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What Exactly Is Social Security Disability?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]While the majority of people who are approved for Social Security or SSI disability will be able to keep getting their benefit check for years to come, there are still things that can cause your
Social Security disability benefits to be ended. For example, if you’re applying for Social Security or SSI disability, or are currently receiving Social Security or SSI benefits, then it’s important to be aware of what potentially could stop your disability benefits. Thompson & Thomas PA is here to assist you in protecting your benefits and navigating this area.


Firstly, you should have an understanding of the two different disability benefit programs which are operated by the Social Security Administration, or SSA. Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI is based on an individual having paid enough in Social Security taxes to be eligible for certain benefits. This would be somebody who has not worked long enough, or recent enough, to maintain sufficient “work credits.”  They are ineligible for SSDI no matter what their disability is. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based (low-income) program. You do not have to have paid Social Security taxes, or to have even worked, in order to be eligible for SSI. However, there are hard limits in the income or assets that somebody can possess in order to qualify for these benefits.


The most common reason for someone’s Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits to stop is because they have gone back to work. While in certain cases it is possible to be employed while continuing to receive SSDI payments, you will need to follow specific rules and regulations. If you go back to work while receiving SSDI benefits, the SSA will need to determine if you are in fact engaging in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). The largest factor in determining if work will qualify as SGA is how much a person is paid. In 2019, somebody can be typically considered to be engaging in SGA if they are earning more than $1,220 ($2,040 for blind SSDI recipients). For example, if you are earning $200 a  week doing part-time work, you would be within the SGA work limit. However, this isn’t necessarily a cut and dry issue. If you are working a lot, then the SSA may state that your job duties constitute SGA even if your income is under the SGA amount.


The “trial work period” constitutes one exception to the SGA rule. This is a period of time that allows someone who is currently receiving SSDI benefits to go back to work without losing their SSDI eligibility. In the majority of cases, you are able to work for around nine months throughout your trial work period without having your SSDI benefits stop, no matter how much you’re making. If, at the end of the TWP, you are still working and earning over the SGA level, then you will no longer be considered disabled and your Social Security payments will stop.


Thompson & Thomas PA are here to help you navigate your benefits and income questions. Call Thompson & Thomas PA today for a consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]