Social Security has helped millions of individuals over the course of decades that are unable to earn sufficient wages due to injury or illness. While disability is certainly a driving factor in determining who receives Social Security Disability, income and assets play a significant role. A social security disability claims lawyer can help you determine if you are qualified to receive benefits based on your individual circumstances.
Social Security Disability Income Limits
The Social Security Administration looks at a variety of factors in determining financial qualifications for benefits. They look at all income sources, but do not include all of those sources for purposes of determining income.
As an initial matter, we should differentiate between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. For purposes of this discussion, we are talking about SSDI benefits for individuals who are unable to work due to disabilities resulting from injury or illness.
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, you must:
- be under the age of 65
- have an illness or injury contained within the Social Security Administration’s “Blue Book”
- have sufficient work credits
- make less than $1,180 per month
For those individuals who are seeking SSDI because they suffer from blindness, the maximum income amount is $1,970 to cover additional expenses incurred due to coping with blindness.
How Many Work Credits Do I Need for SSDI?
Work credit requirements vary by the age on the date you become disabled. Here is the breakdown, based on the quarter before you turn the designated age:
- 24 years or younger – 6 credits (essentially 1 ½ years of work over the last 3 years)
- 24 years to 30 years – credits equivalent to working half of the years between your 21st birthday and the quarter your disability occurred
- 31 years to 42 years – 20 credits
- 42 years to 62 years – take your age and subtract 12 (for example, if you are 42, you need 30 credits)
- 62 years to just before 65 – 40 credits
What Sources are Used to Calculate Income?
As we mentioned before, not all income sources are used to calculate the maximum amount of income you can have and still receive SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration refers to this as “Substantial gainful activity” and includes:
- ·other activities in which one would customarily be paid
- some volunteer work
- work for a family-owned company
This last one is tricky because even if you don’t get paid for doing something that would generally be paid for, the SSA will include the work you did in calculating your income.
With that said, the SSA will not include as work:
- taking care of yourself
- household chores
- going to school
- going to therapy
- engaging in social activities
The SSA also will not include child or spousal support in calculating income for SSDI purposes, nor do they include passive income such as investments.
If you are having difficulty determining if you qualify for SSDI benefits, contact our New York SSDI lawyers today to discuss your case and see how we can help you get the benefits you are entitled to receive.