How Does Working Affect My Disability Check?

Artwork: Robin Mead


If you are going back to work while on Social Security Disability, there are two questions you may wish to consider.

Question One: Will Working Affect My Medical Review?

💮 The answer is: Maybe. Your medical condition will be reviewed from time to time and during this review Social Security may consider the fact that you are working.

💮 Some people think that working is “safe” because they stay under the allowable income limit. This is somewhat true, but not entirely. Even if you are under the limit, you still have to pass medical reviews.

💮 Many people work part-time and continue to be approved for disability with no problems because their doctor’s records clearly show they are still disabled.

💮 On the other hand, sometimes people get denied during medical reviews because their doctor’s records show improvement and the type of work they are doing indicates to Social Security that they are no longer disabled.

💮 Please learn more about this: How to Work While On Social Security Disability

Question Two: Will Working Affect My Financial Review?

💮 Before you can answer this question, you must know if you are on SSI or SSDI. How to Tell What You’re On. Sometimes people are mistaken or confused about what they are on, so please double check.

💮 If you are on SSDI, the answer is always no. SSDI does not have financial reviews.

💮 If you are on SSDI plus other programs, the answer is maybe. Your SSDI check will not be lowered, but sometimes work income can affect other programs, such as food stamps or medicaid.

💮 If you are on SSI, the answer is usually yes. Your SSI check may be lowered. See below for details.

💮 If you are on both SSI and SSDI, then working will likely affect the SSI part of your check, but not the SSDI part.

How Will My SSI Check Change?

If you are on SSI, you can earn $65 per month without affecting your check. If you earn more than that, see below to learn what happens. After that your check will usually be lowered by $1 for every $2 you earn. There are a few exceptions:

💮 For SSI, certain types of work income is exempt. Your check will not be lowered if you have a PASS plan or some IDA plans.

💮 Working as a live-in aide in certain state or medicaid program is sometimes exempt and may not affect your check. Please check the regs for the program you are in.

💮 If you are self-employed or own a small business. They will consider your income after your business expenses. In some cases, this means your check will not be lowered.

💮 If you have impairment related work expenses, these will not be counted, and that may keep your check from being lowered. Many different things can count as impairment related work expenses. You may have some you don’t realize: What Does Social Security Consider an “Impairment Related Expenses”?

💮 If you are on SSI, and you start earning income, it is likely that at some point Social Security is going to make a mistake, pay you too much money, and then want some money back. You do have some options. Learn more: How Sandra Got Her Overpayments Waived


Everything No One Ever Tells You About Living on Social Security Disability

How to Work Without (Too Much) Trouble

How Will Income Affect My SSI Check?

How to Survive on SSI

Updated May 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working

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