Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)
There is a trial work period during which Social Security Disability recipients can make more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount without losing disability benefits.
SGA amounts are currently set at $1010 per month for most SSDI recipients and $1690 per month for those who are blind. During a trial work period, you are allowed to test your ability to work for at least nine months.
Regardless of how much you earn, you can continue to receive your full disability benefits during this period as long as you are working while disabled.
After your trial work period ends, there is a 36-month period in which you can work and still receive disability benefits for any month your earnings fall below the SGA amount. This is your Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE).
Extended Period of Eligibility
Your Extended Period of Eligibility lasts for 36 consecutive months and begins the month after your trial work period ends. During your Extended Period of Eligibility you can continue to receive disability benefits as long as your gross earnings remain below $1010 per month ($1690 if you are blind).
If your gross earnings exceed the SGA amount during any month of your Extended Period of Eligibility, you will enter a three-month grace period. During this grace period you will continue receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments regardless of your earnings. After the grace period ends you will not receive SSDI payments for any months in which your earnings reach the SGA amount. If your earnings remain below the SGA amount, your SSDI payments will resume, but if your earnings remain at the SGA amount or above, you will no longer be eligible for SSDI benefits.
Because work expenses relating to your disability are taken into consideration, it is possible to earn substantially more than the SGA amount and remain eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration deducts the cost of any disability-related items or services necessary for your work from your earnings when determining whether you are eligible to continue receiving disability payments. Even items and services helpful in your daily life are eligible for this deduction as long as they are necessary for your work. Examples of items and services that may qualify for this deduction include counseling services, a personal attendant, a wheelchair, and co-payments for prescription drugs you need in order to work.
The fact that you are working while disabled, even if your earnings stay below the SGA amount, my influence a disability claims examiner or a disability judge who is considering your claim. For help making an informed decision about working while receiving SSDI benefits, you can contact a Social Security Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project. WIPA projects are community-based organizations providing information and assistance to people receiving disability benefits who are working or considering work. A WIPA community work incentive coordinator can help you understand how work may affect your disability benefits and can explain what other support may be available for people with disabilities who want to work.
Call 1-866-968-7842 (TTY 1-866-833-2967) to locate the WIPA project nearest you.
Making an informed decision is always the best thing you can do. If you would like to know more about your SSDI options, click here for a free SSDI evaluation. If you have any further questions about Social Security Disability, a qualified MedicareMall agent will be happy to answer them. We’ll also be glad to answer any questions you may have about Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Advantage, or Medigap plans.
Contact MedicareMall now and we’ll make it our priority to help you make the best-informed decisions possible.