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Just awarded SSDI, and I have a small business wanting to pay me royalties for a ebook I wrote... Can I pursue this opportunity

Kingsport, TN |

I was just awarded SSDI, and I know that I am limited to the amount of money I can make, without losing my benefits. However, I just had an offer from a small business that wants to pay me for the rights to use an ebook I wrote. If everything was to go as suggested I would receive somewhere around 30k. Which is GREAT money, but not enough for me to want to risk losing my benefits.

Since this money would not be made from any physical labor, is there away I can accept this offer, without losing my benefits. One thought I had was to setup a corporation under my childs name and "LET" them receive the money... Is this a good idea or is there another way that I can leagally take advantage of this opportunity.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Generally, only money earned from the active efforts of a worker will be a problem when getting Social Security disability. When you wrote the book (while disabled?) and when you marketed the book to the publishers / small businesses will be important issues.

    One could, form at least a two-member LLC; let the LLC receive the royalties, then pay your self a monthly salary of less than SGA (currently $1000), the closer to SGA you earn the more likely SSA is to look at where the income actually is coming from.

    Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.

  2. I would contact a local probate attorney in your area. There are sometimes ways to set up trust accounts to have the money put aside for health or other needs. There is also a program through the Social Security Administration called "Ticket to Work" which allows a person receiving SSD benefits to recieve income above SGA ($1000 per month) for up to nine months. You need to contact Social Security and ask for the ticket to work and then activate the ticket through a local employment network.

  3. Being paid for a book you wrote sounds a lot like wages. After all authors write for a living. If you can earn wages, then you may not be considered disabled. If the payment were made, the purchaser would issue you a 1099. Currently, making more than $1000 a month is considered substantial gainful activity and means you are not disabled. I guess if this was work you did before you became disabled that might help. However, you may have done this while were disabled. That would create a problem. Perhaps, the trial work period will help you as suggested above. You may also want to talk to an accountant. Perhaps the 30K could be paid in the form of an annuity with payment at just a couple of hundred per month.

    This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice.

  4. What you are proposing sounds like gainful work activity and not a mere passive receipt of investment income. Technically, this sounds like self-employment and the SSA generally has strict rules on avoiding SGA when doing self-employment. There probably are ways to structure the payment to avoid adversely affecting your SSD, but you need competent SSA legal advice after given a more detailed explaination of all the facts.

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