What happens if I try to work while applying for Social Security disability benefits?
You can work and still apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. You also may be able to continue working and receive Social Security Disability Benefits. The Social Security Administration will determine if you are eligible for benefits by determining if you are able to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
Substantial gainful activity for individuals who are blind is currently $1,640 (this amount does not apply to Supplemental Security Income benefits). For individuals who are not blind, the monthly substantial gainful activity amount for 2009, is $980 before taxes. If you are making more than the allocated SGA limits the Social Security Administration will automatically deny your benefits and consider you not disabled. For updated SGA annual amounts please review SSA's pulication 05-10003.
Unfortunately, if you are still working after you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income for practical purposes, it may hurt your chances of approval. To receive Social Security Disability benefits the Administrative Law Judge (at the hearing level) or the case examiner at the Social Security Disability application level will be examining your case to determine if you could do any type of work full time. Full time is forty hours per week, which is eight hours, five days a week. The jobs the Administrative Law Judge can consider could be unskilled jobs which could be done sitting, with little or no training, and low stress. Examples of unskilled labor can include the following jobs:
Taper, printed circuit layout
The Social Security Administration could argue you could these jobs with little skill or interaction with a boss, or co-worker. If you are currently working part time at a low skilled job, making $800 per month, the Administrative Law Judge may decide that you could work a little bit more with a little more effort. If he makes this decision, he will conclude you are not disabled.
Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits are for individuals who are unable to work. If you are able to do any type of work over the SGA amount, even if it is a job you have not done before or one you may not be interested in doing, if it is something you could qualify for based on your age, educational background and work history, you will probably not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Your Social Security Disability Attorneys job in your Social Security Disability Hearing is to convince the Administrative Law Judge you are unable to do any type of job full time. This can include even a low stress, simple, unskilled job.
Many individuals have tried several attempts to go back to work and have been unable to maintain employment due to their physical or mental disability. Multiple unsuccessful attempts to return to work can actually help your Social Security Disability Claim. If you have tried to work, but have been unsuccessful, your willingness to try could show the Administrative Law Judge that you are motivated but simply unable to work.
If you are considering filing a Social Security Disability Application or if you have filed and have been turned down, contact a Social Security Disability Attorney who can help increase your chances of receiving either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance at all stages of the Social Security Disability application process.