Working Part-time On Disability Reviews


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Can You Work Part Time On Social Security Disability

Can working part time be used against me on a disability review?

Many people receiving disability benefits ask the same question to their Pennsylvania SSDI attorney. They want to know if they can work on a part-time basis and collect SSDI benefits at the same time.

There are several reasons why you may want to work and collect benefits. For example, your benefits may not be sufficient to cover your expenses.

Perhaps you are physically able to work part-time hours and want to stay productive and active. So, can you work part time on Social Security Disability?

There are a few things to consider.

Is Medical Improvement Related To Ability To Work

Once the Social Security Administration has decided that medical improvement has occurred, it will then determine whether the improvement is related to ability to work.

To make this determination, it compares your residual functional capacity at the time of the most recent favorable decision with a current RFC based on only those impairments that were present at the time eligibility was most recently approved.

You can imagine the difficulties in comparing, for example, the RFC of a person found disabled years ago due to a back impairment, subsequently develops diabetes with neuropathy in his feet and legs and now has arthritis in one knee as well. In the meantime, however, the range of motion in his back has improved. By looking at the back alone, one might find an improved RFC. And that is what state agency adjudicators are supposed to do at this step but then they come back again later in the analysis to evaluate the RFC when considering all impairments.

If no medical improvement is found or medical improvement is found not related to ability to work, the inquiry stops and the disability is found to continue as long as none of the exceptions to medical improvement applies.

Do You Need A Social Security Disability Attorney

So, in conclusion, yes, you can work while receiving SSDI benefits. However, it must be within strict limits and not exceed your SGA. At Schmidt & Clark law firm, our social security disability lawyers can help you calculate your work credits and determine if you qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits.

We’re with you every step of the way from reviewing initial disability claims to appeal processes, our team has the experience to get results. Contact us for a free legal consultation session here.


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Social Security Disability Insurance And The Trial Work Period

The trial work period lets you test your ability to work for at least nine months. They dont have to be nine months in a row, either. During this time, you will still receive your full disability benefit payment IF:

  • You tell the SSA that you are working, AND
  • You are still disabled by the SSAs rules.
  • In 2019, a trial work month is considered any month where you make over $880 pre-tax. If you work for more than nine months earning at least the $880 each month, then your trial work period is over. After your trial work period, you still have 36 months where you can work and still receive benefits for any month your earnings arent over $1,220.

    If you dont make at least $1,220 that month, you can still receive a disability check for that month without having to reapply or be ruled disabled. However, if you make over $1,220 that month, you will not receive a disability check.

    The SSA rules allow for a 3 month grace period after the first trial work period ends and before the extended period begins.

    If your benefits stop because of your earnings, but then you find you can no longer work anymore because of your condition, you have five years to ask the SSA to restart your benefits. They will review your condition to ensure you are still disabled under their rules, but you dont need to reapply or wait for benefits to start.

    Will The Social Security Administration Conduct A Medical Review During A Trial Work Period

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    A trial work period ends after you perform services in nine months during a rolling period of 60 months. But it can also end earlier. It can end the month in which new evidence shows that you are not disabled, even though you have not worked a full 9 months.

    However, in order for the trial work period to end and benefits to be terminated before the nine months of trial work are used up, the Social Security Administration must have new evidence of improvement other than evidence relating to the work you have done. This provision is meant as a work incentive. It is the Social Security Administrations way of providing that the work itself wont be used against you.

    For the Social Security Administration to discover new evidence of improvement, it must conduct a continuing disability review. In fact, return to work is a trigger for a continuing disability review. The Social Security Administration will start a continuing disability review under the following circumstances:

    Substantial earnings are reported to your wage record

    You tell the Social Security Administration that you have returned to work

    Your State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency tells the Social Security Administration that you are now working

    Someone in a position to know of your physical or mental condition tells the Social Security Administration that you have returned to work.

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    Risks Of Working While Claiming Social Security Disability Benefits

    Although you need to earn money, getting approved for disability benefits can take a while. If your case is more complicated than usual, working may not be the best idea when you first apply for benefits.

    Suppose an administrative law judge understands you can work many hours every week. In that case, they may be less inclined to believe that your medical condition is so severely limited that you are disabled.

    How Many Hours Can You Work On Disability If You Work For Someone Else

    If you are not self-employed, the number of hours you work is less important. Generally, your monthly income matters most for your disability eligibility. However, working too many hours could affect your case.

    For example, maybe youre working close to full-time hours even though you dont earn over $1,350 per month. The SSA might consider you able to work a full-time job and deny you benefits. It will be harder to convince Social Security that youre disabled if you can work many hours.

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    What If My Application Was Denied

    Applications can be denied for something as simple as a small error. The Social Security Administration may also need more evidence to support your condition. After being denied, you have 60 days from the date of the denial to file an appeal.

    The denial phase can be a lengthy process with a lot of steps. Our attorneys can represent you during an appeal, so you do not undertake this process alone.

    Question: What If I Make Less Working Part Time Than The Trial Work Amount For Ssdi

    Part Time Work and Social Security Disability

    I was wondering, if I’m receiving SSDI and I begin working part-time, with income under $800 per month, does this affect my disability payments? I’ve read about the trial work period of nine months, where you can earn over the substantial gainful activity amount. And I read that any month you earn over $1,050, the month is counted toward your nine trial work months. My question is, what about months where you earn less than $1,050 per month?

    I know I will still have to report my earnings, but I’m not sure what would happen if I work and earn under $1,050 each month.

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    What About Hours

    The numbers of hours you work have no bearing on the status of your benefits. As long as you dont earn more than the SGA maximum income threshold, you can work as little or as much as you want. However, working full-time hours during the week could indicate that youre capable of maintaining full-time employment and void your benefits.

    While the SSA doesnt specify preferred types of work or employment to avoid, its wise to keep an eye on the type of part-time work you do. Depending on your disability, if youre part-time job seems contrary to what you should be able to do with your condition, that can raise questions for the SSA.

    If you claim a mobility disability, a job lifting heavy objects could raise some questions about the validity of your disability. If your part-time job is stressful, physically demanding, or requires you to work outside the home, the Administration could justify that working full-time hours at a simpler job or less physically demanding job is reasonable for you to make a living.

    What You Can Do

    If you are working part-time, it is very important that you and your employer document the accommodations that they are making for you. It is important to document anytime you are not able to meet the hours theyd like or the difficulties you are having in being able to work. Having this documentation is extremely helpful in presenting the best case possible. As you can imagine, just telling the judge that working is hard for you doesnt carry as much weight as showing documented proof of your struggles.

    Contact Our Disability Attorney If You Are Working Part-Time

    Given the tremendous pitfalls that surround almost every aspect of your disability case, from the initial application to the likely subsequent appeal, finding an experienced and aggressive disability attorney to manage your case is essential. Even after youve been approved, there are changes in circumstances, such as working a part-time job, that can jeopardize your benefits.

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    Ticket Holders Exempt From Continuing Disability Reviews

    One rule change that SSA believes will provide an incentive for individuals to use their Tickets is an exemption from medical Continuing Disability Reviews . A CDR is used to determine if an individual still has a disability and is still eligible for benefits. While medical CDRs do not usually result in individuals being determined ineligible for disability benefits, many individuals do not even try to return to work out of fear that a medical CDR might render them ineligible for benefits.

    Other Work Incentive Programs

    Pin on wheelchair

    If you are not eligible for the Ticket to Work program, the SSA offers other work incentivization programs to help you explore and understand your options. Some of these options are listed on Pages 12-15 of the SSAs Red Book.

    If you have any questions about your eligibility for such programs or Disability benefits, a Disability lawyer can assist you.

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    Residual Or Partial Disability Benefits

    If your plan provides residual disability benefits , you can return to either part-time or full-time work as long as you earn less than a certain amount. A common residual disability benefit structure looks like this:

    • Less than 20% of your pre-disability income: You will continue to receive your long-term disability benefits in full.
    • Between 20% and 79% of your pre-disability income: The insurance company will reduce your LTD benefits proportionately based on your earnings.
    • At least 80% of your pre-disability income: You lose your right to long-term disability benefits.

    Are There Sga Limit Exceptions To Social Security

    Yes, there are SGA limit exceptions to social security. Every year, the SGA limits are recalibrated to match national trends in average wages. Some work incentives help those receiving SSDI or SSI exclusively to overcome these limitations.

    Social Security may still find you disabled if you can only work part-time. However, if your regular work before applying for disability was part-time work and Social Security finds that you can still do this level of work, they may deny your claim.

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    What Are The Substantial Gainful Activity Limitations

    The Substantial Gainful Activity limitations are the amount of money you can earn from working while receiving disability benefits. The SGA is the best way to determine if you are allowed to work part-time while on SSDI .

    You need to make sure your income doesn’t exceed the SGA limits.

    Another factor is determining if your pay is more than the SGA, which is the impairment-related work expense.

    When you have a disability and work part-time, the possibility of the work you are producing and the amount you are being paid is not equal. In this case, you can deduct impairment-related work expenses from your pay.

    Ner With Berger And Green On Your Disability Benefits Case

    Can I work part time and get Social Security Disability benefits?

    At Berger and Green, we customize a benefits strategy for each client. We can help you apply for benefits or challenge the SSAs decision if it denied your claim.

    If your disability was caused by someone elses negligence in Pennsylvania, our team can explore the possibility of filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit to seek additional damages. We also help Disability claimants in Ohio. To begin your free case review, call us today.

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    What Is Substantial Gainful Activity

    The key concept in SSAs definition of disability is substantial gainful activity or SGA. In most disability cases, we tend to look at SGA as simple, entry-level, sit-down type of work. I like to tell my clients to imagine the easiest warm body job they can think of that is SGA.

    In disability hearings, vocational witnesses use a resource called the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to identify unskilled, sedentary jobs that involve one or two step instructions and dont call for a production pace of work. Examples of simple, unskilled jobs that actually exist include such things as surveillance system monitor, addresser/mail sorter or bench hand. These are jobs and are performed in a seated position, require no training or education to perform.

    If a judge finds that you cannot perform SGA on a full time or close to full time basis, you will be found disabled. Further, if you can perform gainful activity but only for 10 hours per week, your activity would not be considered substantial and thus you would likely be found disabled.

    Is There Medical Improvement

    Medical improvement means any decrease in the medical severity of your impairment.

    The decision that there has been a decrease in medical severity must be based on changes in the symptoms, signs and/or laboratory findings associated with your impairment.

    The Social Security Administration will consider only the impairments that had at the time of the most recent favorable decision, and will not consider those impairments that developed since that time.

    Medical improvement must be more than minor.

    Also, if the impairment is subject to temporary remission, a temporary improvement will not warrant a finding of medical improvement.

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    If You Disagree With The Decision

    If you disagree with the decision, you may ask to have the decision reviewed. You must request this review in writing within 90 days of receiving your decision letter.

    Your application will be reviewed by Service Canada staff who were not involved in making the original decision on your application.

    Determination Is Based On Your Current Condition

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    To make an initial medical improvement determination, the Social Security Administration compares two points in time: the current date and the date of the most recent prior decision finding that you were disabled.

    Adjudicators are supposed to assess the case based only on your current condition . Thus, they are not concerned with figuring out if you have been continuously disabled. Instead, they are allowed to ignore evidence that there may have been a time when you was receiving benefits but may not have been disabled.

    If there has been medical improvement, then the Social Security Administration does not concern itself with determining if medical improvement could possibly have occurred earlier. It simply finds that your disability ended at the time of evaluation. The cessation date is the date of the notice informing you that you are no longer disabled.

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    Expedited Reinstatement Of Benefits

    At the end of the EPE there is an additional five year period called âexpedited reinstatement of benefits.â If the original impairment flairs up within five years of the end of the 36-month EPE, preventing the individual from earning SGA, Social Security can reinstate the SSDI benefits provisionally while a medical review is completed. If the medical review confirms the disability condition or blindness, then the provisional SSDI benefits will be made permanent. If the medical review concludes that there is not a medical disability, SSDI benefits will be immediately terminated but with no overpayment for benefits paid provisionally.

    How Much Can I Make While On Disability

    To qualify for disability benefits, you must be unable to do what Social Security calls substantial gainful activity . Basically, you must be unable to support yourself on your own in order to be considered eligible for benefits.

    For statutorily blind individuals, the SGA amount is higher than for non-blind individuals. These amounts typically change when wages around the country change. This is determined by the national average wage index.

    As stated above, the monthly SGA amount for blind individuals is $2,260. For non-blind individuals, it is $1,350.

    There are no limits on your earnings during the 9-month trial work period. Your benefits will continue even if you earn more than the monthly SGA amount.

    However, during the 36-month extended period of eligibility, you cannot make more than the monthly SGA amount.

    If you are engaged in SGA during the extended period of eligibility, your benefits will stop.

    Keep in mind however, that Social Security will deduct the cost of article giving a lot of detail about how Social Security determines your eligibility that can get you started.

    If you are really struggling to determine whether you qualify, we recommend getting a disability case evaluation from a qualified professional.

    Here at we offer a free online disability case evaluation conducted by a trained specialist who can help you with your next steps.

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