Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

How Does Working Affect a Disability Application?

by | Mar 22, 2024 | SSD - Social Security Disability |

Working after filing for Social Security disability is one of the most complicated, and yet common, issues in the field.

I’ve had some clients who want to withdraw their application because they’re working part-time and they think they no longer qualify, and yet what they’re doing is perfectly acceptable under the Social Security Administration’s own rules.

In 2024, SSA considers Substantial Gainful Activity, or the amount that disqualifies you from receiving disability benefits, to be $1,550 per month.

That’s not exactly a hard rule though. Exceptions come into play if you are working hours close to full-time or are self-employed. And even coming close to that amount can drastically reduce what you could receive in monthly benefits if you are only eligible for Supplemental Security Income.

Conversely, if you are off work for several months and make above SGA before you have to stop working again, you can still eligible for ongoing benefits, as Social Security will likely consider this to be an unsuccessful work attempt.

But work becomes particularly tricky if it’s something you do continuously during the course of an application.

Let’s say that soon after you file, you find a part-time job that pays around $1,200 a month for 20 hours each week. According to Social Security, this is not SGA.

However, if your case goes to hearing, a judge may take a very different view of this work. Some judges find it admirable that claimants attempt to work after filing, and will follow the letter of the law that this work should not disqualify you from receiving benefits. But others will wonder why you cannot work full-time since these wages are very close to SGA.

It’s a fine line to walk, but one a disability attorney can help you navigate.


Injured At Work?

Find out if you can collect Work Comp benefits too