How much can I earn and still receive Disability benefits?

Answer: The Social Security Administration has programs to help disabled people return to work. Naturally, the Federal government would prefer to pay less money in individual disability benefits, so it has set up the following work programs to help:

1. Social Security rules allow people receiving Social Security disability (SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments. These work incentives include:

  • Continued cash benefits for a time while you work;
  • Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and
  • Help with education, training and rehabilitation to start a new line of work.

The Social Security Administration’s rules are different depending on whether you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

SSI— SSI ­payments are made to people age 65, blind or disabled and have little income or resources. If you are disabled want to work despite your disability, you may work and continue to receive payments until your earnings, added with any other income, exceed the SSI income ­limits. Even if your SSI payments stop, your Medi-Cal coverage usually will continue if your earnings are less than California’s income allowance level (This amount is constantly changing so feel free to contact your local SSA office to find out the precise amount).

If Social Security stopped your monthly benefit payments due to your working and you have stopped working due to your medical condition, you should contact Social Security for an Expedited reinstatement. You will be reinstated without having to file a new ­disability application if you make this request within five years after the month your benefits stopped.

Your earnings will affect your SSI payments

Because SSI is a supplemental income benefit, the amount of your SSI payment is based on how much other income you have. When your other income goes up, your SSI payments go down. So when you earn more than the SSI limit, your payments will stop for those months. But, your payments will automatically start again for any month your income drops to less than the SSI limits. Therefore it is very important that you contact your local California SSA office. If you want the direct line to offices in San Diego County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, or Imperial County just contact Jorgensen Law at 888-855-2948 and we can provide you with that information.

If your only income besides SSI is the money you make from your job, then we do not count the first $85 of your monthly earnings. We deduct from your SSI payments 50 cents of every dollar you earn after the $85 deduction.

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