But there are limitations in the amount of money you can earn each month. Plus, you need to understand whether you qualify for SSDI or SSI or both. Further, you need to understand the term "Substantial Gainful Activity."
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI):
This is the disability program you pay into when you pay your FICA taxes. If you have enough work credits and the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines you are disabled, then you will receive these benefits. You can earn up to $1,170.00 gross per month (and $1,950.00 if you are blind) and still receive benefits. If you gross over this amount in any given month, you will be engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity, and then you run the risk of your benefits being terminated. Best bet, stay below SGA levels and always look at the "gross" amount of your check (before taxes) and not the amount you actually cash.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
SSI is the same, and yet it is different. First, if you do go above SGA levels your benefits will be suspended or terminated the same as SSDI. But you also have another income level to take into consideration as well, not just for you, but your household income as well.
SSI pays a total of $735.00 per month to an individual. If you have income that exceeds this amount, you will not receive any money even though you are considered disabled. Further, your household income can be taken into consideration if you are married. Income, for the purposes of SSI, is not only considered a check you would receive for working, but also many other in-kind gifts such as help with rent, food, etc. When you can only qualify for SSI, these other things will be taken into consideration. The reason? -Essentially, you did not earn this type of benefit like you do with SSDI. It's welfare, and the government doesn't like just handing money out to its citizens even if you are disabled.
So, what's the best way to go? If you are applying for disability or you are currently on disability, talk to a Social Security disability attorney. If you are above these levels and you are receiving benefits, the government could send you a letter telling you how much you owe them. There are many people out there who owe the Social Security Administration $30,000.00 or more because they were earning above SGA levels while still receiving benefits. Don't be one of them.
We help claimants fighting for their disability benefits throughout Texas and California. Please always feel free to call us at: (888) 780-9125.