Work Incentive Opportunities for SSDI Claimants
Work With a Skilled Tampa Disability Attorney
If you receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits, you’re probably aware that your eligibility for such benefits depends on the fact that you cannot engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). If you earn more than $1,310 per month (as per 2021 regulations), then the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider your employment activity to qualify as SGA and will assume that you are not actually disabled — this can impact your ability to receive benefits.
Fortunately, the SSA wants to encourage SSDI claimants to work, so it offers several work incentive opportunities to empower claimants to continue to receive benefits while working.
Let’s take a closer look.
Trial Work Period
The SSA offers a trial work period to SSDI claimants, allowing them to “test” out whether they can work for a period lasting up to nine months. During the trial period, SSDI claimants will continue to receive their benefits (which will not be impacted by their income). It’s worth noting that this trial work period can be extended up to 36 months.
Our Tampa disability attorney knows that this is an excellent opportunity for SSDI claimants to evaluate whether their disability is truly crippling their ability to earn an income (without jeopardizing their benefits).
Impairment-Related Work Expenses
If you are working with a disability, then chances are that you’ll have various impairment-related expenses (necessary to work). For example, if you have paraplegia, you may need to invest in an upgraded, automatic wheelchair to perform your work tasks in an office setting. The cost of this wheelchair (along with maintenance and modifications to your workspace/equipment) will be deducted from your earnings with respect to measuring your income against the SGA cap.
Our Tampa Disability Attorney Can Help You Understand the Special Conditions Deduction
The SSA will deduct the monetary value of any special conditions that are reflected in your work activity due to your disability. This deduction will minimize the likelihood that you hit your SGA cap.
For example, suppose that you are earning $2,000 per month. This is higher than the monthly SGA amount. However, your employer makes several special conditions available to you to ease the burden and enable you to work — they have a supervisor who assists you with many of your tasks, and they even require that you perform fewer tasks than others at your same level.
The SSA is entitled to put a dollar value on these special conditions, perhaps, say, $1,000 per month. As such, your “income” would only be $1,000 per month, coming in below the SGA threshold.
If your SSDI benefits end due to the SSA determining that you no longer qualify as eligible for disability benefits (perhaps due to passing the SGA threshold), then you may be feeling lost as to what to do if your condition worsens — or if you are unable to keep working due to your condition.
Fortunately, a work incentive option known as “expedited reinstatement” makes the transition back towards SSDI benefits substantially smoother. With the expedited reinstatement option, you can restart your SSDI benefits immediately without having to file an application. The only requirement is that you seek reinstatement within five years of the benefits stopping (due to SGA).
Contact a Tampa Disability Attorney at Mike Murburg, PA for Assistance
Here at the Office of Mike Murburg, P.A., we have decades of experience working with SSDI claimants, helping them to submit a claim for benefits and to navigate a dispute (if the SSA denies their claim or otherwise gives an adverse decision). We work closely with SSDI claimants to challenge adverse decisions and secure the benefits to which they’re entitled under the law.
It’s important to understand that SSDI claimants are given several different opportunities to return to work without interfering with the amount of their benefits. The SSA wants to incentivize productivity, where possible. As such, we are committed to ensuring that SSDI claimants can use these work incentives without jeopardizing their benefits — following the intent of such programs.
If you’d like to speak to a qualified Tampa disability attorney at Murburg Law, call 813-264-5363 or submit a message through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.