2010 Changes to Social Security Disability Earnings Limits

While there is no cost of living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries for 2010, other changes will be effective as of the new year.

Particularly important for any SSDI or SSI claimant are the earnings thresholds. In 2010, an individual must earn $1,120 to be credited a quarter of coverage for SSDI and/or SSI eligibility purposes.

Substantial gainful activity (“SGA”) thresholds will also increase for 2010. As discussed previously, substantial gainful activity is the gross income threshold to determine if a person’s work is substantial and therefore that person is not disabled. In 2010, a non-blind individual may earn $1,000 a month (gross income) and still be eligible for disability benefits. If the claimant is blind, the SGA threshold is $1,640 per month.

An individual pursuing disability benefits or already receiving disability benefits who attempts work, or enrolls in the Trial Work Period (“TWP”) may earn up to $720 per month, a $20 a month increase.

SSI benefit amounts for an individual and couple will remain the same because there is no cost of living adjustment this year.

Any individual pursuing disability benefits should be aware of the SGA threshold limitations. If the individual works, even part-time, he should monitor his gross monthly income and earn no more than the SGA allowable income if he wishes to remain eligible for benefits.


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