Social Security Disability: Working While Disabled – Part 1

If you are disabled and have accumulated the prescribed number of Social Security credits, there is another factor to consider in determining whether you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Does your condition prevent you from engaging in “Substantial Gainful Activity”?

Contrary to what many people believe, your disability does not need to prevent you from engaging in all work for you to be eligible to receive SSDI benefits. If, however, you make more than a certain amount of money from your work, your employment is considered Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) and it’s unlikely you’ll receive SSDI. This amount changes regularly, so it’s important to stay informed. You can easily get up-to-date information by calling the Social Security Administration toll-free at 800-772-1213 (TDY 1-80325-0778). During the 2012 tax year, the amount signifying SGA and disqualifying someone from receiving SSDI benefits is set at $1010 per month. For someone who is blind, the amount is set at $1690.

Substantial Gainful Activity refers to any type of work.

If the Social Security Administration determines that your condition prevents you from doing the sort of work you did before, it will try to determine whether your condition prevents you from adjusting to other types of SGA. If, despite your condition, you are considered capable of earning an income from other work, it’s unlikely you’ll be found eligible for SSDI.

Although people engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity generally cannot receive Social Security Disability benefits, there are exceptions to this rule.

There is a trial work period during which SSDI recipients can make more than the SGA amounts without losing disability benefits.

During a trial work period, you are allowed to test your ability to work for at least nine months. Regardless of how much you earn, you can continue to receive your full disability benefits during this period as long as you are working while disabled.

After your trial work period ends, there is a 36-month period in which you can work and still receive disability benefits for any month in which your earnings fall below the SGA amount.

For help making a decision about working, you can contact a Social Security Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project. WIPA projects are community-based organizations providing information and assistance to people receiving disability benefits who are working or considering work. A WIPA community work incentive coordinator can help you understand how work may affect your disability benefits and can explain what other support may be available for people with disabilities who want to work.

Call 1-866-968-7842 (TTY 1-866-833-2967) to locate the WIPA project nearest you.

Making an informed decision is always the best thing you can do. If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, click here for a free SSDI evaluation to help determine where you stand. If you’d like more information about Social Security Disability, a qualified MedicareMall agent will be happy to answer your questions. We’ll also be glad to answer any questions you may have about Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Advantage, or Medigap plans. Contact MedicareMall now and we’ll make it our priority to help you make the best-informed decisions possible.

Go to Part II- Working While Disabled

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