Frequently Asked Questions About Working With A Disability
How will working affect my disability benefits and health care coverage?
This is a complicated question and the answer varies by situation and individual. In order to address your specific concerns about how working will affect your disability benefits or health care coverage, we have Disability Resource Coordinators available in some of our One-Stop Career Centers around the state. All of our Disability Resource Coordinators are certified benefits counselors who can provide free benefits counseling and tell you about the Ticket to Work Program. Go to the Disability Employment Initiative , to locate a Disability Resource Coordinator near you.
What is the Ticket to Work Program?
Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program that can help Social Security Beneficiaries go to work and become financially independent. Individuals ages 18-64 who receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income may qualify for this program. To find out more about the Ticket to Work Program, go to the Disability Employment Initiative to contact a Disability Resource Coordinator.
Can I return to work while receiving Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income ?
If I go to work, will I automatically lose my Medicare or Medicaid?
If I use my Ticket to go to work, will the Social Security Administration conduct a medical review of my case?
How can the local One Stop Career Center in my county assist me with the Ticket to Work Program?
What If You Have To Work To Feed And Clothe Your Family
Not surprisingly I get this question frequently I am in extreme pain or otherwise symptomatic but I have to work to support myself and my family. My employer doesnt know how sick I am and I am barely getting by.
Unfortunately I do not have a good answer. You have to assume that the Social Security adjudication process can take 12 to 18 months and work over SGA level will hurt your case.
If you are out of work for at least 12 months you can pursue a closed period of disability but if you return to work before being out for a full year you most likely will not have a viable case.
As you can see, there are practical issues with winning disability benefits. No matter how sick or uncomfortable you are, you need both medical support to describe your limitations and you have to be able to survive for one to two years without income while you wait for your case to wind through the SSA system.
What’s The Difference Between Ssdi And Ssi
Social Security disability insurance is a benefits program administered by the Social Security Administration . It’s like an insurance program for individuals who’ve earned enough “work credits.” Credits are earned by working and paying FICA taxes .
If you’ve worked long enough at a job where you paid Social Security taxes, you’ll have enough credits to be eligible for SSDI benefits. SSDI falls under Title 2 of the Social Security Act and is paid out of the Social Security trust fund.
Supplemental Security Income is a low-income disability benefits program also administered by the SSA. SSI helps disabled people with little income and few assets. It falls under Title 16 of the Social Security Act and is paid out of the general treasury, not the Social Security trust fund.
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So Can You Work While Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits
Maybe. Theres a lot to consider. An Indiana disability attorney can help you determine how working may affect your disability claim.
They can also give you other options for financial assistance if youre struggling to make ends meet while waiting to get approved for benefits.
Ultimately, youre almost always going to make more money by working than you will by getting approved for disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits exist to help those who cannot work or cannot work enough to support themselves due to their disability.
If you can still work, no matter how many hours, its still a good idea to keep working, keep treating, and hopefully stay in the workforce as long as possible.
But when you can no longer work or can no longer support yourself, Hensley Legal Group is here to help.
Our disability attorneys can help you at any stage of the application process. Give us a call at 472-3333, or contact us online for a free conversation about your disability claim.
Can I Switch From Social Security Retirement Benefits To Social Security Disability Benefits
Yes, it is possible to switch from Social Security retirement benefits to Social Security disability benefits under certain circumstances. Suppose you filed for early retirement benefits and started receiving Social Security payments when you were only 62. Then, you became disabled.
Since you are not yet full retirement age, you may receive a higher payment if you are qualified as disabled. The difference is that disability payments would be at your full retirement age, which are up to 30% higher than early retirement payments.
In this special circumstance, it is worth evaluating if you should apply for disability for the few years between the early retirement age of 62 and your full retirement age based on your birth year that could be from 65 to 67 years old.
If you retire early and then later realize that a medical condition qualifies you for disability benefits, it is possible to claim disability payments retroactively.
Disability claims may take many months, sometimes years, for approval and might face denial. You may want to apply for early retirement benefits while waiting for your disability claim to be approved or denied to have some Social Security income in the meantime.
It is also wise to consider working with a disability attorney for a complex case. A Social Security disability attorney is a specialist in working with Social Security benefits. A disability lawyer may help if your disability claim faces a denial and the decision needs an appeal.
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Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work
If you cant do the work you did in the past, we look to see if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment.
We consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cant do other work, well decide you are disabled. If you can do other work, well decide that you dont have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.
Benefits For A Disabled Child
A child under age 18 may be disabled, but we don’t need to consider the child’s disability when deciding if he or she qualifies for benefits as a dependent. The child’s benefits normally stop at age 18 unless he or she is a full-time student in an elementary or high school or is disabled.
Children who were receiving benefits as a minor child on a parents Social Security record may be eligible to continue receiving benefits on that parents record upon reaching age 18 if they are disabled.
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Can I Work If Im Approved For Disability
If you are approved for benefits, the impact of your work varies depending on the type of benefit you are receiving. In the case of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits , the SGA limit continues to apply, but there is a trial work period. During this 9-month period of time, you can earn more than the SGA limit without it affecting your continued disability. If you continue earning above SGA after the nine month period, your benefits may terminate due to your return to work.
In the case of Supplemental Security Income , income of any kind, whether earned or unearned, will affect the amount of your benefit. The amount of the SSI payment will be reduced by $1 for every $2 of income and if you work at SGA levels beyond the trial work, you will no longer be considered disabled under the SSA rules.
Understanding The Substantial Gainful Activity Limitations
The short answer is yes. You can work part time while on Social Security Disability. You just have to make sure your income doesnt exceed the limitations for substantial gainful activity, or SGA. The SGA amount is a set maximum monthly wage that helps the Social Security Administration determine whether or not your disability prevents you from earning a living. Essentially, if you exceed this limit, they may think you dont need disability benefits anymore.
While the SGA limit for 2022 is $1,350, SS disability beneficiaries who make a gross income of $970 a month will trigger whats known as a trial work period. Its not impossible to work part-time while receiving Social Security disability benefits, but its important to keep in mind that the rules surrounding disability claims and work activity are extremely complicated. For this reason, the vast majority of people choose not to work while getting benefits, so they can avoid overpayments that can jeopardize their benefits.
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What If Im Self
For those who earn income through self-employment, the rules become more complicated. This could apply to anyone who generates income through:
- Contracting or
- Running internet-based ventures or
- Any type of income from self-employment.
If you want to apply for disability benefits as a self-employed individual, you still cannot make more than the SSAs income limits. Yet, proving your income when applying for benefits can quickly get confusing.
Our Social Security Disability lawyers can assess the information you need and check your application for completion and accuracy.
For a free legal consultation, call
Will My Disability Payment Increase If My Disability Gets Worse As I Get Older
No. Your monthly SSDI payment does not change if your condition becomes worse. The benefits are calculated based on your earnings history. The amount of disability payment is the amount you would receive if you were at full retirement age when you became disabled.
The Social Security Administration approves a disability claim based on your inability to perform work due to a disability expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death. Approval of disability status is the same as being fully disabled, even if your condition subsequently deteriorates more.
If your condition improves, you must inform the SSA, especially if you can go back to work. You must also undergo a case review about every three years for a disability that might improve and about every seven years for a permanent disability. Losing disability status means your monthly SSDI payments will stop.
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Can I Start Working After My Application For Benefits Has Been Approved
After you have been approved to receive benefits you cannot start doing any new work that puts you above the SGA limits. That being said, there is a nine-month work trial period in which someone that is currently receiving benefits may test their ability to work if their condition or impairment changes. During this trial period, income over the SGA limits does not affect the number of benefits that they receive each month as it allows the individual to explore if they can return to the workplace with their disability. The nine-month trial starts when an individual earns more than $910 in a month while they are currently receiving SSD benefits. After the nine-month trial, if an SSD recipient continues to work, they will not receive benefits any month that they earn over the SGA limit of $1,260. If they earn under $1,260 in a month, they will receive their predetermined benefit amounts. This will continue for a period of 36 months after the nine-month trial.
What Work History Do I Need To Qualify For Benefits
When you apply for disability, the SSA requires you to provide:
- The date your medical condition affected your ability to work
- Your work history
- The types of duties you did in the primary job you had
After receiving this information, the SSA will evaluate your work history to determine what skills you learned, the responsibilities you had, and your jobs physical demands. This evaluation helps the SSA decide whether any of those skills or faculties could transfer to other jobs.
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Is Your Condition Found In The List Of Disabling Conditions
For each of the major body systems, we maintain a list of medical conditions that we consider severe enough that it prevents a person from doing substantial gainful activity. If your condition is not on the list, we have to decide if it is as severe as a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, we will find that you are disabled. If it is not, we then go to Step 4.
We have two initiatives designed to expedite our processing of new disability claims:
- Compassionate Allowances: Certain cases that usually qualify for disability can be allowed as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. Examples include acute leukemia, Lou Gehrigs disease , and pancreatic cancer.
- Quick Disability Determinations: We use sophisticated computer screening to identify cases with a high probability of allowance.
For more information about our disability claims process, visit our Benefits For People With Disabilities website.
An Extra Consideration For Ssi
Keep in mind that SSI takes into account not just your income, but your household income as well.
That means that in addition to not engaging in SGA, you also have to meet certain household income limitations to qualify for SSI.
You could be under SGA, but if your spouse or roommate is making more money than SSI allows, then you will likely not qualify for SSI.
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Applying For Ssd While Also Applying For Other Benefits
The Social Security Administration provides benefit programs to individuals who have a medical condition that render them unable to work. Because obtaining such benefits can be a lengthy and complicated process, and because nearly two-thirds of initial claims are denied, applicants should also explore other types of benefit programs that may be available. The best way to obtain all the benefits to which you may be entitled to is to consult an experienced disability attorney. It is important to understand what your rights are, including the right to collect other benefits and whether any offset may apply so that you can make an informed decision that is best for you.
At Disability Law Group, we know that being unable to work can be an overwhelming physical, emotional and financial burden for both you and your family. We routinely help clients who are seeking disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. We talk to individuals every day who are not aware that they can take advantage of other benefits while applying for SSDI or SSI. It is important to remember that you will not be turned down for Social Security disability benefits if you are collecting other types of benefits. When you become our client, we will take the time to explain all of your rights and help you obtain all the benefits you deserve.
What Is Substantial Gainful Activity
Substantial gainful activity is generally work that brings in over a certain dollar amount per month. In 2022, that amount is $1,350 for non-blind disabled SSDI or SSI applicants, and $2,260 for blind SSDI applicants . If you are making more than that amount per month, the SSA presumes that you must not be disabled . In deciding whether you are doing SGA, Social Security does not count any income you obtain from non-work sources, such as interest, investments, or gifts.
Low earnings, however, don’t necessarily establish that you’re unable to work. The SSA will consider the circumstances under which you performed work. For example, where a disability applicant had worked as a substitute bus driver, the court found that he was doing SGA because his low earnings did not indicate that he was unable to work, and his income was less than it could be because of the on-call nature of the job. The SSA can even consider volunteer activities and criminal activities as SGA if they represent substantial work for which someone would ordinarily be paid .
Similarly, high earnings don’t necessarily mean the disability claimant was doing SGA, if he or she was working under special conditions. Claimants can argue that their income would have been lower but for the fact that the claimant:
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The Trial Work Period
The Trial Work Period is designed to allow SSDI recipients to experiment with working while still receiving their full monthly benefit. It consists of a total of nine months, not necessarily consecutive, over a 60-month period. During these nine months, a person may earn an unlimited amount without lowering their monthly cash benefit. The TWP was developed many years ago to encourage disability recipients to go back to work when they can.
A month counts as a TWP month whenever an individual earns more than $910 per month or when a self-employed individual works 80 hours or more in a month.
All of your monthly earnings before taxes apply to the $910 TWP threshold, but you can deduct impairment-related work expenses that you pay for out-of-pocket . Keep receipts of your impairment-related expenses so that Social Security can total your earnings accurately.
In addition, it is essential to inform your local Social Security office of your earnings for each month you work while receiving benefits. Send a certified letter with a copy of your pay stubs and any impairment-related work expenses by the 10th of the month after a month in which you work. Failure to do so may result in your benefits’ being terminated.