Income Limits on Social Security Disability

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Income Limits on Social Security Disability


Matt Sauerwald is a leading advocate for the disabled. For more than 10 years, he’s worked on behalf of people who are disabled and can no longer work. Matt has represented thousands of people seeking disability benefits and knows how confusing and stressful the process can be.

Here, Matt sets the record straight on earning money while on Social Security disability.

Earnings on SSDI v. Qualifying for SSDI

One significant point of confusion regarding income limits for Social Security disability is the difference between income limits for initial eligibility for social security disability benefits and how income is treated for SSDI recipients. The income limit for the initial determination is simple: in 2023, the cut-off is $1,470/month in gross income (before taxes are withheld). That number is increased to $2,460/month for legally blind applicants. 

This number, known as the substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount, is updated annually. Note, however, that only income earned from work or self-employment counts.  

The income limits while receiving social security disability are a bit more complicated. 

Income While on Social Security Disability

Continued eligibility for social security disability is not determined by a single month’s income, nor by an average of monthly income. Instead, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows disability recipients up to nine “trial work periods” within a five-year period. In 2023, any month in which the SSDI recipient earns more than $1,050 through work counts as a trial month. In trial months, it doesn’t matter how much the recipient earns. Whether it’s $1,051 or $6,000, it counts as one trial month. In other words, there is no hard limit on income in trial work months, and the SSDI recipient continues to receive full benefits. 

When they complete nine trial work periods in five years, the recipient enters a transitional period. This period is known as the extended period of eligibility (EPE). During this period, the recipient will still receive monthly benefits, as long as their income doesn’t rise to the level of SGA. If earnings from work hit that limit at any time during the EPE, the recipient will no longer be considered disabled. However, they will receive benefits for the subsequent two months. And, if income drops below the SGA threshold before the 36-month EPE has expired, benefits can be reinstated without a new application. 

Applying for and Maintaining SSDI Can Be Complicated

The differing income limits, trial periods, and transitional requirements above can be complex, and they represent just one area of possible confusion in a complicated process. Matt and his team understand how overwhelming it can be, and how important it is that you have knowledgeable guidance, and they’re here to help. Call Disability Help Group today at 800-800-3332 or contact our team here.

Matthew Sauerwald has been a dedicated advocate for the disabled since 2010. He has represented thousands of claimants applying for or appealing denial of Social Security disability or VA disability benefits. Currently, Matt leads Disability Help Group, one of the most successful disability advocacy organizations in the United States.

"Thank you so very much for assisting me in my VA claim. Your company helped me to receive my VA benefits and to maximize them. I could not have done this without your help. Your company stepped in and fought on my behalf, and it was well worth the process. Words cannot express how grateful I am for all your company has done for me."
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How Can I Get TDIU?

How Can I Get TDIU?

Many veterans are unable to earn a living because of service-connected disabilities. Congress created a special benefit called TDIU to help these veterans live comfortably. Also known as Unemployability. TDIU pays the same monthly amount as a 100% disability rating.