Social Security Disability is a federally run insurance program set in place to assist people who are having a difficult time working. On average, people who are applying for social security disability benefits are not able to earn any type of income. But, what if you are able to work a small amount? Would you be eligible to receive disability benefits and still work a little? The answer is yes. You can still work and potentially be eligible for disability benefits as long as you are earning less than a certain amount per month.
A five-step analysis will be performed when you apply for Social Security Disability benefits. The first step in the process is to determine if you are earning substantial gainful activity (SGA). To be eligible for these benefits, a person must be unable to engage in SGA. Substantial gainful activity is a monthly income amount that social security sets. This amount changes every year. For 2017, the SGA amount is $1,170. You are able to work as long as you are working part-time and earning less than SGA which happens to be $1,170 per month. Keep in mind, this amount is in gross, before taxes.
So to get past the first step in the five-step process you must show you are not engaging in SGA level activity, or you are earning less than $1,170. While technically you may work part-time as long as you earn under SGA, there may be other drawbacks for your claim. The most obvious drawback would be trying to explain to SSA or a Judge that yes while you are able to work part-time you are unable to work a full-time position. This is something that can be easily explained as long as the work you are doing is not more exertional than your past work. For example, you worked as a receptionist in a law firm for 15 years.
Due to a combination of physical and mental reasons you are unable to continue that employment. While applying for disability benefits, you obtain a job working part-time at Publix as a cashier, earning less than SGA. You will certainly pass the step 1 part of the five-step sequential evaluation process. However, you may run into a problem when you are trying to explain to the Judge what your physical and mental limitations are. You changed from a sit-down job to a job where you are mostly on your feet. This may be problematic to explain to the Judge. In this scenario, you would certainly want an experienced disability attorney to be handling your case.
In conclusion, you can work part-time while applying for social security disability benefits as long as you earn under SGA. If you are working, I highly recommend you retain an experienced SSD attorney to handle your claim. You may pass step 1 of the evaluation process but certainly getting past the following steps will be difficult to explain. At the LaBovick Law Group, we provide free consultations to all of our clients. We know the application process is very long. We understand that you may need to earn some type of income to at least stay in your home, pay the utilities, and put food on the table. We are well versed in arguing cases in front of judges where our clients are working part-time. Do not hesitate to call us today about your situation.