Consumer Law Blog

Financial Eligibility & Social Security Disability Insurance

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There are two programs offered by the Social Security Administration: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While there is no limit on the number of assets that an individual can own in order to qualify for SSDI, there are still some important financial considerations that individuals should understand. Instead, to be eligible for SSDI, a person must pay a sufficient amount of FICA taxes into the Social Security system. SSI, however, does have a strict liability limit. To be eligible for SSI a person must have both a low income and low assets or less than $2,000. The reason for this restriction is that SSI is a need-based program. Individuals who are interested in qualifying for either type of benefit often find it essential to obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable disability attorney.

SSDI - SSI Financial Considerations

A person will not qualify as disabled to qualify for SSDI if they are considered capable of substantial gainful activity. An individual who earns more than a certain monthly amount is considered to be performing a substantial gainful activity. The threshold of what constitutes substantial gainful activity is determined by using the national average wage index. In 2017, an amount of $1,170 per month or over was considered a substantial gainful activity for disabled applicants. This amount was set at $1,950 for blind applicants. There are some additional complications regarding any substantial gainful activity. One example is that these rules are different for business owners because monthly income may not reflect the work effort that an individual puts into their business. Another important consideration is that a person receiving SSDI cannot earn an unlimited amount from investments, interests, or the income of a spouse.

Trial Work Periods

In some cases, individuals receiving SSDI benefits improve and want to return to the workforce. These individuals, however, are often afraid that their disability will prevent them from keeping the job for an extended period of time. In consideration of these situations, the Social Security Administration allows a trial work period during which period a person receiving SSDI can have unlimited earnings but still receive full benefits without jeopardizing the continuation of these benefits. Under the terms of a trial work period (or TWP), a person must provide services for at least nine months out of a 60 month period before a disability is decided to have ended. In 2017, the Social Security Administration defined “providing services” as any month in which an individual in excess of $840. If an individual earns over this threshold for nine months, the Social Security Administration will still allow the individual to collect disability for three additional months. In cases where SSDI benefits because a person is working, benefits are able to resume within the next 36 months if a person fails to earn the monthly substantial gainful activity amount or becomes unable to work again due to the disability.

Obtain the Assistance of a Skilled Disability Attorney

If you have questions about Financial Eligibility & Social Security Disability Insurance, it is a wise idea to talk to a knowledgeable disability lawyer at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC or its disability arm, Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group today. Conveniently located in downtown Denver, our law firm can be reached at (303) 534-1958 or by filling out our online form.


About the AuthorJoe Whitcomb

Joe Whitcomb is the founder and president of Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC (WSM). In addition, he manages the firm and heads up the Government Procurement and International Business Transactions Law sections. As a result of his military service as a U.S. Army Ranger and as a non-commissioned officer in the Air Force, he learned mission accomplishment. While serving in the Air Force, he earned his Bachelor’s in Social Sciences and a Master’s in International Relations. His Master’s emphasis was on National Security and International Political Economics. After his military career, Joe attended law school at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.