SSD Income Limits
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available to individuals who are incapable of working due to a mental or physical disability. Social Security Disability income limits vary based on which type of benefits you receive.
Only individuals who have paid into the Social Security system for the required amount of years through income tax are eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Alternatively, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program that requires applicants to be in a financial dilemma. SSI is not contingent on work history, but there is still an income limit that helps determine qualification for this disability program.
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Why the Income Limit for Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives countless applications each year. To ensure that benefits reach those Americans with the greatest need, the SSA utilizes an income limit for both SSDI and SSI.
However, the income limit is different for each of these benefit types, as the requirements for eligibility vary immensely.
SSDI Income Limits
Since SSDI is based on your work history, the SSA does not require information on your assets and resources. The income limit for SSDI is $1,310 per month ($2,190 for blind individuals). The income limit is simply based on the rule that if you can work, you are not considered disabled.
The SSA maintains that there is no limit on what is called “unearned income” through investments, interest, spouse’s income, and other assets. In other words, your disability income limit is evaluated based on your specific work history, work capabilities, and disability, not outside sources.
SSI Income Limits
Because SSI is based on financial need and not work history, the SSI program has a much lower income limit of $794 and $1,191 per month for a couple per month.
The SSA is also required to evaluate your assets, resources, and all other forms of income — such as a spouse’s income — when determining eligibility for the disability program.
It’s worth noting that you can continue to generate income while disabled. The SSA has stated that if you are disabled and are able to perform some work despite your disability, you may continue to receive disability payments until your earnings — added with any other income sources — exceed the SSI income limits.
Maintain Your SSDI Benefits
It is important to remain aware of any changes to SSA rules and regulations to maintain disability eligibility. It is also important to be aware of annual changes to income limits.
The income limit typically increases each year through a Cost of Living increase (COLA), allowing you more opportunity to earn or have access to additional income without affecting your disability qualification.
In order to keep up with SSA changes, consider a few simple tasks to periodically review to help you maintain your SSDI benefits:
- Maintain contact with the SSA on a regular basis to ensure eligibility and provide updates on your condition.
- Schedule an adequate number of doctor visits and keep up with your medications to confirm your disability status.
- Notify the SSA of any major life changes, including the following: address, name, criminal activity, marriage, dependents, and employment status.
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