Once you are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, there are many rules to be followed. You can lose your benefits much faster than the amount of time it took to get them if you don't follow the rules. Understanding the way the Social Security Administration (SSA) views your income is vital so that you won't run afoul of them, so read on to learn more.
Income From Work
The way the SSA views the situation, if you are able enough to work at a job, you don't need SSDI benefits. On the other hand, what you receive in the form of SSDI benefits is seldom enough to live on. The SSA allows people to do certain types of work and to earn up to a certain amount of money each month. The work you do should not be similar to the type of work you became too disabled to do. The SSA refers to the work that you are able to do as substantial gainful activity (SGA).
For 2019, you can earn up to $1,220 ($2,040 for the blind). You may also participate in special SSA programs that allow you to earn more for temporary periods of time. No matter how you earn money, however, you must report your earnings to the SSA each month. Failing to do so can cause you to lose your benefits. You should also know that if you do earn money from a job, the entire amount of income you earn might not count toward the limit. All expenses that are directly related to your disability and that promote or add convenience to doing so are exempt. Here are a few examples of a disability-related expenses that are not counted:
- You pay a transportation company to pick you up and take you home from work.
- You pay a caregiver to help you get dressed for a job.
- You pay for special equipment needed to travel in your vehicle.
- You pay for special accommodations for your job, such as a special desk or chair at work.
Other Sources of Income
While the SSA carefully monitors your income, not each and every penny coming to you has to be reported or affects your SSDI benefits. The following forms of income is not affected by SSDI and no caps are placed on the amounts earned:
- What your spouse earns.
- Gambling winnings (including lottery winnings).
- Income from rental properties.
- Gifts provided to you in cash form.
- Interest from savings accounts, retirement accounts, stock and bonds, and other investments.
If you have attempted to follow the rules but now find yourself without your needed benefits, speak to a Social Security lawyer at once.