Can I Work While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?

Jan 12, 2016 | Sara Khaki

We often find that many of our clients really struggle with the feeling that they have lost their productivity and ability to earn an income while being on disability. Most people have worked their entire lives and to find they can no longer do so is emotionally challenging and draining. They want to work, but their disabilities have drastically affected what they can do. Many feel that they can work some and often ask us if they can work part time while receiving benefits.

We are not one to discourage people from working. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does allow claimants to work part time hours and earn up to $1,130/month (this is the limit set for non-blind individuals for the year of 2016). However, there are several factors claimants should consider before working part time. First and foremost, it’s important to really consider your health and the toll working may take on you. It’s hard to believe we cannot do something that we were once able to do so easily, and it’s even harder to accept. However, your health is what is most important. Second, the SSA has very strict rules and guidelines, and it’s important to be familiar with them before starting a part time position.

If you earn more than $1,130/month while receiving benefits within the year of 2016, you will be disqualified from receiving Social Security Disability (this amount adjusts each year as the cost of living adjusts with inflation). In addition, the SSA will require you to reimburse them for the month(s) you made too much money. They will red flag your benefits for a case review once they see earned income coming in. You also have to be careful about the type of part time work you engage in. For instance, if an individual is doing part time work that requires quite a bit of physical exertion, then the SSA will question if that individual can perhaps do a less physically demanding job at a full time rate.

These are just a few points on how working can affect your disability benefits. Because there are many parameters and caveats, we encourage all our clients to contact our firm prior to engaging in any sort of work either during the disability application process or once they have been awarded disability benefits.  You can visit this the SSA website for more information.

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