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How Can Working Affect My SSD Disability Application?

Filing an SSDI Claim

You’re disabled and struggling to work, but how can you quit and leave your family without any financial support? Unfortunately, applying for SSDI may put you in a bind when it comes to work. Working full-time will almost certainly impact your SSDI application, but not working full-time may make you feel like you’re at the mercy of the SSA.

We can help. We know how complicated and stressful this road can be, and we’re here to assist you as you navigate it. Call The Dansby Law Firm at 334-326-6449 to schedule a consultation right away.

Substantial Gainful Activity

The SSA only considers someone eligible for SSDI benefits if they are unable to participate in substantial gainful activity, often shortened to SGA. The SSA looks at a person’s income to determine whether or not they are engaging in SGA, and this amount changes each year.

In 2023, someone who earns more than $1,470 per month is considered ineligible for SSDI benefits. We understand that this can be very difficult for claimants, as they may be pushing through the pain of their condition to continue supporting their families. However, if you are above this monthly income limit, it’s likely that your application will immediately be denied.

When You Want to Return to Work

There is a bit more leeway for someone who is already receiving SSDI benefits and wants to see if they are able to return to work. The SSA has work incentives for those who want to return to work without putting their benefits in danger. You can continue receiving your monthly benefits while attempting to return to work.

The SSA allows you to attempt a trial work period of at least nine months. For these nine months, you’ll continue to receive Social Security benefits as long as you have informed them of your return to work and you are still disabled. A month counts as one of your trial work months if you earn more than $1,050. The trial work period ends once you have used nine total months within a 60-month period.

At the end of your trial work period, if you continue to work, that doesn’t necessarily mean an abrupt end to your benefits. For 36 months after your trial work period, you can still receive benefits if there are any months where your earnings do not exceed the current monthly maximum. Again, in 2023, that amount is $1,470 per month.

You may worry about what will happen if your disability flares up and prevents you from working again. Good news: the SSA allows for expedited reinstatement of benefits in certain cases. If you are once again unable to work due to your disability within five years of stopping benefits, you can ask the SSA to restart your monthly payments while they review your condition.

Unsuccessful Work Attempts

This program exists to encourage claimants to try to work again if they think it’s accessible to them. If you attempt to return to work and your efforts last no more than six months because of your disability, that attempt is considered an unsuccessful work attempt. The work you do during this period does not count against your benefits. Again, you must report these work efforts to your field office in order to protect your benefits.

How We Can Help

This can be very overwhelming for people who are applying for or already receiving SSDI benefits. The timelines, time limits, income limits, and more can make it nearly impossible to know when you are putting your benefits at risk and when you are simply making full use of the SSA’s work allowances. When you work with a disability attorney in Montgomery, you can discuss these issues in greater detail, understand your rights, and ensure that you aren’t violating the SSA’s requirements.

Discuss Your Legal Options with The Dansby Law Firm

Find out how the team at The Dansby Law Firm can help you explore your options and find out if returning to work is right for you. Schedule your consultation with our team now by calling us at 334-326-6449 or sending us a message online.

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