Vero Beach, FL asked in Social Security for Florida

Q: It is my understanding that if you are on Social Security Disability then the maximum monthly earnings allowed is $1310

What if you own a small company but do not take any income from it. Does that count against your monthly earning limit?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Does what count? If you don't "take any income from" the company (assuming by "company" you mean a corporation), it might not count as income. On the other hand, if it is a sole proprietorship or one-member LLC, mere failure to transfer the money from the company bank account to your personal account would not mean that you didn't realize the income.

Susan Michele Schaefer
Susan Michele Schaefer
  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Prattville, AL

A: Social Security law defines disability as the inability to do any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

Once you are approved for disability, you must continue to meet the definition of disabilty or you may face a continuing disability review. The presumed SGA amount for 2022 is $1350 for a person who is not blind. (The SGA amount changes so you have to check what is is each year.) If a person works and earns more than that monthly amount (net after taking out any impairment-related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. If you are approved for SSDI, you can work above the SGA amount during your trial work period and extended period of eligibility.

There are special Social Security rules for those who. are self-employed. See 20 CFR § 404.1575. Social Security will evaluate your work activity based on the value of your services to the business regardless of whether you receive an immediate income for your services. To determine if you have engaged in SGA, Social Security will apply three tests. If you have not engaged in SGA under test one, then we will consider tests two and three. The tests are:

(i) Test one: You have engaged in SGA if you render services that are significant to the operation of the business and receive a substantial income from the business.

(ii) Test Two: You have engaged in SGA if your work activity, in terms of factors such as hours, skills, energy output, efficiency, duties, and responsibilities, is comparable to that of unimpaired individuals in your community who are in the same or similar businesses as their means of livelihood.

(iii) Test Three: You have engaged in SGA if your work activity, although not comparable to that of unimpaired individuals, is clearly worth the amount shown in 20 CFR § 404.1574(b)(2) when considered in terms of its value to the business, or when compared to the salary that an owner would pay to an employee to do the work you are doing.

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