Finally getting approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can feel like a huge weight being removed from your shoulders. However, it’s important to remember that in most cases, these benefits are subject to regular review.
Unless you suffer from a condition that is not expected to improve, you will continue to hear from the Social Security Administration (SSA) periodically to provide current information on your condition and your ability to work.
What is “substantial gainful activity?”
That doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility to notify SSA if you do begin working again. SSDI benefits stop if a person is able to engage in “substantial gainful activity (SGA).” That’s determined by monthly income. For 2024, that’s work that pays at least $1,550 per month. If a person is blind that minimum is $2,590.
If a person intentionally takes work that places them below the SGA minimum when they could be earning more, they’ll be required to repay their benefits. The same is true if they don’t notify the SSA as soon as they no longer qualify for benefits.
What if you reach retirement age while receiving SSDI?
Since SSDI and Social Security retirement benefits are both under the umbrella of the SSA, they transition people over to retirement benefits once they reach “full retirement age” or FRA. That’s the age at which people can collect the full amount of retirement benefits they’re entitled to based on their work history.
That used to be 65, but for most people, it’s now 67. Once you reach that age, your benefits will transition. They should be about the same amount, since both types of benefits are based on a person’s work record.
A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that because the SSA is a massive bureaucracy within the even more massive federal bureaucracy that it doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on with individual recipients. That would be a mistake. It does mean, however, that if the agency makes a mistake, it can be difficult to get it corrected. If you have questions or concerns about your SSDI application or benefits, it can help to have experienced legal guidance to protect your rights and your benefits alike.