To qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you must provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with many details, including information on your finances. Any change in your employment situation or your overall financial circumstances can therefore affect your eligibility for SSD or the amount of your monthly benefit payments.
Financial Circumstances and SSD Benefits
Your ability to work and earn a gainful living is a core eligibility factor for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The SSA also must consider your finances. Although income and assets play a bigger role in eligibility for the need-based SSI program, changes in your personal finances can affect the amount of SSI and/or SSDI benefits.
You can work and receive SSD benefits under certain circumstances. You cannot however work above a level the SSA considers “substantial.” Working at or above a substantial or gainful employment level will cause your SSDI and/or SSI benefits eventually to stop.
If you plan to try to return to work full time, you should inform the SSA in advance. They will provide you some leeway in your work attempts. This allows you to continue receiving benefits though it may cause your monthly benefit amounts to vary during your work attempts.
If you work part time and below the level of what the SSA considers substantial, this will not cause your benefits to stop, but it can cause them to decrease. This is especially true if you receive SSI benefits, because SSI is a “need-based” program designed specifically to provide support to individuals with very limited financial resources.
Other Disability Benefits
If you begin receiving some other kinds of public disability benefits, like workers’ compensation, your SSD benefits must be re-evaluated. The SSA will look at your overall finances. They will also review your monthly benefit payment amounts three times per year while you are receiving other forms of disability benefits.
Marital Status or Family Income
If you get married, the SSA must review the income and assets of your new spouse. The same is true if your spouse becomes disabled and begins receiving SSD or another form of public disability benefits. Under some circumstances, family income can affect the amount of SSD payments as well, like when a child gets disability benefits through SSI and his or her parents’ income or assets change.
State or federal retirement benefits, including those received from civil service employment, can also affect the amount of your disability payments. The SSA will recalculate your monthly disability benefits once retirement payments kick in and you may see a decrease in SSD payments.