Working While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits
I am receiving Social Security disability benefits. Will I lose my benefits if I work and earn money? How will it affect my claim?
Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security disability benefits to work and still receive monthly payments.
A trial work period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During your trial work period, you will receive your full Social Security benefits regardless of how much you are earning as long as you report your work activity and you continue to have a disabling impairment. In 2012, a trial work month is any month in which your total earnings are over $720, or if you are self-employed, you earn more than $720 (after expenses) or work more than 80 hours in your own business. The trial work period continues until you have worked nine months within a 60-month period.
After your trial work period, you have 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits for any month your earnings are not “substantial.” In 2012, we generally consider earnings over $1,010/month ($1,690/month if you are blind) to be substantial. No new application or disability decision is needed for you to receive a Social Security disability benefit during this period.
How work affects Social Security retirement payments
How much can I earn while receiving Social Security retirement benefits?
A beneficiary under the full retirement age:
- Can earn $14,640 a year and not lose any benefits in 2012.
- We will deduct $1 in benefits for every $2 earned above $14,640.
A beneficiary reaching full retirement age:
- Can earn $38,880 a year and not lose any benefits in 2012.
- We will deduct $1 for every $3 earned above $38,880.
The same earnings limits apply to a child or spouse who works and receives benefits on your record.
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