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What Counts as Earned Income for the Purpose of Social Security Disability Benefits?

August 30, 2019 Blog

Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer in Tampa, FL

If you are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, then you might have questions about earned income and how that could impact your application, eligibility, and eventual receipt of such benefits.

Let’s take a closer look.

Earned Income Can Impact SSDI Benefits

Your monthly earned income can have a substantial impact on your eligibility to receive SSDI benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Ultimately, the SSA will evaluate whether you have exceeded the maximum monthly earned income amount ($1,220 per month for most claimants, and $2,040 per month for claimants who are suffering from the condition of blindness).  This maximum earned income amount is meant to symbolize the limits of disability with respect to SSDI benefits.  Simply put, if you can earn more than $1,220 per month, then you will be deemed capable of engaging in substantial gainful activity enough to prevent you from qualifying for benefits.

Earned Income vs. Unearned Income

Before we compare earned income and unearned income (which does not count against your monthly maximum for the purposes of eligibility), it’s important to understand that SSDI is not an income-based system.  The earned maximum is not meant to limit benefits only to those claimants who lack overall financial resources but is meant only to identify whether a claimant is functionally productive.

For example, you could have passive income investments that return $10,000 per month, and that would not have any effect on your SSDI benefits entitlement.  On the other hand, if you were actively earning $10,000 through daily employment, the SSA would find that your disabling condition is clearly not “disabling enough” for benefits to be awarded.

Earned income is fairly simple to understand.  It is essentially any money that you made while actively working, and includes self-employment, contract work, and traditional employment arrangements.  Tips and bonuses will also count towards earned income.

Unearned income, on the other hand, are any benefits that are received through means other than employment or active work.  Investments, benefits plans, gifts, and more — these are all counted as unearned income.

Contact the Law Offices of Mike Murburg, P.A. for Help

Whether you need help with your SSDI benefits application — or with the appeals process after having received a denial — then we encourage you to contact the Law Offices of Mike Murburg, P.A. for guidance.

Attorney Mike Murburg has decades of experience representing Social Security disability claimants and has helped numerous applicants secure critical benefits at every stage of the process, from the initial application round to appeals.

If you’d like to speak with an experienced Tampa social security disability lawyer at the Law Offices of Mike Murburg, P.A., call us at 813-264-5363 or complete an online intake form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation.