Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

Can I work while waiting for SSI/SSDI benefits?

by | Feb 24, 2022 | SSD - Social Security Disability Process And Benefits |

The short answer is yes, but it is a little more complicated than that.

While you can work part time in most cases while awaiting your hearing or even while collecting benefits, the amount you can work is based on the amount of dollars you earn not the hours worked. Many people assume since they are only working 30 hours a week it is part time, but in many cases 30 hours a week is too many hours.

The amount you can earn is called Substantial Gainful Activity, and it is an amount set by the Social Security Administration. It changes every year, generally going up by 10-50 dollars annually to account for inflation.

In 2022, you can earn $1,350 per month before taxes, so no more than 20 hours a week at minimum wage if you live somewhere like Chicago, with a minimum wage of $15 an hour. While 20 hours a week at $15 an hour would not put you over Substantial Gainful Activity, it would put you right at the limit, so if you took even once extra shift over the course of a month you would exceed the amount allowed. This is why we suggest you do not plan to earn the absolute limit of Substantial Gainful Activity, to give yourself some room if you have to pick up an extra shift or are given a raise or bonus.

If you earn more than the amount allowed under Substantial Gainful Activity, the hearing process ends right there at STEP ONE, as you are not eligible for either Supplemental Security Income benefits or Social Security Disability Income benefits.



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