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Qualifying for SSDI Benefits While Working

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Let a NY Social Security Disability Attorney Help You Recover Benefits While You Still Work 

Suffering a disability that prevents you from working can take a significant toll on your life not only financially, but also emotionally. Many disabled individuals who are unable to work feel inadequate or unproductive, as they are forced to miss out on the inherent dignity that comes from productive work. To alleviate those feelings, as well as to boost their finances, many disabled individuals try to do as much work as they can. However, doing too much work may jeopardize their eligibility for SSDI benefits. If you have questions, contact a Social Security disability attorney to discuss your specific situation. Our law firm has convenient office locations throughout Long Island, including Nassau and Suffolk County

How the SSA Determines Whether You Are Able to Work

The SSDI program provides benefits to individuals whose disability prevents them from engaging in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) — a term of art that has little to no meaning outside the SSDI context. As its name would suggest, SGA is work activity that is both substantial and gainful. According to the Code of Federal Regulations

(a) Substantial work activity. Substantial work activity is work activity that involves doing significant physical or mental activities. Your work may be substantial even if it is done on a part-time basis or if you do less, get paid less, or have less responsibility than when you worked before.

(b) Gainful work activity. Gainful work activity is work activity that you do for pay or profit. Work activity is gainful if it is the kind of work usually done for pay or profit, whether or not a profit is realized.

When determining whether an individual’s activities amount to SGA, the SSA looks to a number of factors, including:

  • The nature of the work (i.e., whether it requires the use of the claimant’s experience, skills, supervision, and responsibilities)
  • How well the claimant performs
  • Whether the work is done under special conditions that take the claimant’s disability into account
  • Whether the claimant is self-employed
  • How much time the claimant spends working

If the SSA determines that an SSDI claimant is able to engage in SGA, then he or she will not be eligible to receive benefits.

You May Work While Receiving SSDI Benefits — Up to a Point

Determining whether a claimant may engage in SGA is an undertaking that is both qualitative (as above) and quantitative. Every year, the SSA designates a certain monthly income that is considered the threshold for engaging in SGA. As of the date of publication, the SSA’s monthly SGA amounts are $2,110 for blind individuals and $1,260 for non-blind individuals. If a claimant’s monthly income is more than that threshold, the SSA considers him or her able to engage in SGA. Thus, if you plan to work while you are applying for SSDI benefits, keep this threshold in mind.

Speak With a Social Security Disability Attorney to Discuss Your Options

If you’re thinking about applying for SSDI benefits while working part-time, you should contact a disability lawyer to evaluate the potential impact your work could have on your case. To speak to an experienced Social Security disability attorney, please contact Turley Redmond & Rosasco by using our online form or calling us at  516-745-5666 (Garden City), 631-582-3700 (Ronkonkoma), or 631-399-0400 (Shirley).

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