elderly man working for uber while on social security disability
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You might be able to collect disability benefits and work for Uber if you do not make more money than the earnings limit. The eligibility rules for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are complicated, including the regulations about income limits.

The vast majority of people who apply for SSDI or SSI benefits get denied, but many of them get an award of benefits after one or more appeals. A Texas disability attorney can determine whether, in your circumstances, you can work for Uber while receiving disability benefits.

How Working for Uber Could Disqualify You for SSDI Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages both the SSDI and SSI disability benefits programs. Some of the rules are the same for both programs, but they each have some unique regulations. You cannot exceed the earnings limit if you want to qualify for and continue receiving SSDI or SSI benefits.

The earnings limit for SSDI and SSI is the “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) amount. The maximum allowed amount can vary from one year to the next because the SGA can change with inflation, just like the federal cost of living adjustment (COLA) for other benefits like Social Security retirement income. For the year 2021, the SGA is $1,310 a month for non-blind individuals and $2,190 for people who are statutorily blind.

If you can earn more than the SGA, despite the medical condition that is the justification for your SSDI or SSI application, the SSA will deny your request for disability benefits. The SSA measures disability with both medical and financial yardsticks. No matter how severe your illness, the SSA will declare that you are not disabled if you can make more money than the SGA.

Also, the SSA does not take into account how your disability has reduced your income. Let’s say that you got paid $120,000 a year before you got sick. You had the living expenses commensurate with a $10,000 monthly income. The SSA will apply the same earnings limit to you as to someone who made $3,000 a month before becoming disabled.

How Uber Earnings Could Reduce or Eliminate Your SSI Check

The SSI benefits program has much more restrictive rules about income than SSDI. Your monthly earnings could be below the SGA and still prevent you from receiving SSI benefits.

All countable income will reduce your SSI check dollar-for-dollar. The SSI federal benefit amount is $794. If you have $600 a month in countable income from Uber or some other source, your SSI check would be only $194. Countable income of $794 or more a month will eliminate your SSI benefits.

Let’s say that your entire income is $300 a month in Social Security benefits. The SSA does not count the first $20 you earn a month. That leaves you countable monthly income of $280. After the SSA deducts $280 from the SSI Federal amount of $794, you would receive $514 in SSI benefits.

The SSA does not count all types of income for purposes of calculating SSI benefits. For example, income tax refunds, home energy assistance, and a portion of earned income do not count. The SSA can, however, count the income of other people, like your spouse or parents, toward your income.

A Texas disability attorney can work relentlessly for you to get the disability benefits you deserve. Contact our office today.