Do I Have To Quit My Job To Get Disability?

The answer to this question is not a simple one. You do not have to quit your job to file for Social Security Disability, however you have to be under the substantial gainful activity monthly amount set forth by Social Security each year. You may be asking yourself what is substantial gainful activity? Substantial gainful activity is an amount an individual is allowed to earn per month and still be able to be entitled to a Social Security Disability benefit.

So what does this mean to the average person who has medical and or mental conditions that prevent them from working regularly and often less than forty hours per week? This means that if you are still working, but have had to reduce your hours at work or have had to take a part time job because you could not do your regular job, you should contact Social Security to ascertain if you may be eligible to apply for disability benefits.

This is where it gets a little tricky; sometimes it is not enough to be working fewer hours than you usually work. For instance, if you are working twenty hours a week and earning $7.00 per hour you will be under the Social Security substantial gainful activity amount, however if you are working those same twenty hours but you earn $20.00 per hour you will not qualify for disability because your earning will be over the substantial gainful activity amount.

You may have heard that you had to have been out of work for twelve months before you can apply for disability. Do not bank on information that you have heard from other people. Each individual's situation is unique. You may be working but not at a level that prevents you from filing for Social Security Disability, consequently you should file for your disability even though you are technically working.

Another mistake that is often made is waiting months to file for disability even if you already stopped work months before. You do not have to wait twelve months to file; instead, you should file immediately if you are not working due to some disabling condition or a combination of health conditions.

Contact your local Social Security office or call the Social Security toll free number if you think that your earnings may be below Social Security work activity levels, or you have had to stop work because of your health. Remember, you do not have to quit your job to get disability, however your earnings must be under the Social Security monthly substantial gainful work amount.

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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