Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration reports that increasing numbers of Americans are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, likely due to an aging workforce that is dealing with worsening health conditions. Social Security Disability Insurance (or SSDI) is intended to aid families who need longer-term financial assistance due to a long-lasting condition or disability. SSDI payments also differ from standard Supplemental Security Income, which is awarded to low-income disabled or elderly individuals based on need through the Social Security administration. SSDI is not to be confused with regular Social Security Income (SSI) benefits that are awarded to individuals who are over the age of 62 and who have a documented work history of paying into the Social Security system.

Requirements for SSDI

SSDI eligibility requirements mandate that you have worked for most of your adult life, paying into the Social Security system, in order to be able to draw on these benefits. Negligence must be determined in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, you do not have to prove that another individual is at fault for the condition that is keeping you from work. Negligence and liability are not factors in determining eligibility for SSDI benefits.

Can You Work and Receive Benefits?

Some SSDI recipients are not permanently disabled, but are perhaps recovering from a long illness or a flare of a medical condition. Just because you receive SSDI benefits does not mean that you cannot work. In fact, if you earn less than $770 per month and/or if you work less than 80 hours per month as a self-employed worker, you can still receive your benefits.

If your monthly income exceeds $770 or if you are self-employed and work more than 80 hours in a month, a Trial Work Period (TWP) will begin. The TWP consists of nine months during which an SSDI recipient can earn an indefinite amount of income and still qualify for their entire monthly SSDI payments. It is important to note that the nine months of work do not need be consecutive, as the TWP is designed to help individuals gauge if they are able to go back to work full time.