What Income Affects Social Security Disability Benefits?

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you must report your income and its sources. Once you are approved to receive benefits, the obligation to keep the Social Security Administration informed about changes in the amounts or sources of income that you receive.

How income affects Social Security disability depends on the disability program through which you receive benefits. Income affects people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits differently than people whose benefits come through the Supplemental Security Income program.

Another thing to keep in mind as you learn about income and how it affects Social Security disability is that the Social Security Administration regulations divide income into two separate categories: earned income and unearned income. Here to enhance your understanding of income types and eligibility guidelines that apply to them is some general information about them. Information about your disability benefits and income reporting requirements can always be obtained from an SSD advocate at London Eligibility.

Types Of Income For SSI And SSDI

There are generally two types of income for purposes of the Social Security disability programs. Earned income is, as its name implies, income that you receive in exchange for work performed through employment, self-employment, or a combination of both. It also includes royalty payments you might receive as an author, honoraria paid to guest speakers, and payments in connection with a sheltered workshop.

Income that is not derived from work you perform for others is classified as unearned. Unearned income includes the following:

A). Social Security benefits.

B). Pension payments.

C). Disability payments through a state-administered plan.

D). Unemployment benefits.

E). Interest and dividends from investments or bank deposits.

The SSI program includes as “unearned income”, money that is given to you by friends and relatives out of generosity rather than in return for work you performed for them. SSI guidelines treat the value of food and lodging given to you by other people without charge or at below fair market value as in-kind income.

What Income Affects Eligibility For SSI?

Your income and resources must be limited to qualify to receive SSI benefits. Social Security regulations do not, however, count all income when determining eligibility for the program. For example, you may exclude the first $20 a month of earned or unearned income and the first $65 of earned income. Also excludable is one-half of your monthly earnings over the first $65. You also may exclude the following income:

1). Tax refunds.

2). Food stamps.

3). Education grants and scholarships that are used to pay tuition or educational expenses.

4). Food or shelter provided by nonprofit agencies based on need.

If you attend school and are younger than 22 years of age, you may qualify to exclude as much as $1,930 of earned income each month up to a yearly maximum of $7,770 for 2021. Your SSI advocate at London Eligibility should be consulted about the requirements you must meet to take advantage of the student earned income exclusion.

Income And SSDI

You qualify for SSDI by being disabled and meeting the nonmedical requirement of having a work record. Eligibility is based on having worked long enough through employment or self-employment and paid Social Security taxes on the income that you earned to be entitled to benefits.

Unlike SSI, which as a needs-based program imposes income limits, the amount of income derived from sources other than working generally does not affect eligibility for SSDI. Income earned from work may affect your ability to qualify for or continue to receive SSDI depending upon how much money you earn during the month.

Social Security uses the ability to engage in substantial gainful activity, commonly referred to as “SGA,” to determine whether you are disabled under SSDI guidelines. If you are unable to work because of being blind, monthly income from work that exceeds $2,190 proves that you are capable of engaging in SGA. The SGA amount for someone with a disability other than blindness is $1,310 for 2021.

If working while collecting SSDI, you should discuss rules about work income with an SSDI advocate at London Eligibility because you may be entitled to offset expenses you incur due to your disability to be able to work. Examples include the cost of a wheelchair, transportation, medications, or medical devices.

To encourage people who receive Social Security disability benefits to return to work, the SSA offers a trial work period. SSDI recipients may return to work to test whether a medical condition allows them to work without the income affecting their benefits. Money earned during the trial period does not affect your monthly benefits regardless of how much you earn. Ask your SSDI advocate for additional information.

Learn More From A Social Security Disability Advocate

When you need assistance with applying for benefits or appealing an adverse decision, a disability advocate at London Eligibility has the knowledge and experience to provide it. Contact them today for a free consultation.