Ah! This is an excellent question. And the answer is a bit nuanced.
SSDI and SSI are not the same, as we have discussed previously.
Working While Received Disability Benefits
People who receive SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, generally cannot work and continue to receive their disability benefits. SGA, or “substantial gainful activity,” is incurred if you are making more than $14,640 per year (or more than $24,480 per year if you are blind).
You cannot earn this amount or more for a nine-month “trial work period” if you are receiving SSDI benefits. That figure amounts to $1,220 per month, or approximately $284 per week. If you earn more than this amount, and it goes beyond your trial work period, you will most likely lose your benefits.
In 2019, the SSA looks at any month in which you earned more than $880 to be a trial work month. If you’re self-employed, any month in which you work more than 80 hours amounts to a trial work month.
For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it is different. You can work and receive SSI benefits, but your monthly benefit amount will decrease in proportion to the income you have coming in.
The income limit for SSI, and the federal benefit amount, is $771 in 2019. The SSA lowers your benefit payout, by the amount of your income. The first $85 you earn is not included in what the SSI reduces, if this job is your only source of income.
For questions on the subject, as well as on the SSI work incentives, we recommend that you contact us.