In 2023, the SGA threshold for non-blind individuals is set at $1,310 per month, while for blind individuals, it is $2,190 per month. If an individual’s monthly earnings exceed these thresholds, it is considered “substantial gainful activity,” and they may no longer be eligible for SSDI benefits.
However, the SSA provides certain incentives and programs to support individuals who wish to return to work or engage in part-time employment while receiving SSDI benefits. These programs include the Trial Work Period (TWP) and the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), which provide a grace period during which individuals can test their ability to work without losing their SSDI benefits.
During the TWP, which typically lasts nine months, individuals can earn any amount without affecting their SSDI benefits. The TWP allows individuals to gauge their ability to engage in substantial gainful activity and make an informed decision about their future work prospects.
Following the TWP, the EPE offers an additional 36-month period during which individuals can receive their SSDI benefits for any month in which their earnings fall below the substantial gainful activity level. If the earnings exceed the SGA threshold during the EPE, the individual enters a “cash benefits only” phase, where they continue to receive benefits for any month their earnings are below the SGA level.
Understanding the rules and guidelines surrounding part-time work while on SSDI is crucial for individuals looking to supplement their income or transition back into the workforce. By being knowledgeable about these provisions, individuals can make informed decisions and effectively manage their financial situation while receiving SSDI benefits.