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Reporting Monthly Work Activity

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What to Know

When applying for benefits and during certain work phases, eligibility for SSDI, SSCDB, and DWB depends on if your work is at or below Substantial Gainful Activity, or SGA. Social Security measures SGA by looking at your earnings, the support and accommodation you use when working, and other factors. It is important to let Social Security know about your work situation so they can make a correct decision about SGA.

When do I report work information?

Social Security does not require reporting your earnings unless your work activity changes. When Social Security learns about a change, they will send you a “Work Activity Report,” which asks you to provide wage and other work information. The Work Activity Report may request information about your work from the date when you last completed the report. This means you may be asked to report on work that has occurred over several months or years ago.

Even though Social Security will contact you for this information, we highly recommend you also report your income to Social Security each month. By reporting monthly:

Social Security may tell you that you do not have to report monthly. However, reporting regularly will help you manage your benefits, prevent large overpayments, and plan for your future.

Reporting wages

Report the gross wages – earnings before taxes and other deductions – that you EARN (not receive) in a month. You should report income from all jobs you are working at.

Determining what you earn in a month can be confusing. For example, if you receive a paycheck on August 10th, some of your earnings may be for work you did in July, and some of it may be for work you did in August.

One way to count monthly earnings is to track the hours you work each day on a calendar. You then add the hours worked in the month and multiply those by your hourly wage.

When reporting wages, include a statement of the total hours you worked in a month, copies of your wage stubs, and a note of which workdays were covered under which paycheck.

If you are not able to show Social Security the wages you earn in a month, Social Security may instead look at the earnings you RECEIVE in a month. This can be a problem for people who are paid every two weeks: twice a year, you will receive three paychecks in a month. The extra paychecks give Social Security the wrong impression that you worked more in those months. This can affect their decision on SGA.

Reporting other countable earnings

Other types of earnings you should report include:

For Example...

Cobalt receives a $300 bonus in November for work he did in July, August, and September. He lets Social Security know the bonus was for those three months. Social Security applies the $300 bonus evenly over the months when it was earned: $100 in July, $100 in August, and $100 in September. If Cobalt had not explained to Social Security when he earned the bonus, they might have applied the full $300 bonus to the month when he received it.

Reporting income that does not count toward SGA

Social Security only looks at the work you performed when deciding about SGA. If you are paid for a time when you did not work, you should make that clear to Social Security so they will not count the income as earnings. Examples include:

Reporting Work Incentives

When reporting income, you can include any documents related to work incentives. (You should first let Social Security know about any work incentive before submitting documents.)

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