Can You Have Investments While on SSDI?

Can you have investments while on SSDI

SSDI investors may find the available resources difficult to navigate. Social Security provides two disability programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SDDI).

SSDI applications generally consider only earned income; however, when considering passive and investment income. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer for this one.

Passive Income

Establishing sources of passive income that require minimal day-to-day maintenance can help you maintain a higher standard of living while on SSDI. Examples include blogging, creating YouTube channels or selling e-books or digital guides.

Investment income is another way of earning passive income, such as interest or dividends generated from savings accounts, mutual funds or real estate investment trusts (REITs). SSA does not count investment income towards its substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit.

Passive income sources beyond investments include rental property management, tax-exempt trust fund payments, workers’ compensation benefits and inheritance. Before investing any form of passive income, however, it is strongly advised that consultation be sought from a disability attorney first; any form of passive income pursued should also be diversified to lower risk and never put yourself into debt to generate this source of revenue.


Stocks (commonly referred to as company shares or equities) play an essential part in many people’s wealth accumulation strategies; however, investing can be daunting for newcomers to the market.

Good news! With some assistance, it is possible to learn how to invest in stocks and other assets without jeopardizing your SSDI benefits. That’s why we have put together this guide – to get you going on this exciting new venture.

Keep in mind, however, that SSDI imposes stringent limitations on how much cash and assets a beneficiary can possess in order to qualify for benefits. You are limited to having no more than $2,000 countable assets per individual and $3,000 total countable assets in joint ownership, such as stocks, bonds and checking/saving accounts – however certain resources such as your home, vehicle and up to $100,000 held in an ABLE account are excluded from this rule. For more information please read our Spotlight on ABLE accounts article.

Real Estate

Social Security Administration disability benefits do not fall into welfare programs, but are instead designed as compensation for payroll taxes paid into the system by people like you who contribute through payroll taxes. Our Allentown disability lawyers can review your property and unearned income to help identify any potential snags so as to safeguard your benefits.

Rental income from property you own won’t affect your SSI benefits as long as it’s earned without performing renovation or maintenance work yourself; otherwise, this income could be considered earned.

Personal property such as furniture and household goods will not count towards eligibility for Social Security Income benefits; however, selling these items to fund investments or purchase additional real estate will count as unearned income and reduce SSI benefits accordingly.

Individual Development Accounts

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) offer people on SSDI an effective means of saving funds that they can use later to start businesses, buy homes or pursue higher education. Unlike other savings options, individual development accounts offer matching funds that help accelerate savings and help the individual reach their goal more quickly. In order to qualify for an IDA account there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled such as not exceeding 200% of federal poverty level or having income that does not exceed that amount.

IDA programs also provide financial literacy classes to equip people with the necessary knowledge and skills necessary for becoming self-sufficient. These sessions may include hands-on budgeting exercises, visits to financial institutions and homework assignments.

One controlled field experiment demonstrated how Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) improve economic well-being for low-income individuals, particularly black renters, by increasing home ownership and asset accumulation. There are over 600 IDA programs operating throughout the US; to find one near you use this online map tool.

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