Working Outside Of The United States
If you retire and work outside the United States, the rules are different. If you are younger than full retirement age, Social Security will reduce your benefits for every month you work more than 45 hours in a job thats not subject to U.S. Social Security taxes. That applies regardless of how much money you earn. These rules can get complicated, so youll want to contact Social Security for advice on your particular situation.
What Income Is Excluded From The Ssi Income Limit
The SSA does not count the following income and benefits when calculating your income level:
- $20 per month of income other than wages
- $65 per month of wages and one-half of wages over $65
- wages that go toward special impairment-related work expenses for disabled persons or blind persons
- the first $30 of infrequent or irregularly received earned income in a quarter
- the first $60 of infrequent or irregularly received unearned income in a quarter
- reimbursement of expenses from a social services agency
- food stamps, and
- housing or home energy assistance.
Generally, if someone gives you an item that can’t be used as — or used to obtain — food, clothing, or shelter — it will not be considered as income. For example, if someone pays a doctor’s bill for you, it won’t be counted as part of your income.
In addition, income set aside for an SSI “Plan for Achieving Self-Support” is not counted.
To learn about the dollar amounts for the SSI income limits, see our article Income Limits & SSI Disability Eligibility.
You could be eligible for up to $3,345 per month In SSDI Benefits
Social Security Income Limit Summary
Heres the bottom line:
If you collect Social Security early, say at 62, and earn income from work that exceeds the income limit, Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.
For 2022, that limit is $19,560.
In the year you reach full retirement age, Social Security will deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit.
In 2022, this limit on your earnings is $51,960.
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How Are Your Social Security Benefits Calculated
Social Security uses your highest 35 years of earnings, indexed to a national average wage index, to calculate your primary insurance amount If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be entered as zero. You can increase your Social Security benefit at any time by replacing a zero or low-income year with a higher-income year.
There is a maximum Social Security benefit amount you can receive, though it depends on the age you retire. For someone at full retirement age in 2022, the maximum monthly benefit is $3,345. For someone filing at age 70, the maximum monthly amount is $4,194. And for someone retiring early, at age 62, the maximum monthly benefit is $2,364.
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Social Security Disability Evaluation Process
Though there are some conditions that the SSA considers so severe that they automatically render an applicant disabled, many conditions require careful screening, including answering these five questions:
In addition, qualifying conditions must be expected to last at least one year or result in death.
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Income Excluded By The Monthly Limit
There are certain forms of income you may be able to exclude from being counted in your monthly income. This way, you can remain within or below the income limits outlined by the SSA. For example, SSI applicants do not have to include the following in their monthly income limits:
- The first $20 of any income you receive from any source
- The first $65 you receive from your job if you still work
- Certain educational scholarships
- Money you spend on work-related items
Understanding and calculating what forms of income apply to your monthly limit for Social Security Disability can be confusing. A lawyer who handles Social Security Disability cases may be able to help you figure out whether you qualify for benefits based on monthly income.
How To Maintain Your Ssdi Benefits
Being approved for SSDI benefits avoids financial hardship and most applicants have had to endure a difficult process to get these entitlements so in order to hold onto them you need to be aware of what you need to do. Two things you should do to keep your SSDI benefits active are as follows:
- Keep seeing your doctor as this confirms you still have a disability
- Maintain contact with the SSA on a regular basis
- Notify the SSA if there are any changes to your circumstances such as: changing address, charged with an offense, altering your name, losing custody of a child who is in receipt of SSI benefits and taking up employment.
In the majority of cases when your situation is reviewed by the SSA, it is typically confirming your ongoing need for disability benefits. If you can provide medical evidence that your health has not improved and if you have maintained contact with the SSA your SSDI benefits will probably remain the same. If the SSA decides to review your case and you lose your SSDI as a result you may appeal the decision within ten days of the SSA notification.
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How Much Does The Di Program Cost
In 2016, the disability insurance trust fund received $160 billion, mainly from the 1.185 percent tax on wages that workers and employers both pay. Total payments from the DI trust fund were $146 billion, mainly for benefits to disabled workers and their families, meaning that income exceeded outgo by $14 billion in 2016. The cumulative assets in the disability insurance trust fund totaled $46 billion at the end of 2016. Administrative expenses were 1.9 percent of outgo from the DI fund, and the remaining portion paid for benefits.
Special Rules For People Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision
We consider you to be legally blind under Social Security rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye. We will also consider you legally blind if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog.
If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits. This may be the case if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.
There are several special rules for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on a person’s ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for people who are blind is generally higher than the limit that applies to non-blind workers with disabilities.
In 2022, the monthly earnings limit is $2,260.
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Is Your Condition Severe
Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you do not have a qualifying disability.
If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.
Information You Need To Apply
Before applying, be ready to provide information about yourself, your medical condition, and your work. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
Information About You
- Your date and place of birth and Social Security number.
- The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death .
- Names and dates of birth of children not yet 18 years of age.
- Your bank or other and the account number.
Information About Your Medical Condition
- Name, address, and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application.
- Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries, or conditions:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
- Names of medicines, the amount you are taking, and who prescribed them.
- Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who ordered them.
Information About Your Work:
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other .
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns, and medical documents, but we must see the originals of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.
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Are Social Security Payments Taxed
Yes and No. First, we are attorneys and not CPAs. Any tax question should be directed at your CPA or your tax preparer.
Generally, the IRS will tax your SSDI benefits when half of your benefits, plus other income, exceeds an income threshold on your tax filing status.
If youre filing single, head of household, married filing separately, or qualifying widower, the threshold is $25,000.
If youre filing married and jointing, that threshold is $32,000. And if youre filing separately but lived with your spouse during the tax year, the threshold is $0
Supplemental Security Income Benefits are not taxable.
Note: Visit irs.gov to learn additional information on paying taxes social security benefits.
How Much Is The Disability Benefit
The disability benefit is linked through a formula to a workers earnings before he or she became disabled. The following figures show how the disability insurance benefits compare to prior earnings for a worker who became eligible for benefits in 2014 at age 55.
|Earnings Before Disability||Annual DI Benefit|
*Average indexed earnings
The average benefit paid to disabled workers in June 2017 was $1,172 a month or about $14,064 a year.
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What Income Limits Apply To Disability Benefits For A Child
The child themselves generally cannot earn more than $1,350 per month, and the calculations are on a month-to-month rather than an annual basis. Their income cant be more than $2,260 if they are blind. The federal government recognizes blindness as a uniquely challenging disability in such a visually oriented world, and thus allows blind children and adults higher income limits.
As far as the childs income limit is concerned, the $1,350 monthly maximum takes into account only income thats earned from substantial gainful activity work. Children who are fortunate to receive earnings from investments, interest or other assets usually dont have to include these when calculating their individual income. All income must be included in the family calculations, however.
Do Some States Have Higher Limits
There’s another wrinkle that raises the income limits in most states: the “state supplement.”
Most states add money to the federal SSI payment called a state supplement. This means that the allowed income level, as well as the SSI payments, are higher than the federal maximums in those states. Every state except Arizona, North Dakota, and West Virginia has a state supplement.
The amount of the state supplement varies between states, from about $10 to about $400. In some states, the amount of the state supplement can depend on whether you are single or married and on your living arrangements. For instance, some states pay a supplement only to those living in a nursing home other states pay a higher supplement to those without full kitchens. For these reasons, unless you live in a state without a state supplement, it might be difficult for you to estimate whether your income falls under the SSI limit.
For more information, see our article on the supplemental payments, including state supplement amounts.
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Ssi Eligibility And Eligibility For Certain Former Ssi Recipients
You may qualify for SSI /Medicaid, or you may be able to remain eligible for Medicaid after your SSI payments stop if you meet certain eligibility guidelines.
SSI EligibilityIf you qualify for Supplemental Security Income , you automatically receive Medicaid. SSI makes monthly payments to individuals with low income and few resources that are either age 65 or over or blind or disabled. Blindness and disability are determined using Social Security rules. An application for SSI is filed with the Social Security Administration.
If you have unpaid medical bills in any of the 3 months prior to the month you apply for SSI, you can apply for Medicaid to cover these month by filing an application with the Division of Medicaid.
For more information, see the Medicaid Eligibility Guide for SSI Recipients and Certain Former SSI Recipients brochure.
Medicaid Eligibility for Certain Former SSI RecipientsCertain former SSI recipients may continue to receive Medicaid. You must be eligible in one of the groups briefly described below:
How To Make Sure You Dont Lose Your Ssdi Benefits
If youre thinking about applying for disability but are still employed, or if youve been receiving benefits but are considering part-time work to help make ends meet, its crucial that you get all the facts before making any decisions that could put your disability benefits in jeopardy.
To get help with applying for Social Security programs, appealing a decision, or just to talk about all your legal options, consider contacting an experienced Social Security disability lawyer at Social Security Disability Advocates USA.
Our friendly legal team will schedule a free consultation to review your case and help you understand the possible impacts of SSDI income limits. Call us today at , chat with us via LiveChat, or send us a message using our secure contact form.
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How Common Is It For Beneficiaries To Return To Work
Both Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security provide incentives for beneficiaries to work. Disability Insurance beneficiaries are encouraged to work up to their full capacity and can earn an unlimited amount for up to 12 months without losing any benefits. Beneficiaries who work for more than 12 months and have earnings above the substantial gainful activity level cease to receive a monthly benefit. If at any point in the next five years their condition worsens and they are not able to continue working above the substantial gainful activity level, however, they are eligible for expedited reinstatement of their benefits. This means they do not need to repeat the entire, and typically lengthy, disability-determination process that they initially went through to qualify for benefits.
Supplemental Security beneficiaries who are able to work are encouraged to do so as well. Their benefits are reduced based on their earningsafter the first $85 of earnings each month, which is not counted against the benefitbut by only $1 for every $2 of earnings. Beneficiaries who are able to do some work will therefore always be better off with both earnings and a reduced benefit than just the benefit alone.
Child Benefits Received From Disabled Parents Calculations
Any Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income payments that parents receive are included as normal parent income for the purposes of calculations.
SSDI/SSI payments are included at the full amount received , but they are subject to the flat amount deductions, halving and non-disabled child deductions noted.
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Does The Ssi Income Limit Apply To New Ssi Applicants
When Social Security first considers your eligibility for SSI, the agency uses an additional income limit: the substantial gainful activity limit.
While the SSI income limit always applies, when the SSA first considers whether an applicant is disabled, the agency will apply the SGA limit. The SSI income limit determines whether you are financially eligible for SSI, while the SGA limit helps determine whether you are too disabled to make much income and, therefore, are medically eligible for SSI.
What We Mean By Disability
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
We consider you to have a qualifying disability under Social Security rules if all the following are true:
- You cannot do work and engage in substantial gainful activity because of your medical condition.
- You cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
- Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings, and investments.
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