Can I get SSDI benefits if I am self-employed?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | SSDI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that aids people with disabilities when they cannot work. The main conditions for qualifying for this program are your medical condition and work history. But if you are self-employed, how is work history measured?

Why is work history measured for SSDI claims?

To claim SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough, paid Social Security taxes and earned enough work credits. If you have paid Social Security taxes for a sufficient number of years, you are as eligible for SSDI benefits as company employees. Your monthly benefit is calculated based on your work credits, computed using your income and contributions. You must submit a comprehensive work history when applying for SSDI to increase your chances of approval.

How does substantial gainful activity affect SSDI claims?

If you are self-employed, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will also evaluate your current level of work activities and earnings. With the presumption that your medical condition limits your capability to earn income, you should not be engaging in substantial gainful activities (SGA). The SSA will consider your work activity SGA if it meets one of the following criteria:

  • Your work is significant to the business operations, and you have gained income beyond the SGA level.
  • Your work is comparable to work done by a person without impairment.
  • Your work is worth more than the SGA earning guidelines.

SSA determines the threshold of income earned in SGA every year. For 2024, the SGA ceiling is $1,550 per month.

Self-employed individuals report their earnings and pay their taxes differently, but they also have the right to claim SSDI benefits when needed. The process is complex, and seeking the assistance of a legal professional experienced in Social Security Disability claims could increase your chances of getting an approval.