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Navigating Working Part-Time on SSDI

working part-time on social security disability

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Navigating the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system can be complex, especially when considering the possibility of working part-time on Social Security Disability. Many SSDI recipients often wonder about the rules and limitations regarding employment while receiving benefits. In this post, we’ll delve into key aspects such as how many hours you can work on SSDI and the general rules for working while receiving disability benefits.

Can I Work Part-Time on Social Security Disability?


The short answer is yes, you can work part-time while receiving Social Security Disability benefits. However, there are specific rules and limits set by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you must adhere to. Understanding these rules is crucial to ensure that your part-time work doesn’t jeopardize your SSDI benefits.


Understanding the SSA’s Work Incentives


The SSA offers several work incentives to provide a safety net for those who want to work but are concerned about losing their benefits. These incentives include the Trial Work Period (TWP) and the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). During the TWP, you can test your ability to work for at least nine months without losing your benefits, regardless of your earnings. The EPE, on the other hand, allows you to receive benefits for any months your earnings fall below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) threshold.


How Many Hours Can I Work While on SSDI?


There isn’t a specific hour limit when it comes to working part-time on SSDI. Instead, the SSA focuses on the amount you earn. The key factor here is the concept of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). For 2023, the SGA amount for disabled applicants is set at $1,350 per month (or $2,260 if you’re blind). If your earnings exceed this limit, you may no longer qualify for SSDI benefits.


The Rules for Working Part-Time on Social Security Disability


When you decide to work part-time while on SSDI, it’s essential to abide by the SSA’s rules. This includes promptly reporting any work activity and income to the SSA. Failure to do so can lead to overpayments, which you’ll need to repay, or even fraud charges. For more detailed information on what can happen if you get caught working while on SSDI, read our comprehensive guide on the subject.


Reporting Your Earnings


It’s important to report your work and earnings to the SSA as soon as you start working, and every month thereafter. This reporting ensures that your record is up-to-date and can help you avoid any complications with your SSDI benefits.



Part-time work


Learn More about Working Part Time on SSDI


Below are several reputable online sources that provide detailed and reliable information about working while on Social Security Disability (SSDI):


  1. Social Security Administration – Working While Disabled: How We Can Help: This is an official page from the Social Security Administration that explains the rules for working while receiving disability benefits. It offers detailed information on work incentives, reporting responsibilities, and the Trial Work Period. Visit the SSA page.
  2. NOLO – How Much Can You Work While Receiving Social Security Disability?: NOLO is known for its easy-to-understand legal articles. This article provides a straightforward explanation of the limits on how much you can work and earn while receiving Social Security Disability benefits. Read the NOLO article.
  3. The Balance – Social Security Disability Benefits and Working: This article offers a comprehensive look at how working affects Social Security Disability benefits. It covers various aspects such as the Trial Work Period, Substantial Gainful Activity, and reporting requirements. Explore The Balance’s coverage.
  4. Disability Benefits Center – Working Part-Time on Disability: This resource provides specific insights into working part-time while on SSDI. It discusses how part-time work affects benefits, the importance of the Substantial Gainful Activity level, and what to expect when reporting earnings. Check the Disability Benefits Center article.
  5. Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute – 20 CFR § 404.1574 – Evaluating Your Work Activity If You Are Self-Employed; Substantial Gainful Activity: For those looking for a more legal perspective, this page from Cornell Law School’s LII provides the legal framework and definitions around Substantial Gainful Activity and other related terms. Visit Cornell Law’s LII page.



Conclusion: Balancing Work and SSDI Benefits


Working part-time while on Social Security Disability is possible, but it requires careful consideration of the SSA’s rules and earnings limits. By staying informed and diligent in reporting, you can balance the benefits of part-time work with the security of your SSDI benefits.


If you’re considering working part-time and want to understand how it could affect your SSDI benefits, or if you need assistance in navigating these complex rules, feel free to reach out to us. Our team is here to provide you with the support and guidance you need to make informed decisions about your SSDI benefits and employment.

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November 13, 2023

Written by TC Newlin

TC is a disability litigator and one of the managing partners in the Social Security Disability Department at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin. He has had the pleasure of helping thousands of people obtain the benefits they so desperately need.


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