Can I Work While On Disability?

California Attorney Don H. Jorgensen: 1-888-855-2948

The eligibility requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are different. SSI is for people with limited income and limited financial resources. As such, people who work but who make a limited income may be eligible to receive SSI.

SSDI is for people who have a physical disorder or mental disorder that has substantially affected their ability to work. According to the official Web site for the Social Security Administration:

“Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability. ‘Disability’ under Social Security is based on your inability to work.

We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.”

This language is somewhat confusing because it could be inferred by many that any part-time work makes an applicant ineligible for SSDI benefits. However, a minimal amount of work and income does not necessarily make a person ineligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance. The Social Security Administration uses a complex formula to decide what level of earnings makes a person ineligible to receive SSDI benefits. Making a few hundred dollars a month will not necessarily make a person ineligible for benefits.

The SSA Web site states:

“If you are working in 2008 and your earnings average more than $940 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled.”

Once you are approved for SSDI benefits, you may be able to perform limited work for a limited period of time designed to help you get back into the workforce through incentives programs.”

“Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules, called “work incentives,” that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work.”

Contact an Attorney at Jorgensen Law

To schedule a free consultation with a California Social Security Disability lawyer at our San Diego, Los Angeles or Riverside law office, call 1-888-855-2948, or contact us by e-mail.