Can I Work While Applying For Disability?

November 26th, 2010

Travis, from Vista, California, asks “is it alright if I am working while applying for disability benefits?”

Yes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will allow you to work while you are applying for, or receiving disability benefits as long as your monthly earned income does not exceed the SGA limit. This applies to both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

SGA stands for substantial gainful activity. If your monthly earnings, pretax, are less than the SGA amount each month, then you may be considered eligible to receive SSDI or SSI benefits. And of course, you still need to have your disability approved by the SSA in order to receive disability benefits.

In 2009, the amount of monthly earnings needed to be considered as SGA is $980 for non-blind people and $1,640 for statutorily blind individuals. For example, if you are not blind and you are making over $980 per month, then you are considered to be engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity. This amount changes every year.

If you are collecting disability benefits and you want to try and return to work, the Social Security Administration has a “trial work period” program. While doing a trial work period, you are allowed to work and earn money that exceeds the SGA amount and still collect benefits.

If you have been denied disability, talk with an experienced disability attorney who can help you with your case. Click here to schedule a free consultation with an experienced disability attorney in the San Diego & Los Angeles area, serving all of Southern California.

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