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How will the Stimulus Check Impact my Disability Claim?

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Will the 2021 Stimulus Impact my Disability Claim?

When filing for Social Security Disability, one step of the process is listing any income earnings you received for a given year. This is to show whether you earned any income from work, which can impact your claim if it is over a certain amount. With the next round of stimulus checks being approved under President Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Bill 2021, a common question is, does that stimulus check impact a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim or a Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) claim?

Am I Even Qualified for Stimulus Relief?How will the Stimulus Check Impact my Disability Claim?

Under the most recent legislation for stimulus relief, those that earned as much as $75,000, or couples making $150,000, plus their children or adult dependents, qualify for the full $1,400 per person. The first stimulus checks are to be delivered via direct deposit for those that have filed a 2019 or preferably a 2020 tax return starting March 13, 2021, with everyone that qualifies set to receive their check by the end of March. However, another round of stimulus checks raises other questions, specifically how it relates to an SSDI/SSI Claim.

Do I Need to Report My Stimulus Check as Income?

Perhaps the most pressing concern for people applying for Disability benefits is whether the $1,400 stimulus check qualifies as income. 

The reason this is an issue is due to the fact that when applying for Disability, the core issue of the claim is that the claimant cannot work any job on a full-time basis. When filing a Disability Claim, earning records will be requested, and this will show how much the claimant earned while they were working. 

The issue comes with any income generated after the alleged onset date (AOD), which is the date the claimant is asserting is the day they could no longer work on a full-time basis due to their disabling condition. The concern many have is, “if I have generated income after my AOD, will that negatively impact my claim?”

The good news is that income generated after the AOD does not guarantee that your claim will be denied. In a Disability Claim, a claimant is allowed to generate a certain amount of income after the AOD if the amount does not exceed $1,310 for non-blind disabled SSDI or SSI applicants and $2,190 for blind SSDI applicants. This is referred to as an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA); this is used in a Disability Claim to explain why someone generated income after the AOD. This explains that after the AOD, the claimant attempted to work but quickly realized that they could no longer work on a full-time basis. This allows for income to be generated after the AOD without resulting in a denied claim. The question then turns to, does a stimulus check need to be reported as income, and what does that mean for a Disability Claim?

The answer is, stimulus relief does not qualify as income. 

According to the 2021 COVID-19 Relief Bill, stimulus money is not required to be listed as income. 

Therefore, the $1,400 from the most recent stimulus bill will not impact your Disability Claim and will not appear as income generated for 2021. Given that this money will not be listed as income, it will not impact any income that may or may not be generated for 2021.

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