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Working & Social Security Disability Income Q&A

One of the most frequently asked questions surrounding working and Social Security Disability Income, is how much can someone work/earn without disrupting their SSDI benefits?

After a recent Triage Cancer Webinar, an attendee asked this question:

“After listening to the webinar this afternoon I wanted to ask a question in regards to income outside of SSDI. I am currently receiving SSDI benefits but am in need of supplemental income as my LTD benefits have been stopped. Are you able to tell me how would starting a home based business such as an Independent Consultant affect my disability benefits?”

Here’s our response:

If you have been receiving SSDI benefits and are thinking about trying to go back to work, it is important to understand the rules, so that you don’t lose access to your cash benefits, or your Medicare coverage, if you have access to Medicare through SSDI.

For 2019, the maximum an individual can earn is $1,220 per month, or $2,040 if you’re blind, and still be eligible for SSDI benefits. If you earn more than those stated amounts, you will need to report those changes. Under this rule however, they also take into consideration any expenses you might have incurred while working, which could lower your recorded monthly “earnings” even if you technically made more. For example, “some of your work expenses may include the costs of items or services you need to work, but that are also useful

in your daily living. Examples include copayments for prescriptions, counseling services, transportation to and from work (under certain conditions), a personal attendant or job coach, a wheelchair, or any specialized work equipment.” You can read more about the specifics of how your earnings affect your social security survivor benefits here.

If you start working, such as starting a home-based business, the Security Administration states:

“If you receive Social Security because of a disability, you or your representative must tell us right away if:

  • You start or stop work;
  • You reported your work, but your duties, hours, or pay change; or
  • You start paying expenses for work because of your disability.”

Do you know someone who could benefit from hearing this information too? Be sure to share this blog and follow us on social media for more valuable resources!

If you have a question, feel free ask us on our Facebook or Twitter page or tune into our next cancer webinar!

Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org