You can work while on disability in North Carolina as long as you report required information to Social Security Administration (SSA) officials and meet their defined income threshold. Many disabled people prefer to keep working for a variety of reasons including supplementing their income and keeping their skills current. If this is your preference, our SSD lawyer can help you understand the requirements.
We can also help you understand what factors need to be reported and how and when your earned income will be deducted from your financial benefits. It can be a complex and confusing process on your own. Legal help and support along with familiarity with Social Security laws and guidelines can make the process less difficult to navigate.
How Much Can I Earn Before My Disability Benefits Are Affected?
According to North Carolina statistics, more than 30% of North Carolinians living with disabilities are also working. If you are a disabled worker, your SSD benefits will be decreased according to your income. SSA administrators do not make these deductions for the first $65 you earn. After that initial $65, one dollar will be deducted for every two dollars you earn.
Expenses Related to Your Employment Might Reduce Your Actual Income
Any income you earn has the potential to be subtracted from your monthly financial benefits under the SSD program. That means calculating your earned income accurately is an important part of retaining your benefits while working. Many work-related expenses can be excluded from your net income.
The expenses you can deduct from your earned income include items needed to accommodate your disability, such as required medications and vehicle modifications. The SSD attorney who represents you will help you make acceptable deductions and accurately calculate your income.
Is My Earned Income Deducted From SSDI and SSI?
Any income you earn has the potential to reduce your SSD monthly financial benefits. To understand how your income will impact your benefits, you must first apply for, or be a recipient of, the appropriate SSD benefits program. You may even qualify to receive benefits from both programs simultaneously.
SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) Benefits
SSDI benefits are reserved for disabled individuals who were previously employed. You qualify for these benefits if you work recently enough and long enough while paying into the SSD insurance program.
SSI (Supplemental Security Income) Benefits
SSI benefits are reserved for individuals with disabilities and minimal or non-existent means of financial support. You qualify for this program if you also have little or no resources or assets.
Your lawyer can explain these benefits further, and help determine which program is right for you.
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What Is SSA’s Ticket to Work Program?
Not only can you work while receiving benefits, SSA has programs in place to help you find appropriate employment. Their Ticket to Work program will provide you with free employment services that include:
- Access to your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Agency
- Assistance developing work and employment goals
- Temporary relief from continuing disability reviews
As part of the Ticket to Work program, you can enjoy a trial work period. During this time — a minimum of nine months — your benefits will not be impacted by your earnings as long as you comply with SSA’s reporting guidelines.
SSA’s Trial Work Period
The trial work period in 2022 allows you to up to $970 per month without reducing your medical or financial benefits. Self-employed individuals can earn more. These earnings in a 30-day period qualify as a trial work period month. They do not have to run concurrently; you can have up to nine of these within a 60-month period.
You can also qualify for an extended period of eligibility for up to three years after your trial work period ends. You will continue to receive benefits as long as your earnings are not considered substantial and are accurately reported. To be deemed substantial, you must earn more than $1,350 per month.
Work-Related Information You Must Report
Working while disabled means reporting many factors to SSA officials. It can also mean making repeated reports. Your representative can help you meet your reporting goals and share the following required information:
- You start working
- You stop working
- Your duties change
- Your hours change
- Your salary changes
You are also required to report any work-related expenses you pay in order to compensate for your disability.
Explore Your Options for Working While on SSD
Find out how you can work while on disability in North Carolina without putting your disability benefits at risk. Contact one of our SSD team members at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC by calling (828) 286-3866 today.