Willoughby, OH asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Social Security for Ohio

Q: Am I allowed to earn money while receiving ssi? If yes how much can I earn, and not affect my payment?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth Prigmore
Kenneth Prigmore

A: FYI, the short answer is any work is a bad idea. SSA doesn't have a minimum amount that is required before they review your file and possibly make a new decision.

The longer answer is that SSA does not review files for a couple of years at a time. To get their attention sooner, you can exceed the maximum allowed amount to be earned before they automatically cut off your payments. That maximum is over $1,100, and it grows a little each year, but I don't know the exact total. Again, this is simply an automatic trigger that will end your payments. If you earn any amount, SSA will eventually review your file someday, and if they decide you should be working, they can revise a decision as old as 3 years ago and demand that you return all of your past monthly payments!

This is not something you want to mess around with. Basically, SSA sees you as either "able to work" or "Unable to work". You don't have control over the in between. If you go back to work, it would be wise to make sure you are ready to support yourself with that work, as SSA may at a minimum stop your payments. At worst, they may investigate to decide if you have been able to work but chose not to.

If you are able to work and support yourself, that is the time to do so. If you aren't sure, ask SSA for a Ticket to Work program that lets you make a work attempt for up to 9 months as an experiment without losing your status. Keep in mind though that SSA uses all evidence to determine your ability to work, and they are often heartless and will not care about issues you have that don't match their rules exactly.

Good luck!

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