Some members of the public may not know this, but recipients of Social Security disability (SSD) benefits may continue to work. However, there are limitations as to how much they may earn, while remaining eligible for these much-needed benefits.
This is where the term “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) comes into play. SGA is work that provides significant payment over the threshold that the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows. If a person has the ability to perform “substantial” work, then they are not considered to be disabled. SSD benefits are only available to people who cannot engage in SGA.
Monthly earning limit of $1,470
For this year, a person may earn up to $1,470 per month and remain eligible for SSD benefits. Blind people, however, may earn up to $2,460 per month. Any amount above that is SGA.
The SSA will deny benefits to anyone who earns more than these amounts. Also, current SSD recipients will lose their benefits if their earnings exceed these amounts. Each year, the SSA adjusts the SGA limit.
Nearly 50,000 had benefits terminated in 2020
In 2020, the SSA terminated benefits for nearly 50,000 disabled workers because they returned to work and earned above the SGA limit.
Beneficiaries also must be alert to the fact that the SSA may terminate their benefits even if they earn less than the SGA limit. The government will only do this if it establishes that the beneficiaries have the ability to return to substantial work stemming from changes in their medical condition or abilities.
Understand SGA details
Recipients of SSD benefits should be aware of the rules pertaining to substantial gainful activity. You may continue to work but limitations exist on how much you may earn without losing your benefits.