How Much Can I Earn While on Social Security Disability in 2022?

How Much Can I Earn While on Social Security Disability in 2022?

If you are filing a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or you are already receiving SSD benefit payments, you need to know how the new income eligibility limits for 2022 might affect you. The Social Security Administration (SSA) changes both the income eligibility cap and the amount of benefit payments each year to adjust these figures for the rate of inflation that existed during the previous year.

At the Law Office of Kathleen Day, we are always happy to hear any questions you have about Social Security Disability benefits, whether the issue relates to your own situation, or you’re just curious about how the system operates. Our entire legal practice focuses on helping the disabled residents of Corpus Christi and South Texas get the disability benefits they deserve. As a career disability lawyer, Attorney Kathleen Day has extensive experience fighting to win disability benefits for your neighbors. For free consultations about your disability case, call us anytime. But don’t delay. The sooner we begin to help you the sooner your SSD benefits can be approved.

Social Security Income Eligibility Limit for 2022

Social Security defines what is a disability by the severity of the claimant’s impairment and by the claimant’s ability to earn income. According to the Social Security Administration, someone has a benefit qualifying disability only if they have “a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that lasts or is expected to last at least 12 months AND prevents the person from performing substantial gainful activities.”

“Substantial gainful activities” (SGA) means performing enough work to earn more than the income eligibility limit. This year, in 2022, you are eligible for SSD benefits if you are unable to earn more than $1,350 of “Countable Income” monthly. For SSD benefits recipients who are blind, the monthly income limit is set higher, $2,260.

“Countable Income” Is Key to Figuring How Much You Earn

Social Security does not count every dollar you actually earn when determining your eligibility for monthly SSD payments. Instead, in figuring your countable income, you are given the benefit of several exemptions that are not counted as income.

For example, any “unearned income” is not counted. That means any money you receive from the following sources is not counted as income for the purpose of measuring benefit eligibility:

  • rent from the property you own (if you don’t manage it actively)
  • income your spouse earns
  • interest on bank or investment accounts
  • dividends paid on investment holdings
  • pension payments you receive
  • insurance
  • cash or gifts from friends or relatives

Countable income is every dollar you receive in exchange for performing work or providing any service or selling goods. Because these dollars are literally “earned,” the money came from gainful activities.

Other sources of publicly funded disability compensation also count as income. Worker’s compensation payments you receive also count because those payments are intended to replace your lost wages suffered from a work-related injury. The SSD benefit payments are also intended to replace your lost wages. Exempting worker’s compensation payments from counting would allow you to double-dip. However, private disability insurance payments you receive on private disability policies do not count. They are viewed more as a return on investment.

You can also deduct any uninsured, disability-related expenses you incur on things like wheelchairs, handicap van transportation, etc.

Any type of gift, even expensive ones, doesn't affect SSDI benefits at all. You don't have to report them to the SSA as income.

Earn More and Keep Your Full SSD Benefit Eligibility – Trial Work Program (TWP)

If you are concerned that you are frequently approaching the maximum allowable monthly income to remain eligible for SSD benefits, the Trial Work Program (TWP) may be right for you. In this program, SSD recipients whose impairment may have subsided can earn an unlimited income for any 9 months in a five-year period and still receive their full SSD benefit every month. You can use the months consecutively or split the months up. The program is intended to encourage SSD benefits recipients to try working without fearing they will lose their benefits.

When you exhaust your 9 TWP months, you are then entitled to an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). During this 36-month period which begins the month after your 9th month of TWP, you are ensured of receiving your full SSD benefit payment in any month you do not earn more than the SSD eligibility income limit.

Corpus Christi’s Experienced Disability Lawyer

After years of working exclusively with disabled South Texans, the entire team at the Kathleen Day Disability Law Office knows about every rule and regulation that will affect your disability claim. Unless your lawyer has extensive experience practicing disability law, you should consider calling Attorney Kathleen Day to represent your claim. Disability law can be complex and involve technical rules that inexperienced lawyers or advocates can miss. Don’t take a chance with your SSD claim.