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SSDI Income Limits in 2020

If you are disabled, you may be eligible for monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments. To qualify for SSDI, your condition must be serious enough to limit your ability to earn a living. Earning a living does not necessarily mean you cannot work – you may still work and earn some money while receiving SSDI benefits. However, there are strict income limits in place, and your ability to work may disqualify you from receiving SSDI benefits. The Pennsylvania and New Jersey disability lawyers at Young Marr & Associates will help you understand the SSDI income limits for 2020.

Social Security Disability Requirements and Limits in 2020

You must meet several requirements set by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to qualify for SSDI benefits. Your physical or mental disability must substantially limit your ability to support yourself financially. If you are capable of earning a living, the SSA will reject your disability claim.

The SSA defines being able to support yourself financially as “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). As a practical matter, the SGA is a monthly income threshold that you may not exceed while receiving SSDI benefits. For 2019, the SGA threshold was $1,220 a month. The SSA has increased the SGA amount to $1,260 per month for 2020.

If you are blind, the threshold is higher. For 2019 the income limit for a blind person is $2,040 per month. This limit will increase to $2,220 per month for 2020.

Additional Requirements for SSDI Benefits

The SGA income threshold is one factor in determining whether you qualify for SSDI benefits, but the SSA will also look at factors such as the severity of your condition. Your disability must be severe enough to limit your ability to support yourself financially. Additionally, your condition must be expected to last more than twelve months or result in death. The SSA publishes a manual of impairments that lists the medical conditions that qualify for SSDI benefits. Known as the “Blue Book,” this publication is available online and contains specific definitions of each qualifying condition, allowing you to determine whether your condition is severe enough to meet the SSA’s standards. While some of these definitions match with typical medical or mental health definitions, some are more strict so that only severe instances of that condition qualify. Talk to a lawyer for help understanding whether your condition is “severe enough” to get you disability payments.

You must also have also earned enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI benefits. Work credits are the measurement unit of time the SSA uses to determine if you qualify for social security benefits. Workers accrue work credits when they pay their Social Security taxes over the years they spend working before their disability. On average, you will need 40 work credits – 20 of which were earned in the previous 10 years – to qualify for disability benefits.

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey disability lawyers at Young Marr & Associates will help you determine if you are eligible for disability benefits.

Earning Income While Collecting Social Security Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania and NJ

Your medical condition must limit your ability to support yourself financially. However, the SSA allows you to earn income under a “trial work period” (TWP). The purpose of the trial work period is to ease you back into the workforce. The TWP allows you to work and earn income while still collecting your disability benefits.

The trial work period allows you to work, testing whether or not you can once again support yourself financially. Earning nine nonconsecutive months of a certain income threshold might stop your benefits, but a TWP can be good for short-term employment while receiving disability. The monthly income threshold for 2019 is $880. This threshold will increase to $910 in 2020.

Therefore, any month you earn $910 or more outside of your disability payments will count towards one of your nine TWP months. Once you exceed nine months of earning more than $910, you will no longer be able to work and collect disability benefits at the same time. If you are self-employed, there is an additional limit of working 80 hours per month. Earning less than $910 should not count towards the TWP, but you must still report all income from work to the SSA.

If you are currently working while collecting disability benefits or you plan on returning to work, you need to be aware of all the potential consequences of working while on disability. Call our Pennsylvania and New Jersey disability attorneys to ensure you are not jeopardizing your benefits and to learn how to properly report your income and expenses to the SSA.

Call a Pennsylvania and New Jersey Disability Attorney Offering Free Consultations

If you or a loved one is disabled, you must talk to a disability attorney about your benefits and their restrictions. The experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey disability lawyers at Young, Marr & Associates will fight for your benefits. Our attorneys can help you if you are working, or are attempting to work while collecting disability benefits. To schedule a free consultation to review your benefits or your ability to work, contact our law offices today. In New Jersey, call (609) 557-3081, and in Pennsylvania, call (215) 515-2954.


Before coming to Young, Marr & Associates, our SSD attorneys worked for the SSA which gives us an advantage over attorneys who have never dealt directly with the internal SSA system. We know the process is difficult – your job is to get better, and our job is to make sure you get the disability you deserve.

Chances are you are preoccupied dealing with a painful illness. You are concerned about your financial future, about how you will get by without a steady source of income.

Read what our clients have to say about us.


“I have already recommended Paul Young numerous times. He was honest, explained endlessly in terms that were understandable. Paul Young guided me through the process from beginning consultation to the end of case. Highly satisfied and grateful for his expertise.”


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