Social Security Disability is meant to provide financial support to those who are incapable of working and making a living due to a disabling condition or illness. However, even with disability benefits, many beneficiaries could also benefit from an extra source of income through a part-time job. But the Social Security system is notoriously strict, so a common question people have is: Can you work part time on Social Security Disability?
Learn more about the rules surrounding disability benefits in Oklahoma City and how a part-time job may affect your benefits.
Understanding the Substantial Gainful Activity Limitations
The short answer is yes. You can work part time while on Social Security Disability. You just have to make sure your income doesn’t exceed the limitations for substantial gainful activity, or SGA. The SGA amount is a set maximum monthly wage that helps the Social Security Administration (SSA) determine whether or not your disability prevents you from earning a living. Essentially, if you exceed this limit, they may think you don’t need disability benefits anymore.
While the SGA limit for 2020 is $1,260, SS disability beneficiaries who make a gross income of $910 a month will trigger what’s known as a “trial work month.” It’s not impossible to work part-time while receiving Social Security disability benefits, but it’s important to keep in mind that the rules surrounding disability claims and work activity are extremely complicated. For this reason, the vast majority of people choose not to work while getting benefits, so they can avoid overpayments that can jeopardize their benefits.
Exceptions to SGA
Fortunately, there are exceptions to SGA that will allow you to earn more money while still receiving your disability benefits. This can be done by participating in work incentives. These are special programs that allow disability recipients to transition back into the workforce. The best time to attempt one of these programs will vary based on conditions unique to each case.
These programs come in many forms. For example, you may be able to receive disability payments by participating in a vocational rehabilitation program. This is for recipients who medically recover and go back to work but still receive payments to help them become self-supporting.
Additionally, you will be automatically placed into a trial work period, which allows you to attempt to go back to work for a nine-month period while still being considered disabled, if you earn more than $910 in a given month from work activity. The nine months don’t have to be consecutive as long as they’re completed within a 60-month period.
Impairment-Related Work Expenses
It’s also important to consider impairment-related work expenses, or IRWE. When a disabled person goes to work a part-time job of some kind, it’s possible that the value of the work they produce isn’t actually equal to the amount they’re being paid. During these instances, those impairment-related work expenses would be deducted from your pay, such as needing more supervision, needing more time to complete tasks, and completing less work overall compared to other workers at the same pay level.
IRWE is a factor when considering whether your pay exceeds the SGA. For example, you may be making more than $1,260 a month in terms of base pay but less once the IRWE are deducted. While this means you’re getting less pay from your part-time job, you do get to keep receiving Social Security Disability benefits, leading to more income overall.
Need Help Understanding Your Benefits? The Wolf Pack™ Has Your Back!
Can you work part time on Social Security Disability? Does my part-time job exceed the SGA limit? How do I start my trial work period? From the start of the application process for disability benefits to long after you’ve been approved, there are many difficult questions you may have.
If you need help applying or appealing for SSDI or SSI benefits, The Wolf Pack™ at Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys has your back! Serving disabled individuals and their families in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ardmore, and surrounding communities, our experienced disability attorneys will do everything in our power to help you get approved for the benefits you deserve. We know the ins and outs of the Social Security system and will answer any questions you may have about your benefits.