A common question many ask once they have been awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is if they can work (or try to go back to work) while still receiving their benefits. The simple answer is yes, it is possible to for a person to work while still receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, it is crucial to note that there are very strict limits to working while receiving benefits. Your gross income earnings cannot exceed certain limitations. First, the limit often times looked at is what Social Security refers to as “Substantial Gainful Employment” (SGA). SGA for the year 2022 is currently $1,350 gross a month. If your income exceeds SGA, then you cannot collect disability benefits. There are some exceptions to this including participating in one of Social Security’s programs which aim at helping those who are receiving SSDI benefits transition back into the workforce without sacrificing their benefits. Those participating in these types of programs may still receive their benefits even if they are earning over SGA limits.
Additionally, despite the SGA limitation often used, a person who is receiving benefits and starts earning $970 gross a month will trigger what is called a “trial work period.” During a trial work period, a person receiving benefits may test their ability to work and still be considered disabled. Essentially, you are entitled to one 9-month trial work period without risking your SSDI benefits during a 60-month (5 year) period. During your trial work period, you will receive full SSDI benefits no matter what you earn. There is no limit to the amount of income you can earning during the trial work period. Overall, the trial work period continues until you accumulate 9 trial work period months total. It is important to note that these months do NOT have to be consecutive. Instead, they must just take place within the 60-month (5 year) rolling period allowed. Therefore, it is extremely important for a person receiving SSDI to carefully keep track of any work earnings while receiving SSDI benefits.