How Much Can You Earn If You're on Disability?


For many, receiving disability benefits are imperative because of their inability to work. But if you think you might be ready to return to work, the Social Security Administration offers several incentives.


  • For the year 2011, the Social Security Administration allows a trial work period, in which you can earn a minimum of $720 per month for up to nine months. There is no cap on the amount of money you make, as long as you report it. You will keep your full disability benefits while you work as long as you are still deemed disabled. This also applies to self-employment, but you must make a minimum of $720 a month after expenses.

Back-to-Work Incentives

  • After the nine-month trial period ends, you may be eligible to receive benefits for an additional 36 months for any month that you did not make at least $1,000 without having to file a new application. You also have a five-year period to restart your full benefits if you have been able to earn a substantial living -- $1,000 monthly or more -- but had to quit due to your disability. A new disability application is not needed if it's within the five-year period.

Reporting Your Work Activity

  • Make sure to always report your work activities, such as starting work or quitting, your wages and duties and related work expenses.


  • Photo Credit parking image by Judyta Zarska from
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