Can I Start A Business And Receive Survivor Benefits At The Same Time?

May 14 2020 - 7:56am

I'm new to all of this, but I'm going to give it a shot.. I'm 48, widowed at 46 and raising my 2 grandchildren, which I have complete custody off.. I receive survivor benefits for all of us and I'm currently under review for disability due to a accident, that has permanently messed up my neck and my ability to do things.. I'm so used to being active I fell like I'm losing it at times. I'm considering starting a small ice cream truck business but I'm not sure if I'm aloud to do that and get survivor benefits at the same time.. so my question is, can I?


I'm sorry for your loss.

You can work and draw all of your survivor benefits as long as you don't earn more than the Social Security earnings test annual exempt amount, which in 2020 is $18,240. If you earn more than that, Social Security would need to withhold $1 of your 2020 benefits for each $2 that you exceed the exempt amount. Social Security counts as earnings any combination of gross wages and/or net earnings from self-employment. Your grandchildren's benefits wouldn't be affected by your earnings, though, regardless of how much you earn.

If you've filed for disability benefits from Social Security then your work and earnings could cause you to be ineligible for those benefits. Normally, average monthly earnings of more than $1,260 per month is considered by Social Security to be substantial gainful activity (SGA), which can make a person ineligible for disability benefits. If you do start working and you have applied for disability benefits, you'll need to report the details of your work to Social Security so that they can determine whether or not you could still qualify for disability benefits.

Best, Jerry