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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly Associates

Can you work part time on social security disability?

Updated: May 11, 2022

Many people receiving disability benefits ask the same question to their Pennsylvania SSDI attorney. They want to know if they can work on a part-time basis and collect SSDI benefits at the same time.

There are several reasons why you may want to work and collect benefits. For example, your benefits may not be sufficient to cover your expenses.

Perhaps you are physically able to work part-time hours and want to stay productive and active. So, can you work part time on Social Security Disability?

There are a few things to consider.

The Difference Between SSDI and Supplemental Security Income

Before you find the answer to your question of can you work part time on Social Security Disability, you need to know what kind of disability benefits you are receiving.

For both SSDI and Supplementary Security Income, you are permitted to work part-time with firm limitations in place.

However, the work thresholds for these benefits differ.

Some people ask, “How many hours can you work if you are on disability?” - a better question is, “How much can you earn in 2020 and draw Social Security?”

This is because the Social Security office looks at the amount earned rather than how many hours it took you to earn that amount.

The permitted income varies depending on the type of benefits you are receiving.

If you receive SSDI, you cannot earn more than $1,310 per month in 2020. This figure is bumped up to $2,190 for blind individuals. On the other hand, if you receive SSI benefits, this threshold is bumped down to $794.

There are some variances to what is counted as income for SSI calculation purposes. Because of this, your permitted take-home income could be slightly higher in some cases. In addition, the SSI benefits are dependent on personal assets as well.

To qualify for SSI benefits while working part-time, individuals must have less than $2,000 in assets. Married couples must have less than $3,000 in assets.

How Social Security Can Learn About Your Work Status

Sometimes asking yourself “can I work part time on Social Security Disability” may be followed by another important question. How will the Social Security office know if you are working?

All individuals who receive Social Security Disability benefits are required to report changes to work status promptly. Those who receive part-time income must report that income on a monthly basis to the Social Security office.

The amount of your benefits will be adjusted accordingly. It is easy to assume that the Social Security office will not find out about your work status and your part-time income, but this is not usually the case.

There are several methods that the Social Security office may use to learn about your work status and income.

For example, the Internal Revenue Service receives reports from employers on all of their employees’ earnings. This information can be reviewed by the Social Security office.

What happens if your income is received under the table? The IRS and the Social Security office generally will have a harder time determining if you receive cash payments for work done, but this does not mean that your income will go undetected.

In many instances, individuals will offer a tip to the Social Security office or to the IRS about this type of payment situation. This could include anyone from a friend or a neighbor to a family member, a supervisor or anyone else who is aware of your arrangement. When tips are received, they will be carefully investigated to determine if they have merit.

A Continuing Disability Review, or CDR, may also uncover signs that an individual has been working.

For example, a review of a medical record may indicate that an injury was work-related. Any evidence that indicates the possibility that the individual has been working can lead to a more extensive review.

The Impact of Not Reporting Income to SSI

Once it has been determined that you have not been properly reporting your work activities, your case will be thoroughly reviewed. Your work income will be documented to determine if and when that income exceeded the allowed amount.

The Social Security office will then tell you the amount of overpaid benefits that you are responsible for returning. You may be required to pay that amount of money back, or you may not receive benefits until the overpayment issue has been rectified.

However, you could also face criminal charges. Social Security fraud is a serious crime. If you are convicted of this type of fraud, you may be fined up to $250,000, be imprisoned for up to 60 months or both.

Can you work part time on Social Security Disability? How much can you earn in 2020 and draw Social Security?

Now that you know the answers to these questions, you can confidently search for suitable part-time employment. Remember to report all income to the Social Security office to avoid landing in hot water.

Do you need more information about your Social Security disability benefits? Our Social Security disability lawyers at Matthew Kelly Law Office are available to speak with you.

Contact our office today with your questions and to learn more about SSDI benefits.



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