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Working and Social Security Disability

The relationship between work activity and receiving SSA disability benefits is complex. In order to be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity ("SGA"). This amount nominally increases each year. In 2017, if a non-blind individual is earning $1170 gross per month on an ongoing basis, SSA's position is that the individual's conditions are not 'severe' enough to impact his or her ability to work. Keep in mind SSA is not setting an income amount that an individual can necessarily live off. The SGA income limit is intentionally low, because Congress intended SSA disability to be for individuals who are significantly impaired and unable to work.

If you are approved for disability, you may attempt to return to the work force. SSA has a "trial work period" where you can attempt to work and still collect disability benefits. There are time limits that apply to the trial work period program. It is important to communicate directly with your local SSA office to advise them of any work attempts that you endeavor. They need to know how many hours per week you are working, and how much gross income (pre-tax income) you make each month. It's best to notify them in writing, so you have a paper trail of your communications in the event there are issues down the road. SSA can pull earnings data regarding income attached to your Social Security number. If they see income that has not been reported to them, it can impact your claim.

You can read more information here about SSA disability work incentive programs:

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.


Midwest Disability, P.A.
408 Northdale Boulevard Northwest
Coon Rapids, MN 55448

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