18624 Man in wheelchair working -

Last Updated on June 13, 2022 by Tresi Weeks

The federal government says it encourages people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments to find jobs—but sometimes ends up discouraging them from working at all, a study has found.

What Happens When The SSA Demands Repayment?

People enrolled in SSDI are allowed to earn a limited amount each month—a ceiling that is $1,350 for 2022—and still receive disability benefits. But when the Social Security Administration (SSA) finds it has overpaid a recipient’s benefit—perhaps because it didn’t process information on their earnings or because the individual with disabilities failed to notify officials about a new job—it slaps them with a demand for repayment for what can sometimes amount to several months-worth of disability payments.

When that happens, people often reduce their hours or stop working altogether, according to a study by Mathematica, commissioned by the SSA. That would appear to work against the SSA’s intention of encouraging recipients to work and even eventually to exit SSDI altogether.

The researchers were testing the accuracy of some reports that notification of “work-related overpayments cause beneficiaries to take a negative view of work and to stop engaging in [work].”  They found that notices of overpayment were associated with a 3 to 4 percent drop in the number of notice recipients engaging in gainful employment.

The study is set to be published in an upcoming issue of Contemporary Economic Policy.

To read a working paper on the study’s findings, click here.

For a summary of the study’s findings from the Center for Retirement Research, click here.

You can also speak to a special needs lawyer if you have dealt with a demand for repayment from the SSA or have lost income as a result of your SSDI enrollment.

Communication resulting from use of this web site does not create an attorney-client relationship. You will need to meet with an attorney and sign a separate written retainer agreement.