How much money can I earn and still qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has detailed guidelines on income and assets for those applying for disability benefits. SSA income guidelines are quite complex. We briefly will review the highlights below, but for more detailed information or help calculating your income, it’s advisable to speak to a disability attorney in your area. For legal help with disability benefits in North and South Carolina, call Chad Brown Law for a Free case evaluation.

Substantial Gainful Activity

In order to qualify for SSDI, you must be unable to engage in what the SSA calls substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SSA puts a cap on how much money you can earn and still qualify for benefits because if you can work, then you aren’t considered disabled.

A person who earns more than a certain monthly threshold is considered to be engaging in SGA. To determine the threshold, the SSA goes by federal regulations, which factor the national average wage index into an equation to set the SGA income limit each year.

Income guidelines for Social Security disability benefits

For 2021, the SGA cap is $1,310 for non-blind disabled applicants and $2,190 for blind applicants. If you earn more than that amount, you cannot qualify for SSDI. For this type of benefit, the SSA doesn’t limit the amount of assets you can have, nor does it look at your unearned income. Unearned income includes assets such as investment income, earned interest, and your spouse’s income. None of these affect your eligibility for SSDI — only your earned income from SGA is counted.

For assistance applying for benefits or questions about whether you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, call Chad Brown Law at (336) 962-5373 for a free case evaluation.

Our firm focuses on three practice areas: Disability, Personal Injury, and Eminent Domain. Every practice area has attorneys who have expertise in their respective area of practice. 

Chad Brown is a North Carolina Board Certified Social Security disability law specialist. Mr. Brown helps Social Security disability claimants at all stages of the disability process. He also works with people that have Long Term Disability denials and with people that are injured by drugs and defective medical products.

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