Applying for Social Security Disability While Working
Many people with physical impairments or chronic illnesses are capable of working a few hours per day or a few hours per week. If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to hold down a full-time job and you're thinking about applying for Social Security disability benefits, you may be wondering if it's possible to work while applying for benefits. If you're under the age of 55 and have a part-time job, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may assume that you're also capable of working full-time and thus deny your application. If you're over the age of 55 and have a part-time job, you are likely to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Regardless of your age, to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, your monthly income must not exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount, which is $1,000 per month as of 2011. Keep in mind that any rent payments you receive for properties you own and interest and dividends from savings accounts and stocks also count as income. Some people try to limit their earnings in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, but their efforts often backfire. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) usually figures it out when applicants deliberately limit their income. Here are two important questions to answer if you're considering applying for disability benefits: 1. If you have a job, can you perform the work five days a week, eight hours a day on a sustained basis? 2. If you're looking for a job, are there a sufficient amount of jobs that you're capable of performing in your area? If your answer to either question is no, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Speak with Your Doctor Discuss your limitations with your doctor before applying for jobs. If your physician suggests that you're not fit to return to work at this point in time, develop a plan with him to determine what treatments you'll need to be able to start working again. Limit your employment based on your abilities, not the SGA limit. If your attempts to return to work fail, talk to your doctor, so your treatment can be adjusted. If you've taken every possible step to return to work but find that you aren't capable of working full-time anymore, then apply for Social Security disability benefits. Doctors are generally more inclined to support a disability claim when they see that the patient has made a significant effort to continue working. It's also important to note that employment attempts that last six months or less and end because of a disability are considered unsuccessful work attempts by the SSA, even if the earnings exceed the SGA amount. However, if an applicant's work attempt lasts longer than six months and he earns more than $1000 per month, the SSA will conclude that he is capable of performing work at the substantial level. Want to Apply for Social Security Disability While Working? Talk with a Social Security disability lawyer to find out how your income will affect your Social Security disability application. If you have a part-time job, a Social Security disability attorney can ensure that your job won't harm your disability claim. For a free evaluation, give Atlanta disability attorney Louis B. Lusk a call at 800.883.7043 (or 404.250.7000) or fill out our online contact form.