If you receive Social Security disability benefits in Pennsylvania, you may struggle to make ends meet. You might wonder whether you are allowed to work and to still receive your SSDI benefits. In general, people who receive SSDI are not able to do anything that the Social Security Administration determines to be substantially gainful activity. This means that you cannot make more than $1,220 per month from employment. If you are blind, you cannot make more than $2,440 per month from work. However, there are some exceptions that may apply. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can review your situation and help you to understand whether you can work and how much you can earn.
The trial work period
The Social Security Administration allows people who receive disability benefits to earn more than the SGA limit for a trial work period of up to nine months. During the trial period, you are allowed to try returning to the workforce and earning an income while also receiving your full SSDI benefits. A month in which you earn more than $880 is considered to be a trial work month. If you are self-employed, any month in which you work in excess of 80 hours will be counted as a trial work month regardless of your income. The trial period will continue until you have completed nine trial work months in a five-year period.
What happens after your trial work month is over?
When you have completed nine trial work months, your benefits will not immediately end. Instead, you will be able to receive SSDI benefits for any month in which your earnings do not meet the SGA level. This extended eligiblity period lasts for 36 months after your nine-month trial work period is over. If your benefits do end because your income exceeds the SGA, you will have five years to reinstate them.
Offsetting your earnings
The Social Security Administration allows you to offset your earnings with the disability-related expenses that you have to pay. Examples of these types of expenses might include counseling that you need or special transportation costs.
If you receive SSDI, you must notify the Social Security Administration of the following:
- Start and end dates for all jobs
- Changes in pay, hours worked, and duties
- Any work-related disability expenses
Get help from the experienced lawyers at Swartz Swidler
If you are disabled but would like to try returning to work, it is important that you understand the trial work period and the impact your earnings might have on your disability benefits. Contact the attorneys at Swartz Swidler to schedule a consultation so that you can learn about working while you receive SSDI benefits.