What Should I Expect at my Social Security Disability Review if I am working part-time?

"I have a review coming up in December. I have recently returned to work part time. What should I expect?"

You should contact Social Security as soon as possible. You will have to give them your employer's name, the number of hours you are working, and how much you are being paid. This will most likely be addressed at your review, as Social Security is required to evaluate all work activity at that time. As for the work, the most important thing is the amount of your gross earnings per month. I do not know if you have worked any other time since you became disabled so it is hard to be exact.

If you have not performed any kind of work, you are entitled to nine months that do not have be consecutive, just performed within a five year period in which you are able to earn any amount (and it will not cause suspension or termination of benefits).

If in the tenth month you are working and earning SGA, or substantial gainful activity (a monthly earnings amount set by Social Security each, which is basically the earned income cutoff for being eligible for disability benefits), your disability benefits will be suspended.

At that point begins a 36 month period in which you can be reinstated to your disability benefits at any time if you have to stop working or your earnings fall under the SGA monthly earnings limit due to your disability.

If you perform SGA, i.e. as much as the SGA earnings limit, after this period then your disability benefits may be terminated.

You stated that you have just returned to part time work, so it is best that you know how work might affect your benefits. That being said, if you stay under the SGA limit (current SGA earnings limit), you should not have a problem.

Keep in mind, I am only commenting on the work aspect of the review. The medical review will also involve your current medical records, treatment, etc. Keep in mind, also, sustained SGA work activity may be considered an indicator of medical improvement.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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