Can I Collect SSDI & a Job Disability Pension at the Same Time?

••• Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Although Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is designed to provide income to those who are restricted from working due to a disability, it may not be enough. Fortunately, if you receive SSDI you are not prohibited from receiving other financial help. A disability pension from your job has no impact on your ability to obtain, or continue receiving,SSDI. You must, however, meet other important criteria to receive disability benefits through Social Security.

Disability Definition

Social Security defines a disability strictly as a condition that will last at least a year, or will result in death. You must also be unable to continue doing the work you did before, and you must be unable to switch to a new line of work. There isn’t a single list of qualifying disabilities, but Social Security pays benefits to people with physical, mental and behavioral disabilities. Even a debilitating combination of less severe disabilities may qualify you for SSDI.

Income Requirements

You can not receive SSDI while earning more than $1,000 a month from working — although the Social Security Administration encourages disabled workers to get back into the workplace if they are able. When determining your eligibility for SSDI, Social Security only counts your wages earned from your employer, or from yourself if you are self-employed. Your job disability pension isn’t included as part of your income, so you needn’t worry if it boosts your total earnings to more than $1,000 a month.

Previous Requirements

SSDI isn’t a welfare program for anyone who has a disability. Instead, it is more like retirement benefits: you must have worked long enough while paying Social Security taxes to qualify for it. Your work requirement varies depending on your age. The younger you are, the less work you need to qualify. For example, if you are under 24, you need six credits, which is typically about 1 1/2 years of work, in the three years leading up to your disability.

When a Pension Affects Social Security

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), unlike SSDI, counts pensions as part of your income. So if your work disability pension causes your income to exceed a certain amount, you will not be eligible for SSI. As of 2011, to receive SSI, your total income, including your pension, can be no more than $694 a month.