If you’re living with a disability and would like to get benefits to help support yourself, then you may ask if you can still work while receiving Social Security Disability (SSD).
The short answer is, “It depends.”
Are you performing any substantial gainful activity?
The point of SSD is to provide those who cannot work at all or those who cannot perform any substantial gainful activity (SGA) with a financial safety net. Social Security defines “substantial gainful activity” as gross wages of $1310 or more in a month in 2021.
If you earn less than that amount per month, you may still qualify for disability benefits despite your work activity. You would need to show that you’re not capable of earning more due to your disability, however, even if the work is available to you. If your income is merely limited by economic conditions in your area or your inability to find a better-paying job, you would not qualify for benefits.
Can you return to work once you win SSD benefits?
The Social Security Administration does offer work incentives. It allows people to go through trial work periods to test their ability to return to work for at least nine months without fear of losing their benefits. That’s followed by an extended period of eligibility where you can easily resume payments if your income falls below the monthly SGA amounts.
Filing for Social Security Disability is scary, but it’s an important safety net that’s designed to help when a serious condition prevents you from being productive. If you’re thinking about filing for benefits, an experienced advocate can help you learn more.