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 Disability Review?

The answer is: Yes, it will be considered during your disability review, but it may not be a a problem. Please learn more about this: How to Work While On Social Security Disability

Question Two: Will Working Lower the Amount of My Check?

💮 If you are on SSDI, the answer is always no. You do not need to read the rest of this page (please take a look at the link above about disability reviews).

💮 If you are on SSI, the answer is usually yes. Please read this page.

💮 If you don’t know what you are on, check out: How to Tell What You’re On. Sometimes people are mistaken or confused about what they are on, so please double check.

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 personal attendant in a 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. An impairment related expense can be anything you need to help you work that a person without disabilities would not need (medications, medical equipment, hiring someone to assist you as a personal aid, extra transportation expenses, vet bills and food costs for service animal, etc). There are many many things you can get considered an impairment related expense. Make sure to keep receipts and when you report your work income, submit these receipts to Social Security along with your request that these be considered impairment related work expenses and the reason why. If possible, a letter from your doctor stating that these things are needed for you to be able to work can also be helpful.

💮 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. This has happened to nearly everyone I have ever met who was on SSI and started working, but 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 to Survive on SSI

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