How many hours can I work while benefiting from Social Security Invalidity (SSDI)?

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial assistance to people who are disabled, unable to work or earn sufficient income. The program pays benefits to the claimant and, in some cases, to family members, provided they are “insured”.

The “insured” status is calculated based on the individual’s income historyrequiring people to have contributed a certain amount to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in their lifetime.

To be eligible for support, recipients may not have income above a certain level, but this threshold is a monthly wage rate, not a number of hours. In 2022, this limit is $1,350 per monthWhere $2,260 for blind people. This figure is known as the Substantial Paid Activity (SGA) limit.

What is an SGA?

SSA disability benefits are designed to provide support to individuals and their families who would otherwise be unable to support themselves. Anyone with an income considered sufficient without the aid will not be able to receive it.

Each year the SGA figure is updated to reflect the economic situationwith different entitlements for blind and non-blind beneficiaries, due to the additional expenses the former group is likely to face.

When introduced in 1975, the figure was $200, for both blind and non-blind beneficiaries. The differentiation came three years later, in 1978, when blind people with disabilities received an SGA of $334, down from $260.

Can I do a trial work period without it affecting my SSDI rights?

Although SSDI does not have a maximum duration, like some unemployment benefit programs, it is hoped that the recipient might be well enough to return to work in the future.

If someone wishes to attempt a return to the workplace, SSA will allow for a trial period of work during which the beneficiary can earn income from work while continuing to receive SSDI benefits.

The SSA explains: “During a work trial period, a recipient receiving Social Security disability benefits based on his or her own earnings history may test their ability to work and still be considered disabled.”

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