at first I said 12 and then changed it to an average of 15. I’m almost sure me working triggered my CDR that I received in December since I was approved nearly 4 years prior (1/2012) and not 3. I also found out that the rep I reported my work to and to whom I’ve been submitting my paystubs to is the one who also reviews my CDR and I got the long form.

    I’m overly anxious as I have lost everything once (including my home and my six figure career). I’m now afraid that I will be homeless and I have a child to care for and am too sick to work full time. My doctor put in my paperwork that I specifically work 3, four hour shifts (even though I told her on occasion that I work an additional 4 hour shift in a week) and she also said that after my shift I’m too exhausted to drive home (this is often the case but not always) and last she said that I have incapacitating fatigue for 1-2 days. I usually will have it after my shift until the following day. 3 of my shifts are scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday’s so I’m worried that what she wrote will be the kiss of death. I tried to explain this to her and I think she was trying to be helpful but I’m afraid it might do more harm than good.

    Can you please tell me what you think about my situation? I won’t hip you to it. I’m just not eating and wish I never even started doing any work. I just want to get well already (been sick for 12 years) and go back to my old life!

    Thank you so much!
    Hope

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Hope,

      All you can do is wait to see how it turns out. Better to have a supportive physician that one who does not support your claim. If you get a termination notice and you appeal within ten days, you can request payment continuation during the appeal. If you really can’t work more hours than you are working, you may be approved for continuing benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Hope

        Hi Again Kay,

        Thanks so much for your response. I was just wondering since I have been seeing my doctors, taking my medication and not making SGA if you think I will most likely be continued? If you think it is a toss up what can I do to make my case stronger? Talk more to my doctor? For the first time after losing it all I was happy a few months ago because my husband and I were planning on buying a condo. My husband had to get a large hardship withdraw from his 401K for the deposit which the builder is demanding. I’m scared to give it to them because I don’t know what’s going to happen. We are in between buying now and being homeless. I’m most scared for my child!!! Do you know what most people are terminated for and if they usually get it back if they appeal? Sorry for all of the questions but I’m just absolutely sick about all of this! Thankful for your time!

        Hope

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Hope,

          I am unable to generalize about which people’s benefits are terminated and whose appeals are successful. At this point, if you really are disabled, there is no reason to assume that you will be terminated.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • randy

    Hi, I’m a bit confused to what I’m supposed to do and wanted to so the right thing. I was told if I make way less working then no need to report but my conscious kept telling me I should report. just received a tax form where I have been working and making between no more than 200-300 dollars a month while drawing ssdi. I just received tax form from an owned business friend who I worked for a few hours a month. Not sure if I was supposed to report my wages or wait till the end of the year. Basically paid by personal checks which I don’t have copies of but a tax form showing how much I have earned the whole year. Any hhelp with understanding will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Randy,

      The amount you have been earning will not affect your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits; however, it does not hurt to take in the W-2 or 1099 you received to Social Security and make a statement that the most you have earned in any month is about $300 gross. If you are working this year, I recommend keeping a copy of the personal checks before you cash them so you can prove the pattern of your work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cathy Macri

    I have read all the post here at this sight regarding working while receiving SSD and still I am somewhat confused. What I believe to understand is if you are on SSD
    You are able to work without losing benefits as long as you don’t make more then $780.00 per month or is the amount $1070 What dollar amount is considered to put you in
    the category of SGA? Also is there a waiting period from when you are awarded benefits and when you can try working again? Does the time frame begin with the award letter or does it begin from the time SS determines your eligibility? I ask this as I was just recently awarded benefits SSD of which I am grateful for, however I can not sustain my household expenses on this amount.
    I’ve been offered part work which I think physically I can do. I would earn about $760 monthly. Not sure what to do.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cathy,

      Substantial Gainful Activity is usually $1,090 per month for non-blind persons. If you earn less than that you will probably continue to receive benefits. Watch for months in which you get five weekly checks or three bi-weekly checks because they could put you over.

      Trial Work Period months are counted it you earn $780 gross. You can have nine Trial Work Period (TWP) months and they do not have to be contiguous. After the TWP, you can have an Extended Period of Eligibility, which are the thirty-six calendar months following the last TWP month. During that time you are paid for any month your do not perform SGA. If after the EPE you perform SGA, your claim will be closed. You can read more about this in the Red Book, available in your local Social Security office or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Lastly, Trial Work Periods are applicable after you have been disabled for twelve months, that is, after twelve months from your established date of disability as determined by Social Security–not the date of application or the date the approval decision was made.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • S

    Currently I recieved 1,010 dollars each month on SSI for my disabilities. Because of my monthly expenses, and the fact that I am trying to move on to college- This ammount does not support me. Frequently, I spend the last two weeks of each month without food and sometiems toilet paper. I cannot survive on this any longer. I have been offered a part time job in town, and I am wondering if I can take that job- While still recieveing full benefit amounts? Is there a limit to how much I can make there, and still recieve my 1,010 monthly? Even just a couple hundred would help me take care of what I need to.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear S,

      The amount you are receiving indicates that you are receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability), not SSI (Supplemental Security Income). My response is based on that understanding.

      As long as you are still medically impaired to the level of disability you can work if you earn less than $1,090 gross per month. You do need to report the work to Social Security and it might be advisable to request a Ticket to Work from Social Security. You can learn more about Social Security’s return-to-work incentives in their Red Book, which is available at your local Social Security office or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • now what?

    Hi,
    I’ve been receiving SSDI and Medicare for 20 years. I signed up for the “Ticket to Work” program around 2004 and utilized that service for help with school tuition. I started self-employment 2 years ago, have reported my income and had a very good second year, making me no longer eligible for SSDI payments. However, that triggered a reevaluation by SS, and a letter this month stating I was no longer disabled.
    I know my income precludes me from SSDI payments, and I don’t have a problem with that. However, two things are at issue- my healthcare providers disagree with the determination that I’m no longer disabled and think I should appeal. And I fear losing my Medicare benefits because I have many medical issues.
    According to some info I’ve read, it seems that by utilizing the Ticket to Work program, I’m eligible for extended Medicare for 93 months after losing SSDI benefits. Is this correct?
    I cannot reach anyone at SS (of course) and can’t afford to lose my medicare right now!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Now What,

      Continuation of Medicare applies if you are still medically disabled (no medical recovery) and lose benefits because you have worked enough to use up your Trial Work Period and thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility. You can appeal the fact that you have recovered medically for continuation of Medicare. You must do so within sixty days of notification that your benefits are being terminated not due to your exhaustion of the EPE, but because you have medically recovered.

      To provide insurance while the appeal is pending, you can apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The annual open enrollment period ends tomorrow, but you have sixty days after you lose the Medicare to apply under the ACA. Later if your Medicare is reinstated, you can terminate the ACA coverage. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • andrea

      If I’m on SSDI and have been disabled my whole life can i work and make up to equal to my check and not get my benefits taken away? Only thing social security will tell me about is the work trial.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Andrea,

        Please double check that you are getting SSDI. Most people who have been disabled their whole lives have not worked enough to get SSDI (Social Security Disability) and are getting SSI (Supplemental Security Income). The two have different rules about work and continued benefits. Once you have doubled checked, please let me know and I will respond.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Johnny

    My son was approve for 733 in benefits I have a full time job making 10.50 a hour and i was thinking about working another full time job at 10.25 how will this affect the 733??? i don’t know how they compute the amount and need help.

    • Johnny

      I have a daughter and my wife doesn’t work just me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Johnny,

      If you work the two jobs you describe, I estimate that on an average your son’s SSI will be reduced to about $98. I say average because unless you are paid on both jobs once a month or twice a month on specific dates, some months you will have an “extra” paycheck. In months that your are paid twice (every other week) or four times (weekly), he will be eligible for more, but in months you get the third bi-weekly check or fifth weekly check, he will likely be ineligible those months. You can see a sample calculation in the article “What Are Deemed Income and Resources and How Do They Affect an SSI Application for Children?” under the SSI tab on the navigation bar at the top of this website’s pages.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Audrey

    Do I have to report to social security disability if I start working 20 hours a week at 7.80 a hour the job doesn’t last but 9 months in a year .if i do I was told long as I didnt gross more than 780.00 a month. what will be the best way to handle it.?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Audrey,

      It is best to report all work. You can request a Ticket to Work at the same time. You are right that the amount you are earning is not enough to count as a Trial Work Period month and won’t affect your Social Security benefits. I suggest that you keep all pay stubs indefinitely so that if you are ever asked to provide more information, you will have proof of the amount earned in any month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Thomas E.

    Hello,
    I have been on disability for 12 years due to an oilfield accident which resulted in two back surgeries. The last surgery resulted in major nerve damage in leg with various other problems, stenosis, disc disease etc. I did try to work several years ago using my twp along with my 36 month eligibility. The job played out and I was reinstated. Now, several years later, I am thinking of getting a light part time job. My question is will me returning to work part time and under the sga level cause my benefits to stop?

    Thomas

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Thomas,

      If you are only able to work part-time and earn less than $1,090 every month, your benefits will continue. I emphasize every month because people who are paid weekly or every other week get an extra paycheck every third or sixth month respectively. If you have used your 36-month EPE, one single month of SGA earnings will cause your claim to be closed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Chad

        If you use your 36 months of EPE and continue to work partime and doesn’t meet the SGA limit will my SSD check get cut off or Can I still work and draw benefits?? If so. How long can I draw my benefits and work part time after the 36 months??

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Chad,

          Assuming that you have not recovered medically, you can work and earn less than substantial gainful activity (SGA) indefinitely as long as you never perform SGA. One month of SGA after the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) will cause termination. Be aware that unless you are paid monthly or on fixed dates in the month, you will periodically get an extra check. A weekly pay cycle results in a fifth pay day every three months and a bi-weekly pay cycle results in a third payday every six months. You must stay below SGA in those months as well.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Connie

      Hi, I have a part time job of 20 hours a week @ $10 per hour. I receive SSD of $1,051 per month. In January I have earned $764. Will this affect my disability and do I have to report it? Thank you.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Connie,

        If you earn $780 gross in a month, you have to report it as the work will count as a Trial Work Period (TWP) month. Benefits are payable during the nine-month TWP, but the work should be reported. Also, keep your pay stubs so that you can prove how much you have worked in any given month. You can learn more about Social Security return-to-work incentives in the Red Book, which is available from your local Social Security office or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • George Bond

    Hi is the $1,090 for SSDI earnings per month is that averaged over the year. for example $1090 * 12 =$13,080 What if the person some months had over $1,090 but the total for 12 months was under the $13,080 are they still eligible for benefits? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear George,

      To my knowledge, the earnings are counted month by month for determination of Trial Work Period and Extended Period of Eligibility months. You might talk to a Social Security claims representative (not a service rep) to find out whether averaging is ever considered in determining Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • VERNARD

    I just turned 61 still working. I have severe deterioration disc disease in my lower back. Also no vision in my right eye and permanent disability in my left foot. It’s a struggle to work everyday but I have bills to pay. I miss work when in severe pain but always have pain. I read about all the problems applying for benefits scares me cause I could lose all I’ve worked for waiting for it. I have a home do I have to lose it all to get my benefits? Will my wife also get a check if I can get benefits and do I have to stop working before I can get anything. Iam under FMLA at work but I miss a lot of days but protection is there but no pay cause I must earn the hours for a 1 day off for hours worked. Iam afraid to lose all I have worked for but find working in pain is all I have as a sure income I’ve gotten statements from social security saying iam eligible having enough credits for full benefits at 65. I hope I last that long in pain. Cause I feel I can’t stop without and income. I’ve been blind in one eye since I was 7 years old. It’s been a struggle if I lose the other eye iam blind. My vision in my other eye is corrected with glasses but can’t see far away. What can you suggest I do. Really scary out here. In pain and suffering but trying to find answers.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Vernard,

      You will not be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) while you are working and earning $1,090 gross per month.

      If you can hold out till you are age sixty-two, you can stop work at that time or reduce your hours to below $1,090 gross and apply for both Social Security retirement and Social Security disability. You can apply three months in advance of your sixty-second birthday for the retirement and have your benefits start on time to have income while your disability takes two to five months to get a decision. The retirement benefits will be reduced, but if you are approved for disability benefits, you will be switched from retirement to disability at the higher disability rate beginning with the sixth full calendar month of disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Candy

    Hello I have a question, so I’m getting a job offer 700 weekly. I know I will have to talk to the ssi about it since they give my daughter money who has a disability. Will I loose everything? And my other question is let’s say I loose my job? Can I get the ssi monthly money again? That’s my main worry I don’t wanna risk anything

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Candy,

      If you have no other children in the household, your daughter’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be reduced, but it will not be stopped in months you are paid for exactly four weeks. (If you have other children to support, it will be reduced but less.)

      If your earnings are ever too high for her to receive benefits, which could happen in months in which you get an extra paycheck, your child will be eligible again the following month. (If you are paid weekly, every third months your income will be $700 higher than other months; if you are paid every other week, every sixth month your income will be $1.400 more than usual.) To avoid overpayments, you might have Social Security input a year’s estimate at a time estimating the higher income in the appropriate months. As long as your daughter is not financially ineligible for twelve months in a row, no new application is needed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • geri

    Hi, I am a 55 year old female who has been collecting SSDI since 1993. I have not worked since 1990 when my accident occurred. I have just been offered some work that I can do from home and will be paid by a 1099. Do I report my monthly earnings with copies of my checks each month to the local SS office? I will probably earn about $600 or so each month. Well below the 2016 trial work period amount. Also, what happens to your retirement benefit if you go back to work if you became disabled at a young age and they used a projected income calculation when figuring your benefit for SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Geri,

      You should report to Social Security that you will be doing work from your home and earning about $600 a month. You do not have to send in paystubs or submit a copy of the 1099. I would suggest keeping a photocopy of all your pay checks so that you can document the pattern of earnings in case you are asked to. There will be an IRS/Social Security computer interface that will pick up the amount of your annual earnings, so you might be asked for an update.

      Unless your earnings while disabled are higher than some annual earnings used in the calculation of your current benefit, you benefit will stay the same except for any cost-of-living adjustments. When you reach full retirement age, your benefits will be switched to retirement, but they will not change from the amount.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • teresa

      Question I receive $733 in SSI for my son & is soon to start a job making $1,360 every two weeks before taxes. Will it effect his SSI ?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Teresa,

        If you are the only parent in the household and you are not supporting other minor children, your son will no longer be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. If needed you might investigate health insurance for him under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • teresa

          Yes I’m the only parent and have two other minor children in the home.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Teresa,

            Your child’s SSI will be reduced to about $513 in months that you receive two pay checks. In months that you receive three pay checks (every six months), the child will be ineligible.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • teresa

            Thanks !

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Teresa.

  • lisa

    question my husband and i seprated then tryed to make it work. didnt needless to say. devorice coming. i get 733 a month i make just enough to pay my bills and nothing eles. anyway we got a loan on car and now i have an unexpected 400 expense. i know i can not work full time due to disablities. do i have to report if im only makein 480 a month to keep my vehicle? i cant afford to lose benifits or vehicle. all so confusing…

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      If you work and gross $480 before taxes, your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will go down by $197.50. (The first $85 of your earnings plus half of the excess will not cause a reduction, but the other half of the excess reduces your SSI.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Angela

    I am on disability for rheumatoid arthritis. I get benefit for my daughter. I’m just curious to know what I can count as things that I can spend her money on can I count her dance lessons? Can I count Internet? Can I count her cell phone?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Angela,

      You can use your daughter’s money on anything for her: food, housing, phone, enrichment such as dance lessons, and so on. You should, of course, be sure her basic housing, food, clothing, medical and dental needs are met before less essential things.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Patricia

    I have a question. I receive $600 between my SSDI and from my husbands passing. I also receive $1520 from DIC (VA Widows check).
    Can I still work receiving less than $780 per month and not loose my SSDI?

    I’m not even sure if my back will let me, but would love to try.

    Thanks,
    Patricia

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      If you earn less than $780, you can work and not have the earnings count toward the nine-month trial work period. If you earn more $780 but less than $1,090, the work will count toward the trial work period but will not cause you to be ineligible for Social Security benefits. I do not know about the V.A. benefits, so I suggest that you check with the V.A. regarding that. When you are planning to try to work, it can be advantageous to request a Ticket to Work from Social Security. You can read more about Social Security’s work incentives in the Red Book, which is available in local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lisa sanders

    I receive ssi 659 a month my question is how much is my limit a year I’m thinking bout working part time

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      Are you receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lisa sanders

        I receive supplemental security income

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lisa,

          Your benefits are already being reduced for some income because the maximum federal amount is $733. If you are single or not living with your husband or your husband has no work income, you can earn $65 gross per month before there is a reduction in your SSI benefit. For every two dollars over $65, your monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be reduced by one dollar. The only exceptions are if you are under age twenty-two and a student attending school at least twelve hours a week or you have disability-related work expenses.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sunni

    Hello I have a question. I called the local social security office in regards to myself. I asked them about my options to work. They looked up my information and could see that I get a $96 check from ssi on the 1st of month and I also get 653 on the 3rd that I draw from my father (i must also add that I am 29 and disabled) anyways she told me all about the $780 a month and 9 months work trial and the $1090 after that. I asked if I needed to report anything if I found a job. She told me no and that the worst thing that could happen is they may take away my ssi check I get on the 1st. Well fast forward to the present. I found a job. I’m making less than $780 a month. I wasn’t concerned about anything until I received my annual report like you do at the end of every year.. It says you are responsible to report of you start or stop work. Now I’m scared because I’ve been working for 3 months and haven’t reported it. I’m afraid they are going to stop my ssdi because I was misinformed. Please help me understand. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sunni,

      Your SSDI will not be stopped because you have not reported; however, if in the future your earnings increase to reach $780, you should report it right away. If you earned more than $65 a month gross you have been overpaid SSI. You might qualify request waiver of repayment because you were told you didn’t have to report; however you might not qualify because you were also told that your SSI might stop if you worked and you didn’t report the work to find out whether you were eligible for the SSI you have been receiving while working.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • brittany graves

    Just a tab bit confuse. I’ve been receiving ssdi since August of 2014. I’ve been working since before I was approved for ssdi. I was not once told to report anything and Idk if I used any work trials. Also they told me as long as I don’t go over 1070$ I was ok but as I’m reading I see we can’t go over 780. So if I go over 780 that’s considered work trial and my benefits could be terminated

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brittany,

      The first nine months that you earn $780 or more will count as Trial Work Period (TWP) months. After that, for the next thirty-six consecutive calendar months, called the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), you will be paid for any month in which you do not earn $1,090 gross (assuming you are still medically disabled). After the EPE, your entitlement will stop and your claim will be closed the first month you earn $1,090 or more. You can read about these work incentives in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available from local offices or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • art

    Hello.

    You really seem to care and really seem to know your stuff. But I tell you, every case can be its own unique situation and that’s why I’m bothering you to ask this question.

    I HATE being on SSDI. I got on it in 2010 and tried to work again in 2012. I lasted 8 months. Not 9 – 8. And I was on the ‘ticket to work’ program and reported everything religiously. I was told I had one more work month to do the ‘over the sga limit’ thing.

    I left that job because I was bullied. Had NEVER experienced that in my entire 25 year history working everywhere from fast food to high tech. But boy, those advertising people were total $%#@s!!!

    Ok, so that was June of 2012. It’s been ’36 months’ since then. I haven’t worked. But I want to try again.

    I have a job interview in January for a little part/time job making less than 800 every 4 weeks – but since ‘monthly amounts’ might be a little more (you know how we have 52 weeks in a year but when one calculates their paycheck, it’s for biweekly or bimonthly….I swear, stuff and details like this drive me cray-zee!!).

    So even though I might only make $800 or less on a two or four week paycheck, the truth is there are more than 28 days in a month!!!!! So it could be a little more. I hate this about life. Every rule has more nuances and b.s. to it than I care to think about. One loophole after another.

    I know I don’t sound ‘ready’ when you read my complaint. I swear, I’m not as irritable as I sound. What I hate is that there is SO much grey to all this.

    So what I’m asking you – and I do plan to go to the SSA office next week, too…in anticipation of working again..and hopefully going from p/t to full-time, if I can handle it…is how does the 36 month figure into that/this?

    And I will be driving 30 plus miles to the job, if I get it. So can I take a gas expense (since it is sort of part of my disability (the noise issue of riding a bus vs. driving myself to work).

    Thanks..if you dare to answer this. 🙂 I wish everyone a good holiday.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Art,

      If you are paid weekly at $200 gross per week, then every third month, you will be paid $1,000. If you are paid $400 every other week, every sixth month, you will be paid $1,200. Your first month back to work will be your final trial work period month. After that, during the next thirty-six consecutive calendar months, you will be paid for each month in which you do not perform substantial gainful activity. If you work the same hours all the time, you might be able to argue that your earnings ability should be $200 x 52 weeks divided by 12 months with the result of $866 average per month. If you are successful in that argument, you will be paid all the thirty-six months. If you continue to work at that level after the thirty-six months and have not recovered medically, your benefits will continue. On the other hand, if you perform SGA after the thirty-six months, your entitlement to benefits will end, although your Medicare will continue.

      As far as claiming the difference in cost between taking the bus and driving as a disability work-related expense, you would likely need a statement from a physician on why this was necessary for you to drive to be able to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Joanne

    I was told I did not have to turn in her pay stubs to the social security administration because she is drawing off her father’s work experience. she is working part time and her hours vary. Will we be contacted by social security when she is close to the trial period or when she begins the trial period. this is all so confusing

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joanne,

      During the nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) which apparently your daughter has been granted, she does not have to provide proof of earnings because she is receiving Social Security (not Supplemental Security Income) and the TWP is a return-to-work incentive intended to let her get established working. Her benefits will continue in the full amount through the TWP. At the end of the TWP, she will enter into the thirty-six-consecutive-monthExtended Period of Eligibility (EPE). She should report her earnings any month that she grosses $1,090 or more because she will not be eligible for any benefits in those months. After the end of the thirty-six months, if she earns $1,090 her eligibility will terminate. You and she can read more about Social Security’s work incentives in the Red Book available at local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Joanne

    I have a question, my daughter receives SSDI I believe. she is 26 and draws off her father’s work experience.

  • Diana

    I am a payee for a dependent under 16. I now have a job making 500.00 per week. Will I have an overpayment now?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Diana,

      Assuming that the child is receiving Social Security dependent benefits, your income has no effect on the child’s benefits and does not have to be reported.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Anne

    Hi I have a question. My ex-husband had his ssdi reinstated in September. He is still waiting in decision but had dr appt with SS doctor for hearing test this week. He was born almost completely deaf. My question is once they make their decision will my daughter get backpay from September. Orjust start getting monthly benefit. She is 18 but does not graduate until next June.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anne,

      If your husband’s benefits are changed from provisional to a full reinstatement approval, your daughter should be paid back to the date the benefits stopped.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Meredith Renner

    So basically, if I recieve SSDI and make less than $780/month, I can do this without losing my benefits? Say like just a part time job?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Meredith,

      Yes, earnings below $780 do not count as Trial Work Period months, but you can typically earn less than $1,090 gross per month and continue to receive benefits. In calculating these figures, watch out for months with “extra” paydays.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • anna

    I’ve been on SSD for many years. I understand a lot of it. I suffer from severe panic attacks and can only work with a family member. My question is I have worked part time the last 3 years. 5000 the 1st year, and 11 thousand the 2nd and third year. I understand benefits going up only from cola. But I thought my ssd was based on my earnings because they had gone up years ago when I was working part time.

    My question. Doesn’t working and paying more into social security raise my benefits at some point? Last year i called ss and they said they look at it twice a year but i dont know the name of the process. But they have yet to raise my amount in the last 3 years other than cola. Is there any options? or am i wrong?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anna,

      The process you are referring to is the Automatic Earnings Reappraisal Operation (AERO), which analyzes whether a person previous year’s earnings are higher than the lowest year’s earnings already used in the benefit calculation. If the earnings are enough higher, the benefit will be increased. Only earnings on which Social Security taxes have been paid increase your benefits. Look at the W-2 or other tax document from your relative to be sure that Social Security taxes (FICA) were withheld and paid. If you got a 1099 and were self-employed, you would have to have paid the Social Security tax (self-employment tax) yourself.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dylan

    I’m 16 and my father draws from social security disability.. If I get a part time will it affect the check that I get from his disability? And will it affect my medical insurance?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dylan,

      You can earn up to $15,720 per year before having a reduction in your benefits. I can’t answer your question about medical insurance. I suggest that you and your father inquire with the health insurance company (or government office if you are getting Medicaid or other state-subsidized insurance) to see how much you can earn and keep your insurance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • bruce

    I currently a m collecting SSDI. I hold an elected position that pays $12,000 per year. I also get a constituent allowance of $1700 per year. Do I risk losing my SSDI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bruce,

      The $12,000 salary is working earnings at a rate of $1,000 a month. That amount of earnings will typically not cause you to lose your benefits because the earnings are not at the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level. If the $1,700 constituent allowance is considered earnings, your total earnings would be $1,141.66, about the SGA level of $1,090. If the constituent allowance is intended to reimburse costs related to the position and you can prove costs, it might not be counted as earnings. I suggest that you take any documentation that the government entity published that explains the constituent payment to Social Security with you when you report the work earnings.

      If your total earnings are above $1,090, benefits will continue through a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). You can learn more about TWPs and the additional work incentives that follow it in the Red Book, which is available at local Social Security offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mindy

    I have a question. My husband receives SSI which is $733 mthly, Now I’ve been thinking of getting a part-time job. Will it affect his SSI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mindy,

      Whether or not your work will affect your husband’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) depends on how much you earn and whether you have minor children in the household and, if so, how many. You can get an estimate my using the formula of the sample calculation in the article “What Are Deemed Income and Resources and How Do They Affect SSI Payment Amounts and Qualifying for SSI Disability?” under the SSI tab on the navigation bar of this website. You can also ask Social Security to work up a figure for you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mindy

        Thank you for your response. May God bless you

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Mindy, and thank you.

  • elexis

    If my son gets social security can I still make 1400 a month? I also have 3 kids and pay full bills

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elexis,

      If your son is receiving Social Security, not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your earnings do not affect his claim regardless how much you earn. If your child receives SSI and is under age eighteen, your earnings potentially could affect his benefits. However, with two other minor children and no income other than your $1,400 gross earnings, your son would still be eligible for SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • heather brown

    Hi. I was just sent the letter stating I was approved. I am wondering if you can be a student and even take a student loan out on ssdi. Also if I ever feel I can work part time can I do so?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      You can work part-time and receive Social Security Disability (SSDI). Social Security law includes some return-to-work incentives. I suggest that you read Social Security’s Red Book, which describes them. You can request a copy at your local office or view it online at http://www.ssa.gov. There is no prohibition to going to school or taking out a student loan. If you obtain a certificate or degree that would qualify you for more occupations than you are now qualified and, therefore, obtain the ability to work, you need to report that to Social Security.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lisa

    I receive disability for several mental diagnosis’. I have moments where I cope well and others when I don’t. I work part time to supplement my disability because I have two children. Does SS calculate by hours or earnings.? Basically what is the max I can earn a month or amount of hours I can work a month without it my disability being effected? It is retail and does fluctuate. I work two times the amount of hours during holiday season than I do the rest of the year. I’m afraid I’ll lose my disability if I make too much and won’t be able to pay my bills and take care of my children.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), typically you can earn up to $1,098 gross per month and not be considered to be performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you are not able to perform SGA, your benefits will continue in their full amount.; however, you do nedd to report your work activity and earnings.

      Earnings of $780 or more count toward a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits continue, usually no matter how much you make. After TWP, during a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Disability you will be paid for months in which you earn less than $1,099. You can learn more about these and Social Security’s other work incentives in the Red Book, which is available at your local Social Security office or at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Yvette

        Hello Kay,

        I couldn’t figure out how to post my question or concern other than replying to your reply.

        My son turned 19yrs old in September and was deemed eligible after turning 18 due to his physical impairment. So he wasn’t given a psychological evaluation. Though he is 19, he does not display common sense or ability to function as an adult on his own. He was approved for BVR program which assist those with disabilities with finding employment. He has been approved for ticket to work program but does not follow through with his worker. I know my income will affect his payments esp if Im making a fairly decent wage. Yet, I fear him not having an income to contribute to the cost if living or to support himself at some point and struggling to support him and my other child. It kind of keeps me in a box. Is there away for him to keep his ssi without my income affecting his payment? Currently I am his payee because he doesn’t display the ability to handle the responsibilities of taking care of himself. Thank you for any incite you can offer. Im just hoping I can find the response later. ywilburn98 @gmail.com.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Yvette,

          Now that your son is eighteen years old, your income does not affect your son’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Yvette

            Thank you for your response. God Bless.

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Yvette.

          • Mutt

            I receive around $1,400 a month on ssdi. Might have an opportunity to get $1000 plus the $1400 ssdi benefit. I’d possibly be getting the $1000 from renting out a room. Can I still get the $1400 a month plus the $1000 and not loose my benefits or have my $1400 a month amount lowered?
            .mutt

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Mutt,

              Renting a room will not affect your Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Carlton Thomas

    Hey, I’m 23 years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism) I’m high functioning so I seem like I don’t have it but I do. I just got my first job, I’m going through training. Ironically I got a letter in the mail from SSI asking for a review of my case, and threatened to cut me off if I didn’t respond or if they find me to be able to work again. I became scared and angry because I felt they we’re trying to take my money. But I’m confused because SSA said people on SSI can work if they do part-time, and make less than $1,090 a month which I will make about little bit higher than $700 a month. What do I do? I have a payee.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Carlton,

      The threshold for being considered disabled is $1,090 gross wages per month; however, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a public assistance program and payments are based on income and assets. The rules for earned income is that, if you have no other income, the first $85 dollars is not counted and only half of the excess is counted in determining your payment amount. For example, with $700 wages, only $307.50 would be countable income to reduce your SSI. If you have been getting the maximum federal SSI of $733, your SSI would drop to $425.50 and your work and SSI income together would be $1,125.50.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rose

    Hi,

    I am currently on disability for MS. I have times of extreme fatigue, feeling tingly and off balance and trouble concentrating. There are times when I feel that I could do a little work from home or locally that doesn’t involve taxing driving, standing etc, but it is very sporadic. I found a potential job that would allow me to do minimal hours on my own time as I feel well and it would bring in just a little added income, probably under $400 a month. That falls under the $780 per month that begins the 9 month trial. My question is if this income is allowed indefinitely with my full benefit since it is not eligible for the trial period at that low earning amount, or if it has to be reported and if it reduces the SS benefit. It just is not clear on what happens if you earn under $780. I see the first $65 that is subtracted and then half of the remainder is taken out of benefits, but I can’t find clearly if that is only if you are over $780 or if it is for any income regardless of the amount. I would appreciate the help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rose,

      If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) based on your earnings record and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you are either eligible for your full Social Security benefit or not eligible at all.

      You do need to report your work activity; however, you are right that $400 gross is low enough that work at that level does not use any of the trial work period months.(Trial Work Periods apply only to SSDI.) You could continue to work at that level indefinitely and receive full benefits if you have not improved so much medically that you are no longer disabled from being able to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which is usually $1,090 gross monthly.

      If you are receiving SSI, in addition to your work being evaluated for SGA, it also is used to calculate your benefit amount, which can change from month to month. SSI excludes the first $65 of work earnings ($85 if there’s no other income) and one half the excess is used to reduce the SSI benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • shajazz hill

    hi am 22 years old am adhd and have autism and i will be starting my first job soon never work before i don’t learn fast as other am a little slower then other but this will be my first job and just wanted to know what will social security do about my benefits i been getting benefits since i was 3 years old i still go to the doctor for my disability and still take medicine just want some advice

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shajazz,

      Congratulations on your first job. You need to report your new job to the Social Security Administration and give them an estimate of the gross wages that you will be earning per month. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your work earnings could cause a reduction in benefits beginning two months after you get your first paycheck and you need to submit your pay stubs money to document your earnings. If you are receiving Social Security disabled adult child benefits on your parent’s earnings record, your Social Security benefits will not be reduced because you are allowed a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). You can find out more about TWPs in Social Security’s Red Book, which you can request at a local Social Security office or read online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Chuck

    i have been on ssdi since 2007 for cognitive impairment from stroke. I got a ticket to work that I have never used. I am 61, and have not attempted any work. I was asked if I was interested in working at a military base bowling center as their mechanic on their lanes. I told them I would think about it, but I don’t want to mess up my SSDI and Medicare. I also get a small private disability and I don’t want to lose it either. What are my options?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Chuck,

      I suggest that you read your private insurance policy to see how the amount of work you are thinking of doing and the amount you would be earning would affect your private disability benefit. As far as Social Security goes, if you have not recovered medically, you are entitled to a Trial Work Period (TWP) and an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). Benefits will continue during the nine-month TWP and, if you do not perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), in the thirty-six month EPE. (Currently, $1,090 gross wages is usually considered SGA.) You can learn more about Social Security’s work incentives in the Red Book, which you can get from a local Social Security office or view online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Blue

    I’m a student Full time with SSI and Disability. I’ve been offered federal work study. Will thisthis interfere with my benefits and what would I need to do to prevent that.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Blue,

      If by “disability” you mean Social Security Disability or disabled adult child Social Security benefits, those benefits will not be affected by work study if your earnings are less than $780 per month. If they are $780 or more each month will count as one of the nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits continue unchanged. If after nine TWP months, your earnings are $1,090 per month, you will receive no benefits for that month.

      Some work study earnings are excluded from income in determining Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amounts and some are not. If the federal statute that established the work-study program includes a provision that excludes work-study income from being counted for SSI, it will not count. I suggest that you check with the work study program to find out whether their program is excluded and/or take the exact identifying information (law or statute number) to the Social Security Administration to get a determination. If you are under age twenty-two, even if the work study earnings count, you can earn $1,780 gross in any month with a yearly limit of $7,180 in a year before SSI benefits are reduced or stopped. For SSI, you can also shelter income by developing a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS). You can learn more about Social Security and SSI work incentives in the Red Book, which can be found online at http://www.ssa.gov or at a local Social Security office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • JULIE

    Is it true that people who are on SSI can”t have their benefits , or any part of them garnished for court ordered child supprt?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Julie,

      It is correct that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cannot be garnished for child support. The reason is that the benefit paid is low, at a subsistence level and, if garnished, would not provide basic support.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lovely

    Im currently filling for Disability but dont have to support to substain living its either get a part time or live at the salvation army my question is im currently waiting to see the judge if i get a part time job will my case be denied?

    • Lovely

      The support…… sorry

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lovely,

      Usually earnings below $1,090 gross will not affect your claim; however, any work could be looked at to determine whether you could be working more. If you have an attorney, follow your attorney’s advice. also, you can file a statement of dire need with the hearing office explaining that you are about to become homeless and request expedited hearing date and decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • irene

    I turn 61 and current on just ssi . when can I start appying for social
    Security?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Irene,

      You can apply for reduced retirement benefits three months before your sixty-second birthday. I am not sure that you are required to apply because you are getting SSI. If not, you may want to check to be sure that your reduced retirement benefit is more than your SSI. If it is not and SSI does not require you to apply, it could be to your advantage to wait until your full retirement age, when the unreduced benefit could be more than SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • confused

    My son was approved for SSI. My husband works fulltime and I have been sending his paystubds every month. I received a letter from S.S. They estimated my husband wages really high and now the letter is reading 0 for month December & January. Will I receive a new letter once S.S receives my husbands paystubs? Also will they do back paysince S.S estimated high for these months? Thank you I am still confuse on how SSI does things.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Confused,

      Your son’s SSI will be recalculated based on your husband’s actual earnings and any adjustment will be paid. In the meantime, you can contact Social Security and ask them to change the estimates because they are too high. (It is good to estimate a little high to avoid overpayments.) Something to consider: does your husband get an “extra” paycheck in December due to weekly or biweekly pay cycles?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dawn

    Hi! I have PTSD and was approved for SSDI. Weird thing was that I did not “feel” disabled and thought the examiners etc knew I had been through a lot and were having some mercy on me. More recently, I’ve come to realize that overall, I have extremely good coping skills, in general, and my intelligence also helps me. Unfortunately, those traits also cause me grief, as I often “cope” for longer than is good for me and it is easier for me to keep the problems hidden until I “crash and burn”, overwhelmed by on-going and fairly severe anxieties and stresses.

    In past, I was participating in VR/Ticket to Work. I have a hard time being around people at times (anxiety/triggering) and applied for many types of full-time employment (before the economy crashed). I talked with the VR counselor about activities that might help me tolerate more and sustained personal contact with co-workers. Unfortunately, I was “blown off” and never received any follow up.

    I found a couple part time jobs that I really enjoyed, overall, but working those required that I travel from job site to job site daily; some days, depending on how many assignments I accepted, I might travel between sites 3-4 times. Not a great deal of mileage, but it obviously adds up.

    I was never given any real information about “work related expenses” and most of what I have located relates to physical impairment more so than mental/emotional. I also located some on “using personal transportation” when public is available; it’s a bit confusing, to say the least. I am able to drive and do so as public transportation would make the sort of work that has enabled me to work nearly full-time again impossible.

    I was required to pay back about $3000 of my benefits due to “earning too much”. I did go into the office to speak with a SSA representative, requesting reconsideration, but I was told that if I worked one more month at the level I had been, I would lose my benefits. When I informed the representative that I had set up a way to work that allowed me to have one part time job that was consistent and one that allowed me to take more work as my condition “cooperated” and therefore, traveled between sites, I was told that I could not use that as a basis for it being considered a “work related expense”. Reading what material I’ve been able to find, it seems either a bit uncertain, or like I should be able to do so

    I’d like to get back to work at something meaningful and satisfying. Are there good resources or is there a way to get a work related expense approved ahead of time for a condition such as PTSD? I also read of a case similar to mine, where a person was making too much and expected to pay back, as in my own case, the person was accepting/doing more work when their condition permitted, so there overall earning level was close to the mark, but some months they were able to earn little; the outcome was that the earnings were “averaged”. Averaging the earnings allowed that person to keep what they had made rather than forced to pay back/be taken off disability. I try to do my best; since my condition is based in anxiety, having unclear rules about expenses and earnings makes me think that it isn’t worth it to try, especially when my reading of rules makes it seem that the rules are open to interpretation. Is there someone I can check with before and have something in writing that incorporates facts about my condition, as relates to work expenses or income? Thanks for any guidance!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dawn,

      I assume from your reference to a Ticket to Work that you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI). My response is based on that assumption. If you have completed the nine-month Trial Work Period, the base rule is that in the following thirty-six consecutive calendar months, which is called the Extended Period of Disability, benefits are paid only for months in which your earnings are below substantial gainful activity (SGA). After those thirty-six months, benefits are terminated the first month you preform SGA. To get benefits again, you would have to file a new application and get a new medical determination of disability.

      As far as claiming work expenses to reduce earnings and averaging earnings to determine whether your work earnings are SGA, when you read Social Security’s publications–whether a brochure of Social Security’s POMS (Programs Operational Manual System) be sure that the rules you are reading apply during the Extended Period of Disability. If you find written information that supports your claiming the cost of travel between jobs sites in a single day or averaging your earnings, copy the documents and present them to Social Security. If your benefits are stopped, you can appeal. If you do and are denied, appeal a second time to get a hearing. If you can get an attorney to help you interpret the law and to help with your appeal, it could beneficial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Nona

    I should add, I was denied initial and recon. I’m awaiting hearing and I do have an attorney.

  • Nona

    Hello Kay,

    Here’s my issue. I was involved in a car accident in Aug 12, continued to work until Feb 13 until it was obvious that I could no longer stand on my feet without excruciating pain. Filed for SSDI and SSI in June. Had no money, went back to work 16 hours a week for 3 months (july-sept) far below limit. I just couldn’t do it.

    The dilemma is the work from September 12 to February 13 was above the $1010 per month limit BUT before I filed. So how does that work?

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nona,

      If you did not already state so on your application, be sure that Social Security knows that your three months of work was an unsuccessful work attempt, that is, that you had to stop work because of the same condition that caused you to cease work in August. If they accept that it was an unsuccessful work attempt, you could be approved based on the original August cease work date. (If you did not claim August 2013 as your disability date and claimed September 2014, correct the error in writing.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Beatrice

    I am 60 yrs old and have bipolar disorder I applied for Social Security disability in 2013 and was turned down, at the time I worked 20 hrs a week to help pay for my medication and medical bills. I filed an appeal and I’m waiting for a hearing with the Social Security disability Adjudicator. I am now working 5 days every quarter will this affect my ability to get Social Security disability?
    Thank You

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Beatrice,

      In any months that you earned less than $1,070 gross per month and could not work and earn more, your work activity should not affect your Social Security Disability claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Robert

    My dad was diagnosed in July, 2014 with Parkinson’s. He’s applied for SSDI and was just told that he’s approved, but they said he doesn’t get back pay and 1st payment doesn’t start until February, 2015, for a 5 month waiting period. What can he do, he needs the income badly.

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robert,

      If your father has not already applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability and he has no other or little other income and his countable assets are below $2,000, then he will be eligible for SSI and could receive that during the five-month waiting period. Note that several kinds of assets are not countable for SSI, for example, a home that your father lives in, one vehicle, and certain life insurance policies. Application can be made at a Social Security office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Bootsie

    I’m a 60 woman how is on social security disability. I’ve been receiving disability for about 14 years in the amount of 726.00 a month after medical. I thinking about going back to work part time taking phone call for a apartment mrg. company, 2 wks a month.
    We need the money but I can not afford loss my disability or medical. If I make more money working will I loss everything and can I refile or reopen my disability at any time? How much can I make a month with out losing any money from my disability checks? Please email me back.
    Thanks you,

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bootsie,

      In any month you are eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) you will receive the full amount. No partial payments are made. If your earnings are not substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is usually defined as less than $1,070 gross per month, your Social Security will not be affected. If you have not previously had a Trial Work Period (TWP) and you have not recovered medically from your disability, you can earn more $1,070 during a nine-month TWP and still receive your benefits. After the Trial Work Period, there is a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Disability during which you will be paid for any months you are under $1,070. After that benefits stop with the first month you are performing SGA. If you continue working after that and stop work due to your disability within five years, you can request Expedited Reinstatement, which requires a medical review to see if you are still disabled. After five years, you have to file a new claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I didn’t receive my June check after I went to disability. And did my recertification. She said she had all my info she needed and I’d receive a June check. Well I never received my check on the 1st so I called and spoke to the case worker at the ss office. And she explained said needed my husband’s pay stubs for the 11 months he’s been working and proof of cs from my ex husband who just recently got released from prison

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sissy,

      Do you have a questions?

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Eddie

        Hi. I have a question!
        I am on SS Disability.
        Times are tough,
        I am coordinating repair surgery thru the VA (which is a nightmare in itself) from the original ACDF failed surgery.
        My question two fold.
        1. I am forced to supplement SSD income, do I apply for employment first or do I sign up for the first phase of ticket to work?
        2. Would you recommend waiting on looking for employment which sideline for a while before the repair surgery (when ever that is VA)?

        Thank you
        Eddie B.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Eddie,

          I recommend requesting a Social Security Ticket to Work and then start looking for jobs. You can request the Ticket to Work before the surgery as the Ticket does not expire. With regard to trying to start work before your surgery, if you think the surgery will be in the next three months, you might want to wait to apply for jobs until your recover.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

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