If I Apply For Disability And Go Back To Work, Do I Need To Report This?

If you have applied for disability with the Social Security Administration, you should understand that work is the second component in your eligibility determination for disability benfits. All Social Security Disability determinations involve both a medical and work performance determination. The fact that you have returned to some work while applying for SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance) or SSI does not necessarily mean your disability claim will be denied. However, it is extremely important for you to report all work activity to Social Security as soon as possible.

If you are performing substantial gainful work activity, your disability claim may be denied. This will happen whether you are just filing your claim, or your claim has been pending for some time and awaiting a decision. What is SGA? SGA is a monthly earnings amount that Social Security has deemed to be self-supporting. If you are earning over the SGA amount, you are not disabled under the guidelines of the Social Security Disability program even if your disabling condition is terminal.

To see the current limit: How much can you work and still receive disability benefits?

However, if you are working but earning under the SGA monthly earning's amount, your disability claim will not be denied. But, while working under the SGA earnings amount will not cause your disability claim to be denied, it still has to be officially addressed in your disability file.

If you do not report going back to work to Social Security, you may cause your disability claim to be denied even if you are medically approved for disability. This is why it is advisable for any person who applies for disability to understand how work affects disability eligibility. If you do not understand the effect work has upon your disability eligibility, you should contact Social Security prior to returning to any kind of work activity so as not to disadvantage your disability claim.

So many people who file for disability benefits do not understand SSDI and SSI disability work guidelines; consequently they are very disappointed to find that their claims while medically approved are still denied for the performance of SGA-level work activity. Report all work activity timely to Social Security and you may be able to avoid a costly pitfall.

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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