Monday, May 16, 2022

Can You Work While Applying For Social Security Disability

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Ssdi Guide: Will My Benefits Be Cut Off As Soon As I Return To Work

Social Security Disability FAQ: Can I Work while applying for Disability?

Social Security Disability Insurance provides financial protection to people who have qualifying disabilities. If your disability or medical condition improves, you may want to consider going back to the workplace. This raises an important question: Will I automatically lose my Social Security disability benefits if I return to work? The answer is it depends in some cases, you may be eligible for a trial work period. In this post, attorney Harold W. Conick offers a brief guide to your rights if you are preparing to return to work.

SSDI and Returning to Work: Know the Implications

To start, it is necessary to emphasize you will not necessarily lose your SSDI benefits if you attempt to return to work. How going back to your job will affect your eligibility depends on several different factors, the most important being the nature of your claim. As a rule, SSDI claims fit into one of the following two broad categories:

  • 1. Vocational Medical Allowance: As described by the Social Security Administration , a vocational medical allowance is a determination allowing individuals to qualify for SSDI benefits even if their condition does not match any condition listed by the agency. If your claim was approved based on a vocational medical allowance, the SSA believes you are unable to work in any capacity. If you attempt to go back to work, your benefits may be cut off.
  • Social Security Disability and the Trial Work Period

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    How To Stop Social Security Check Payments

    The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.

    If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.

    Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.

    Employment: Social Security Disability Work Incentives At A Glance


    Trial Work Period – The trial work period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During your trial work period, you will receive your full Social Security benefits regardless of how much you are earning as long as you report your work activity and you continue to have a disabling impairment. In 2021, a trial work month is any month in which your total earnings are $940 or more, or, if you are self employed, you earn more than $940 or spend more than 80 hours in your own business. The trial work period continues until you have worked nine months within a 60-month period.

    Extended Period of Eligibility – After your trial work period, you have 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits for any month your earnings are not substantial. In 2021, earnings of $1,310 or more are considered substantial. No new application or disability decision is needed for you to receive a Social Security disability benefit during this period.

    Expedited Reinstatement – After your benefits stop because your earnings are substantial, you have five years during which you may ask Social Security to start your benefits immediately if you find yourself unable to continue working because of your condition. ou will not have to file a new disability application, and you will not have to wait for your benefits to start while your medical condition is being reviewed to make sure you are still disabled.

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    Can I Be Working Full Time When I Apply For Ssdi Or Ssi Disability

    If you are working full time when you apply for either Social Security or SSI disability benefits, Social Security will not consider you disabled. This is because not being able to work a substantial amount of time is part of Social Securitys definition of disability. It doesnt matter whether you are working through pain or fatigue your application wont even advance to the part of the disability evaluation process where your medical condition is assessed.

    Information We Need About Your Work And Education


    To decide whether you are disabled, we use a five-step process. Listed below are frequently asked questions about Step 4 and Step 5 of the process.

    We need to find out about your past work to decide if you can still do it. To make this decision, we need to know how you did your job. We also need to know if you learned skills on your job.

    We need this information to see if you can do any of your past work. Remember that you are not disabled according to our rules unless your illnesses, injuries or conditions prevent you from doing your past work or adjusting to other work.

    Information about your education and training are also very important to us. If you cannot do your past work, we look at your age, education, training, and work experience to see if you can do other kinds of work.

    Disclaimer: The following is general information only. The Social Security Act and related regulations, rulings and case law should be used or cited as authority for the Social Security disability programs.

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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.

    What Is The Legal Fee In Social Security Disability Cases

    Our office takes Social Security Disability cases on a contingency basis. It means that we do not get paid unless we win your case .

    The Social Security Administration regulates all attorney fees. Most of the time, they approve a fee of 25 percent of any retroactive benefits.

    For example: If you win your case and you are entitled to $10,000 in retroactive benefits, Social Security will deduct $2,500 from this amount as our fee and send it directly to us. You will receive a past due check for $7,500. Whats important is that all future checks are free of any attorney fees.

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    When To File For Social Security Disability If You Have An Eod

    If you think your disability onset date can be proven to be far back enough, or that you might be eligible for disability benefits through the SSI program, dont hesitate to file for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration . The SSA will decide whether you qualify for SSDI, SSI, or both.

    Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby

    Can You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits if You are Still Working?

    The easiest way to get a Social Security number for your child is at the hospital after they are born when you apply for your childs birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while SSA verifies your childs birth certificate.

    Your child will need their own Social Security number so you can:

    • Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return
    • Open a bank account in their name
    • Get medical coverage for them
    • Apply for government services for them

    Keep your Social Security card in a safe place to protect yourself from identity theft.

    Read Also: How Many Years Do I Have To Work To Get Social Security

    Can I Work While Applying For Social Security Disability

    The short answer is, yes you can.

    In order to qualify for Social Security disability, you must have a medical condition or combination of medical conditions that prevent you from doing any and all types of work . The decision to apply for SS disability should only be made after you determine that, because of your physical or mental health, you are unable to work in any full time capacity. If you are working full time or are able to work full time, you will be deemed ineligible for benefits.

    However, if you are working only on a part-time basis, you may still be eligible to apply for Social Security benefits. Be aware that there is a cap on how much income you can bring in from employment and remain eligible. If you earn more than what is commonly called the substantial gainful activity limit, generally your application will be denied without any consideration of your medical problems or limitations.

    What If I Stop Working In The Middle Of The Year

    Theres a special rule for when you work part of the year but then retire. Regardless of your total earnings, youre still entitled to get Social Security checks for any month in which youve officially retired.

    As an example, say you retire early at 63 and decide that youre going to quit your $200,000-per-year job at the end of June. Youd forfeit all of your benefits for the first six months of the year because of your high earnings, but, starting in July, you could still get checks for the remaining six months even though your total annual earnings were well above the annual limit.

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    Can I Work While On Social Security Disability

    If youre looking into applying for Social Security Disability, it can feel overwhelming and you may find yourself with a lot of questions. What will the judge ask at my disability hearing? is one that we hear often, and answered in a previous blog.

    Theres one more very common question we hear, and wed like to take the time to answer that question for you today.

    Ssi/ssdi And Employment: A Brief Overview Of Ssa Work Incentives

    Can I Work While Applying for Social Security Disability?

    Case managers are encouraged to support individuals to pursue their vocational goals, both before and after applying for SSI/SSDI. This overview will briefly discuss how the Social Security Administration views the work activity of an SSI/SSDI applicant, and the many work incentives available to beneficiaries.

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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.

    Working While Applying For Benefits

    Keep in mind that the mere fact that you’re working, even if you are making somewhat less than $1,350 per month, may influence whether a disability claims examiner or a disability judge believes you’re disabled, especially if you’re working more than 15 or 20 hours a week. For this reason, many disability lawyers and representatives will advise their clients not to work while their case is pending. For more information, see our article on whether you have to quit work when applying for disability benefits.

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    Working While Waiting For Your Social Security Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability is for people who are unable to work. To qualify for benefits, you must have a disabling condition that will prevent you from working 12 months in a row. However, Social Security will allow you to work part time. For 2010, a person waiting for approval of their claim can earn up to $1,000 per month before taxes. However, if you do work, Social Security will want to know why you can only work part time rather than full time. This can be a hard question to answer in court. If you must work, we suggest that you do not work more than 20 hours per week, and be sure you stay well under $1,000 per month.

    If you are receiving Long-Term Disability Benefits from your employer or an insurance company, we do not advise that you work at all. In most cases, every dollar you earn is subtracted from the monthly LTD benefit.

    If you are working, or do get a job while waiting for your benefits, please notify your case administrator right away so we can help you stay within the limits allowed by Social Security.

    How Much Can I Work And Still Receive Benefits

    Can I Work While Waiting for my Social Security Disability Benefits?

    The amount you are allowed to work differs for the Social Security Administration s two benefit programs. Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplementary Security Income have different rules and program requirements.

    Social Security Disability Insurance

    For SSDI, you can only receive benefits if you cannot work a full time job, or enough to be considered substantial gainful activity . Therefore, most recipients receive SSDI in place of working. It is possible to work part time, but this can make it harder to prove you cannot work full time. If you are on SSDI already, you cant start making the SGA amount regularly. To make it easier for you to go back to work, they offer a nine-month trial period. You can receive full benefits for nine months while making over the SGA for nine months to test if you are able to work with your disability. In 2020, any month that you make more than $940 or work more than 80 hours if youre self-employed is considered a trial month.

    If you return to work and lose your benefits, you are still eligible for Medicare for at least 93 months after your nine-month trial period.

    Supplementary Security Income

    The amount of your monthly payment depends on your income. If your income decreases while on SSI, your payments can be increased up until the limit of $794. If you income increases, your payments will be decreased.

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    Experts Advice: Dont Go It Alone

    Vieillet says the intricacies of each program are confusing, even to the experts. For the average person, it can be downright overwhelming.

    When letters from Social Security start coming in the mail, they scare the bejesus out of people, says Teresa Nier, benefits and employment manager with My Employment Options.

    For disabled workers, joining a free work-incentive program and employment network can help. Ticket to Work offers benefits protection for recipients who want to test the employment waters. And organizations like My Employment Options have certified benefits counselors on staff to help applicants trudge through the paperwork and fine print all while finding a job that fits their unique needs.

    To avoid unexpected benefits cuts or having to return overpayments to the agency, people need to keep Social Security updated with phone numbers and addresses, Nier says. Open those letters. Ask questions.

    For James, the idea of not working is unsettling. He doesnt want to be a burden.

    Im more of an entrepreneur, he says. Im a very social person. Im very outgoing.

    I want to try to make this work. Somehow.

    Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that dont involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter .

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