Using additional support programs

Social Security Disability benefits often provide a crucial form of support to people who cannot work due to disabling conditions. Still, a Chicago disability attorney knows that residents who receive lower benefit amount may still need additional assistance. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration permits benefit recipients to collect other forms of support. However, some types of assistance can change SSD benefit amounts or eligibility.

Permitted concurrent benefits

Social Security Disability benefit recipients can receive small amounts of income from work. However, the work cannot qualify as “substantial gainful activity.” SGA is defined as follows:

  • Employment with monthly income exceeding $1,800 for blind individuals.
  • Employment yielding monthly income over $1,070 for people with other disabling conditions.
  • Employment involving substantial work duties and hours for self-employed individuals and veterans.

People who qualify for lower SSD benefit amounts may also be entitled to Supplemental Security Income payments. These benefits are awarded based on financial need. The recipient can qualify if his or her SSD benefit falls below $721. The recipient’s total SSD and SSI payments are not added. Instead, the SSD benefit is subtracted from the total available SSI payment. The most the individual can receive collectively is $721.

The Social Security Administration also allows individuals to receive certain other disability benefits while receiving SSD. Private disability benefits, from either an insurance policy or an employer, are acceptable. Veterans may also collect Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits without any impact on their SSD benefits.

Benefits affecting SSD

Some public disability benefits can reduce the SSD benefit amount awarded. If an employee collects workers’ compensation, for instance, total benefits from both programs are capped at 80 percent of the person’s prior average wages. If the workers’ compensation benefits cease and the individual still qualifies for SSD benefits, those benefits will increase accordingly.

Though the SSA permits concurrent SSD and SSI payments, other Social Security benefits are not awarded simultaneously. For example, people cannot collect retirement, disability or spousal benefits at the same time. Instead, the SSA awards whichever benefit amount is highest.

Collecting unemployment benefits does not technically prevent people from receiving SSD benefits. However, people typically cannot qualify for both benefits. Unemployment benefits support people who can work but cannot find employment. SSD benefits assist people who are unable to work for at least 12 months due to medical conditions. Thus, collecting or applying for unemployment benefits can significantly undermine a person’s SSD claim.