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Working from home are you hurting your SSDI case

Working from home and SSDI benefits

Most Americans want to be productive even if they can’t manage to work forty hours per week. Some workers have found they can make some extra money working from home. Recently on our forum we had a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicant ask, “Can I work from home while I apply for SSDI benefits, and if so, how will this affect my SSDI case?”

Working from home part-time and applying for SSDI benefits

The first question the SSA will ask, before reviewing your disabling health condition is whether or not you are working what they consider substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you are working from home and your part-time work rises to the level of substantial gainful activity the SSA will deny your case, regardless of whether or not the work occurs inside or outside of the homewor

So what is substantial gainful activity (SGA)?

SGA work is work which is gainful or substantial. Gainful work is work which allows a claimant (in 2012) to make $1,010 or more each month. If you are able to generate this amount of income working from home the SSA will consider you NOT disabled and will automatically deny your SSDI claim, regardless of the severity of your mental or physical health condition.

What if working from home does not produce income? Is it still gainful? No, but it could be substantial. This means that even if working from home does not produce pay or profit, it is comparable in effort to working another job.

So what is substantial work? It could be as little as 15 hours of work but is generally closer to 25 hours of work. If you are working from home this much the SSA is likely to determine you could work a little bit more. This is especially true if you are younger and you can train for less strenuous work.

Why doesn’t it matter if I am working from home?

The SSA will not care that your work is done at home because it is still work. The SSA believes that you are only disabled if you cannot work, not if you cannot go into the office. In fact, the fact you have a job that can be done from home could actually make your case more difficult to win.

For instance, you can’t get out of the house? It doesn’t matter. You can’t deal with co-workers? Well, that’s good because you won’t have to. See what I mean? Working from home could actually be easier in some ways than having to get dressed, shower, and drive into work each day.

What if I plan to quit working from home once I get SSDI benefits?

If you are working from home now when you apply for SSDI and the SSA determines your work is substantial and gainful they won’t care you are going to quit when you get SSDI. In fact, they would argue that the fact you are now working is evidence that you are not disabled and you should continue to work.

Should I quit my part-time job?

You should not necessarily quit your part-time job, just be aware that some part-time work, even working from home, can negatively impact your SSDI application.
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