December 20, 2023


Liz Yoder, CFP®

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How Does Minimum Wage Changes Impact My Disability Income?

On December 19th, CNN reported on minimum wage hikes for 25 US states Minimum wage hikes will take effect in 2024 for 25 U.S. states. Here's who is getting a raise. - CBS News. While three states will now have a minimum wage requirement of $16, others are still hanging out with the federal minimum wage requirement of $7.25.

If you work and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), your monthly income is limited to the substantial gainful activity (SGA) number. That number is also going up in 2024. The new number to watch is $1,550 of countable income for 2024, up from 2023’s limit of $1,470 a month. Learn more about our special needs Certified Financial PlanningTM firm.

Depending on where you live, that could mean the difference between a part-time and a full-time job. If you are still living in a federal minimum wage state, you do not need to limit the number of hours you work based on your Social Security income. A 40-hour work week leads to a full-year salary of $15,080, below the allowable SGA number of $18,600. 

However, if you are fortunate to have been getting annual increases to your income with state legislated updates (often linked to the cost-of-living of your state's most populated areas), you will be limited to 96.875 hours (mathematically) of work a month or just over 22 hours of work a week if paid equally throughout each month (paid once a month or 24 pay periods a year).

Remember that not everyone is paid equally each month; some will have to limit how many hours they take over holidays, busy seasons, or longer months (where there might be three pay periods instead of two). Learn more about our special needs Certified Financial PlanningTM services.

Being disabled looks very different across the country and those who are employed have to balance what they are safely able to take on - physically and mentally - and what gives them the benefits that they need to live safely in their community. 

Always review ways to adjust countable income when close to the Substantial Gainful Activity amount. That can look like reviewing any expenses related to your disability that allow you to continue to work.  These expenses are called Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs).

Self-employed people with disabilities can count their income annually vs monthly and can offset their employment expenses with their income. However, they are limited to working only up to 45 hours a month to be considered a person with a disability in the eyes of the Social Security Administration.

Are you ready to look at more employment and how they impact your benefits? Have you considered reviewing your plans with a specialized financial planner? Reach out to one of our specialized advisors to give you the tools you need to make an informed decision.

We understand the unique financial challenges that families with special needs dependent children of all ages face. Contact our special needs Certified Financial PlannersTM for help.

Contact Our Special Needs Certified Financial PlannersTM