Can You Work While Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits
Can you work while applying for Social Security disability benefits? Maybe. It depends on:
- Your gross monthly income
- Which disability program youre applying for
- How many hours youre working
- How long you intend to work or remain in the workforce
I Will Lose My Ssi/ssdi Checks When I Start To Work
It is a common concern to be worried about starting work and not earning enough money to pay your expenses and, at the same time, not getting your SSI/SSDI checks anymore.
Both SSI and SSDI have rules to protect your benefits so you can try working and not worry about losing your cash benefits if you cant keep working, or you need to work fewer hours. Some of these rules are the same if you are on SSI or SSDI, but most of them are different. It is important to know if you are on SSI or SSDI, or both. If you are not sure, you may want to request something called a Benefits Planning Query from your Social Security office to find out. For more information on BPQY, click here. You can also read the first page of this section, which has information on figuring whether you are on SSI or SSDI.
o Be paid by you and not paid or reimbursed by another source
o Relate to a serious medical condition, and
o Be necessary without it, you will be unable to work
Expect Possibly Longer Wait Times
In March 2020, the Social Security Administration mostly shuttered its in-person services.
Today, it is still largely processing correspondence online and via postal mail.
A recent investigation by the Social Security Office of the Inspector General found there have been some big delays for people waiting on application decisions.
Currently, it’s taking about 125 days for the agency to process an initial claim, Geist said. For applications that are reconsidered, there’s an additional four months to six months, he said.
So if you’re planning to file an application for benefits for any disabling condition, including Covid-19 and associated long haul issues, “the earlier, the better,” Geist said.
Can You Receive Social Security Disability Benefit After Your Trial Work Period
After completing your nine-month SGA work trial period, you remain eligible to receive SSD benefits anytime your monthly income falls below the required SGA level. That is, if you earn less than $1,31o, the SSA will pay you what youre entitled to.
However, keep in mind that you will not always be eligible for this. The time frame for SGA eligibility under this head is 36 months. It means that if your income drops below $1,310 within 36 months, you will receive social security disability benefits.
Furthermore, if your monthly income remains over the SSAs minimum, you will still be eligible for SSD benefits in the future. If you are in Milwaukee, you can have your social security disability benefits reinstated if you need to stop working because of your condition.
The SSA law states that youll have to file a new disability application with the agency to qualify for the benefits. A social disability lawyer in Milwaukee will help you expedite the application process and get you the approval you need.
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Who May Be Eligible
SSDI: A worker who becomes disabled. Also, certain family members may be eligible. These family members, with some limitations not fully described below, may include:
- The workers spouse, if the spouse is caring for their child who is younger than age 16 or who is disabled
- The workers spouse, if the spouse is age 62 or older
- The workers child if the child is younger than age 18. If the child is still in grade school or high school full time, the child can receive benefits up to age 19
- The workers child who is age 18 or older, if this adult child is disabled and became disabled before age 22
- The workers divorced spouse, if:
- The divorced spouse is age 62 or older,
- Was married to the worker for at least 10 years, and
- Is not currently married.
SSI: U.S. citizens and certain legal immigrants who are financially needy. Also, who are at least 65 years old, blind or disabled.
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Applying For Disability Benefits
You can call toll free 772-1213 to make an appointment to apply at your local Social Security office. You may apply for SSDI benefits online. You can also start an SSI application online. However, you will need to go into a Social Security office to complete the application. When you apply, you will need to give SSA information about:
- Your medical conditions and treatment,
- How your medical conditions affect your ability to function,
- Information about your past work, and
- Information about your education.
If You File For Disability Does That Mean You Should Quit Your Job
To those asking do you have to be unemployed to file for disability, you do not.
However, as described in the section above, you need to be earning less than the SGA limit, working limited hours, and not be performing work that conflicts with your disability claim.
In order to meet those requirements, you would not be able to keep a full-time job. However, there may be situations where you could keep your existing job and work limited hours.
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‘apply As Early As Possible’
The first thing to realize about applying for Social Security disability benefits is that it is often a lengthy process, Geist said.
Once an initial application is filed with the Social Security Administration, it can take three months to five months to get a decision. If that initial application is denied, it can take four months to six months for the application to be reconsidered on a first appeal, Geist said.
From there, if the application has to be reviewed at a hearing, it can take up to 12 months just to get scheduled before a judge, Geist said.
“Apply as early as possible, because it is a long process,” Geist said.
A 2020 Government Accountability Office report found that about 1.3% of applicants filed for bankruptcy while waiting on their appeals, and 1.2% died before receiving a final decision.
“Many particularly those without legal representation end up wrongfully denied on multiple occasions before finally being approved with a lawyer’s help,” said Rebecca Vallas, senior fellow that the Century Foundation. “Untold numbers spend what savings they have to try to stay afloat while waiting for an appeal to be heard and countless more lose their homes in the process.”
There are about 8.2 million disabled workers collecting benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. Their average monthly benefit is $1,277.
How Income Affects Your Ssi Payment
If you have any income coming in other than SSI, some of it, but not all of it, will be subtracted from your SSI payment.
The SSA will first look to see what income you have is countable. Countable income includes:
- money you earn from work
- food or shelter you get for free, or for less than what its worth
- money you get from friends or family
- other benefits, such as workers compensation, unemployment, SSDI, or a pension.
But not all of your income is subtracted from your SSI payment. Each month, the SSA does not count:
- the first $20 of any kind of income you receive
- the first $65 of money you earn from work, plus half of the remainder
- food stamps
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Are There Exceptions To The Sga Limit
There is some argument that the SGA limit is essentially arbitrary, and is therefore unfair. Someone working at a minimum-wage level in South Carolina, for instance, can work 32 hours a week and still have their monthly earnings come in well under the SGA limit, while someone employed at $12/hour would be capped at a much lower hourly limit for the week. The requirements of jobs at different income levels can vary wildly, and the Social Security Administration has actually taken that into account.
The Social Security Administration can choose to look at things that affect what is called the worth of an individuals work, and that might influence whether or not a particular individual is therefore limited by the SGA amount. One example of this is that Social Security claims representatives are expected to look into whether an individuals work activity is matched by their pay.
Many employers subsidize disabled employees work by paying them a full wage even if theyre not performing to the level that would normally be required to earn that amount, due to their disability.
Can I Apply For Disability While Working
The short answer is, yes, you can apply for disability while working.
However, you need to be earning under a certain amount and the Social Security Administration may look at the number of hours you are working as well as the type of work being performed to ascertain whether you could be working full time.
The amount that you are not allowed to earn more than is called the substantial gainful activity or SGA limit. If you earn more than that amount, SSA assumes you can do a substantial amount of work and determines that you are ineligible for disability. The 2020 SGA limit is $1,260 per month.
I believe working part-time while you are seeking disability benefits is a very risky proposition, and I am not the only experienced disability lawyer who thinks so.
The SSA might also check how many hours you are working per week. If you are working more than part-time, it may be difficult to persuade the SSA that you cannot work and should receive disability.
As part of the disability claim process, the SSA will be looking into what type of work you are capable of doing. If you have regularly been doing work that you claim you cannot do, this will negatively impact your case.
For example, if you injure your back and are applying for disability while working, it wont help your case if you are working stocking shelves while you wait for approval of your claim.
So to those wondering can I work while applying for disability, the answer is yes, but you will need to:
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What Can Cause Benefits To Stop
Two things can cause us to decide that you are no longer disabled and to stop your benefits:
if you work at a level we consider “substantial.”
In 2021, average earnings of $1,310 or more per month are usually considered substantial. The amount of earnings that we consider substantial changes each year.
- if we decide that your medical condition has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled.
Remember, you are responsible for promptly reporting any improvement in your condition, or if you return to work. The booklet we send you when your application is approved explains what you need to report to us. For more information on what else may cause your benefits to stop, refer to How We Decide if You Still Have a Qualifying Disability.
What Is Full Retirement Age
Full retirement age is the age at which you can begin receiving your full benefit amount with no reductions. So, how old do you need to be to be considered full retirement age? It depends on the year in which you were born. If you were born after 1960, then your full retirement age is 67 years old. For those born from 1943 to 1954, normal retirement age is 66 years old. Birth years between 1954 and 1960 get a couple of months added to the full retirement age for each year.
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Can You Get Social Security Disability If You Dont Have Enough Work Credits
You cannot get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits on your own work record if you dont have enough work credits, but you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income payments. While the SSDI program requires applicants to meet a work credits requirement, the SSI program does not.
If your application is approved for SSI benefits, you could receive monthly cash payments, Medicaid, and back pay dating from the month you originally applied. Our firm assists clients who are seeking disability benefits in Rutherfordton and other communities in North Carolina. We take calls day or night, so you do not have to wait to reach out for help.
- An overview of work credit requirements for SSDI
- How you earn work credits
- Why SSDI requires work credits
Syndromes That May Qualify For Disability Benefits
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of genetic disorders that affect the connective tissues in your body, which serve to provide strength and elasticity to your body structure. Ehlers-Danlos can affect your skin, joints, and blood vessel walls the syndrome is characterized by extremely flexible joints and very stretchy, fragile skin.
Guillain Barre Syndrome is an auto-immune disorder where the body attacks its own nervous system. The result of this attack on the peripheral nerves is nerve inflammation that can lead to muscle weakness.
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If youre filing for disability benefits and dont seek treatment for your impairment, your credibility may be jeopardized.
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The Trial Work Period
Your trial work period is about 9 months. This does not need to be consecutive, but once you work a total of 9 months, your TWP is complete. During this time, you are allowed to work as many hours and make as much money as you would like. That being said, an official month of the TWP passes when you make $770 or work more than 80 hours if you are self employed.
There is also an extended period of eligibility that lasts about 36 months. You will still receive your full benefits if you remain disabled and earn less than $1,070 for non-blind individuals and $1,800 for the blind. This is what is called the Social Security substantial gainful activity threshold. If you happen to go over this threshold, you benefits will be reduced. The good thing is that if fall back below it, you full benefits will be reinstated.
Disability Income From Other Sources
If you are receiving disability income from other sources, such as a private insurer or a provincial/territorial program, you may still be able to receive the CPP disability benefit. However, these other sources may change their payments if you are approved for the disability benefit through the Canada Pension Plan.
Contact your insurance company or social assistance program for details about your case.
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How You Earn Work Credits
You earn one work credit for every three-month block that you work a job that pays into Social Security. You buy into Social Security through payroll taxes. For the year 2020, the SSA says that you must earn at least $1,410 per quarter to earn a single work credit, and $5,640 in a year to earn four work credits.
For example, a person who works 30 years at qualifying jobs could earn up to 120 work credits. Note that the number of credits you have beyond the requirement does not affect the amount of benefits you receive through this program.
Receiving Disability Benefits Can Take Longer Than You Think
When I was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis at 18, I had no clue how it would impact my health, let alone ability to work. I was about to attend college, and I would later intern and start working full-time in a corporate office job. For the first few years after my diagnosis, I was doing okay, but I struggled with a limited range of motion in my right wrist, certain parts of both hands, and my right elbow.
Losing any sort of mobility in your upper extremities such as your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders is extremely disabling. We use these parts of our bodies for the simplest of tasks that we dont think twice about until you cant do them with ease anymore. My parents and I were concerned that things were going to keep getting worse.
The first time my parents applied on my behalf in 2007 because I was a minor I was denied because I wasnt seen as disabled enough. Apparently, the proof sent in by my medical doctors didnt qualify me. But a rejection letter took months to arrive. It took until 2008 to get the official denial decision, and by then I was four years into my diagnosis.
In the years after I graduated, my health continued to have its up and downs until I hit a rough patch and working a typical 9-to-5 job became unbearable. As I was still a minor and under my parents insurance until I turned 26, they applied on my behalf yet again in 2011 our second attempt.
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