What is an unsuccessful work attempt?
An unsuccessful work attempt is an unsuccessful effort made by a disabled beneficiary (a person who receives Social Security Disability or SSI disability benefits) to go back to substantial work activity (working and earning at least the SGA amount established by the social security administration---this amount changes each year), either through employment or self-employment.
An unsuccessful work attempt may last up to six months, and can be thought of as a situation in which a disabled individual either stopped working or had to reduce their work to an amount lower than SGA (possibly due to medical conditions or the removal of special considerations which enabled a disabled individual to work).
An unsuccessful work attempt may be considered during the initial claim for SSDI (Social Security Disability) and during other SGA determinations for SSDI beneficiaries who are in an EPE (extended period of eligibility for disability which follows the trial work month period for thirty six months). However, for SSI disability unsuccessful work attempts may only be considered during the initial filing of a disability claim.
Classifying a period of work as an "unsuccessful work attempt" may benefit an individual who files for disability because it may remove what would otherwise be a disqualification for benefits for a certain time period. An unsuccessful work attempt may also provide such a benefit for an individual whose disability claim is subjected to a work review by the social security administration (in other words, going back to work may not count against you if the work is classified as unsuccessful).
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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