After filing for Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to be aware that it is a fairly lengthy process. You will have to complete all necessary Social Security forms and work diligently to ensure all your medical records are requested. If your claim is denied at the initial and reconsideration levels, then you will need to request a hearing with an administrative law judge which will take some time to get scheduled. In fact, some hearings are not scheduled until one to two years after initially filing your application for Social Security Disability benefits. Therefore, there is a large waiting period from the time you file until the time you get in front of a judge. So, it’s not surprisingly that one of the most common questions asked is the following: Can I still try and work while my claim is pending? The short answer is that Social Security does take into consideration if you are working while your claim is pending. In fact, the first step in any disability case is looking at whether an individual is working and how much they are earning. Any employment meeting the criteria for or above “substantial gainful employment” will cause an issue in your Social Security Disability case. Simply put, substantial gainful employment is a monetary monthly amount set by Social Security which changes each year. For example, for the year 2023 substantial gainful employment is $1,470 per month. It is important to remember these are gross wages earned and not net wages you take home. To illustrate, an individual working 20 hours a week at $15 an hour would earn $1,200 per month and it would not be considered substantial gainful employment. However, an individual working 30 hours a week at $15 an hour would earn $1,800 per month and that would be considered over substantial gainful employment. Overall, working while your claim is pending will not automatically end your claim, but it is important to keep in mind the monetary monthly limits considered. It is also important to be aware of how working even under substantial gainful employment may affect how your claim is viewed by a judge. Therefore, it is vital to work with an experienced law firm to better understand the potential consequences of trying to work while your claim is pending.
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