The Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur
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Can you start a business if you are receiving SSD benefits?

Living with a disability is challenging. For some, this means giving up working because they simple are physically unable to. The inability to work not only impacts a person financially but could also impact their quality of life. Thus, those living with disabilities seek other outlets to fill this void and even obtain an income. Social Security disability benefits can help with meeting a person's basic needs, but sometimes it just simply is not enough.

Can you start a business if you are receiving SSD benefits? The simple answer to this is yes. Many SSD recipients are afraid that their benefits will be revoked the second they start earning money, but this is not always the case. There are three steps that determine if the work a person is doing is substantial gainful activity. This includes the significant services and substantial income test, the comparability test and the worth of work test.

In 2017, substantial income was considered to be $1,170 a month. If a disabled person earns more than this a month, he or she could lose their benefits. The comparability test compares the recipient to others doing the same type of business when it comes to responsibilities, duties, skills, energy output and hours worked. Finally, the worth of work test looks at the value of the business to determine if it is worth more than $1,170 a month.

Because the Social Security Administration wants recipients to return to work and their normal life, but they know that those seeking to return to work may not be able to fully return to work. Thus, the SSA provides a trial period. If a self-employed person earns $840 a month after expenses or is able to work more than 80 hours a week on his or her own business, their trial work month will begin. Any month where their earnings are not substantial, SSD benefits can still be received.

Ensuring you are able to meet your basic needs while living with disabilities is important. However, because many desire to return to work, this can cause some confusions and concerns. Thus, it is important to understand your rights and options in this and other SSD matters.

Source:, "Starting a Small Business While on Social Security Disability 101," D. Baier, Dec. 12, 2017

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