Hi! I have been disabled since 2007 for cancer. I had my trial work period in 2008 and up having a mini stroke. I have not worked since. I have been approached by a major beauty brand to use my images they saw on Instagram for their campaign!! They want to pay me between 12-17,000 dollars! I called ss and they said the limit is based per year, not per month. I see some posts saying its per month. I can’t lose my Medicare benefits as my health is not good. But I am afraid that ss will take them away if I accept this payment. When I was going through chemo they first denied me benefits!!! I cannot work on a regular basis but this is such a validation of my creativity. But peace of mind with healthcare is more important. I truly appreciate your feedback!! Thank you.
You are allowed to work while receiving SSDI, but you cannot engage in substantial gainful activity. SGA is a monthly amount that changes from year to year. In 2016 that amount is $1130 per month. https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html
If you were to have your payment for photos made in smaller monthly installments rather than one lump, you could receive less than $1000 per month. You might consider leasing your images for $1000 per month for a one to two year term.
While not all income is considered in determining SGA, yours would be. It would be 'work performed for pay or profit' through significant 'physical or mental effort.' https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/eng/definedisability.htm#&a0=1
If you'd really like to sell the images, I would suggest selling the use of the image on a monthly basis for an amount substantially less than the SGA threshold. This activity could still open you up to potential review, but is safer than receiving $12-17,000 in income all at once.
Go and speak with a lawyer to find out your options.
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This is a complicated issue in my opinion. Your SSDI is reduced or perhaps even eliminated if you work and earn income. However, I am not clear if you have performed any work in exchange for this income.
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You may be ok if this is a one shot payment. You need to find out exactly what they want to pay you and whether there would be residual payments. You should then go see a local Social Security attorney for a consult to make sure you can accept the payment without losing benefits.
Answers on Avvo are not to be considered a response to a specific legal issue in a specific jurisdiction - they are to be considered only general responses to hypothetical questions and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. For specific legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. No information contained here should be taken as a solicitation for business or an offer to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which the attorney Alise M Kellman is not licensed.
Very tough question. There is no clear rule or legal precedent for this issue. If you are paid for this, expect to have to fight it out when Social Security picks up the income.
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