One of the most common questions claimants want to know is how much money can they make and whether they they can work part-time and get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
How does the SSA define “substantial gainful activity”?
To answer this question, claimants first need to understand that the SSA defines “disability” as the inability to perform what they call “substantial gainful activity”. What is substantial gainful activity and when is work considered substantial? Work is considered substantial if the non-blind applicant makes a gross income of $1,000 per month (for 2011) and the blind applicant makes a gross income of $1,640 per month (for 2011).
So what if the claimant works but does not make any money? The SSA may also consider activity “substantial” if the claimant does not make any profit. On the SSA website they indicate that substantial work can be any of the following:
• Any work performed or done for pay or profit.
• Work which normally receives pay or profit
• Work which is intended for profit even if profit is not realized
For example, if you have the physical capacity to care for children or sick relatives for hours each week but you do not get paid, this type of activity could be considered substantial because these are tasks that are normally done for pay.
So how do you know if you are making too much money or working too much? Claimants should talk to the SSA. Some claimants seem hesitant to contact the SSA and discuss their situation, but the SSA has some very good programs that can help claimants ease back into the workforce without immediately jeopardizing their SSDI disability benefits.
Can I attend school and receive Social Security Disability Insurance?
Many claimants often wonder if they attend school and receive SSDI benefits. The SSA may consider educational activities as “work”. It could depend on the amount of hours you attend school and whether or not the SSA considers your activities “substantial”. If you are attending school full-time, the SSA may assume the amount of effort you would need to complete your school activities could be comparable to maintaining employment.
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, how much can I work?
Unfortunately, if you are able to work at a substantial level, as defined above, the SSA will deny your Social Security Disability Insurance claim, regardless of the severity of your mental or physical health condition.
Most claimants will have to wait months to receive their SSDI benefits and may have to fight multiple denials from the SSA. How do you pay your bills and living expenses while you wait for approval? This is a tough question to answer. Many claimants save money while they are working, some claimants must rely on their spouse’s income for a period of time, and other claimants must rely on family or friends.
How do you expedite the SSDI claims process? Make sure you understand how the SSA makes their disability determination BEFORE you apply for SSDI benefits.
Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer
If you would like a disability attorney to review your Social Security Disability Insurance claim you can fill out the FREE evaluation form and a Social Security Disability advocate will call you to review your claim or you can call our office at 1-800-641-3759 to talk to someone now.