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The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
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Can I supplement my disability with part-time work?
Hello. I work in the IT field and am planning to go on disability for a cardiovascular condition. Since I won’t be making nearly as much on disability, I was hoping I could supplement that with possibly a part time photography business. Will I lose my benefits if I do that?
Quite a few individuals work part-time and receive disability benefits. The issue is not whether you are working, but, rather, what you are earning while you are working. The limit for earned income while you either receive or apply for disability benefits is known as the SGA or substantial gainful activity limit.
If you have gross monthly earnings that are less than this amount, you should have no problem. That said, work activity that is not at the SGA level can still trigger a review of your case. When that happens, Social Security will check to see if your condition and limitations still satisfy the definition of disability used by SSA.
Essentially, they will be checking to see if you have sustained medical improvement. Medical improvement, however, is difficult for the Social Security Administration to prove because an individual would have to have continued to be seen by their medical providers who indicate, in their records, that functional improvement has occurred. This probably rarely happens because doctors rarely make mention of functional capabilities in their records which is the same reason that getting approved for disability can be difficult (i.e. the medical records).
Here is a link to what the current SGA limit is: What is SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity) and how does it affect Social Security Disability and SSI Eligibility?.
Good luck on your case.
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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.
The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.
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