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Will earning income affect a person's disability benefits?

Actions have consequences in the lives of Georgia residents. A decision in one area of a person's life can have a dramatic impact in another area, whether the person realizes it or not.

When it comes to Social Security disability benefits for illness, the person's ability to continue receiving benefits can be influenced by a wide variety of factors. The person's medical condition and work ability are a few of these factors that can impact the individual's eligibility for benefits. This is not only true when the person is applying for benefits, but after they begin receiving benefits as well.

For instance, many parents have disabled children who receive benefits through the Social Security system. The children may be able to become employed and earn a monthly income. However, parents should be aware that the amount of income earned by the child can impact their eligibility to collect child or child survivor benefits on the parent's work record.

The Social Security Administration uses a certain method to calculate a person's substantial gainful activity over the course of a year. The substantial gainful activity calculation uses average monthly earnings. If these average earnings exceed $1,090, the person's work may be considered substantial gainful activity. After the age of 22, the child could be ineligible for later entitlement as a disabled adult child.

The bottom line is that those with disabilities need to be made aware of the federal regulations and how they impact the person's eligibility for benefits. Otherwise, issues can develop with eligibility, which can be devastating.

Source: PBS, "What you should know about Social Security disability benefits," Laurence Kotlikoff, Oct. 8, 2015

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