If you have a qualifying medical condition, you may be able to receive monthly monetary payments from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. This program uses strict guidelines to access an applicant's inability to work at their job because of a qualified medical condition, and it is not easy to get approved for the benefits. Once you are approved for SSDI, you will face another hurdle: you must keep your income below a certain amount each month if you want to continue to get benefits. Read on to learn more about the income requirements for the SSDI program.
Don't get confused about two similar programs.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two different programs for those who suffer from a disabling medical condition: SSDI and the Supplemental Security Disability (SSI) program. SSI is aimed at those who have not worked enough to earn any SSDI benefits, but they must own very little property. SSDI is based on work and money earned in the past, but your property ownership is not part of the qualification. Your income, once you are approved however, is scrutinized.
Substantial Gainful Activity
It only makes sense that the SSA limits your monthly income because you are receiving benefits based on the fact that you cannot do work because of your medical condition. You are allowed to do some work and earn some income, however, as long as your income doesn't exceed the limits. For 2016, the income limit is $1,130 ($1,820 for the blind). For 2017, the limits go up to $1,170 ($1.950 for the blind). This amount is based on a cost of living evaluation, and can change yearly. It should be noted that the amount does not always rise, sometimes it decreases. The SSA terms the amount of work that you are unable to do as substantial gainful activity (SGA)
It's important to note that SGA is not determined by your income amount alone; the SSA also looks at the type of work you are doing to earn any income reported to them (and you must report all income earned). For example, you must not be participating in any work that you claimed to be unable to do when you filed your initial claim. You can do other types of work, perhaps more sedentary work or work that is unaffected by your qualifying medical condition.
If you are having trouble getting your SSDI benefits approved, speak to a Social Security attorney like Gieg Law Offices. Being denied on your first attempt is not uncommon, but having legal representation at your appeal is vital.