It can take a long time to get approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. In fact, if your initial application is denied, it can take over a year just to get a hearing date for your appeal. That’s a long time to wait for benefits, which is why many applicants wonder whether or not they are allowed to continue working while waiting for a decision. If you’re in this position, here’s what you need to know regarding your right to work:
How Does the Social Security Administration (SSA) Determine If You’re Disabled?
To determine whether or not your work will affect your ability to obtain benefits, it’s important to understand the SSDI eligibility requirements. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet these two conditions:
- Have a physical or mental condition that will either result in death or last for more than 12 months.
- Be unable to engage in work that is considered substantial gainful activity as a result of this physical or mental condition.
If you meet these two conditions, you will be approved for SSDI benefits.
What is Substantial Gainful Activity?
All work is not considered substantial gainful activity. The SSA defines substantial gainful activity as work that brings in more than a specific dollar amount every month. This dollar amount increases slightly every year. In 2020, it is $2,110 for blind SSDI applicants and $1,260 for all other SSDI applicants.
How does it work? Let’s say you are a non-blind disabled individual who is applying for SSDI benefits and wants to continue working while you await the SSA’s decision. If you are earning more than $1,260 per month from your job, you will not qualify for benefits. This is because you are currently engaging in work that is considered substantial gainful activity, so you do not meet the SSA’s definition of disabled.
But if you are earning less than $1,260 per month, keeping your job will not affect your eligibility since it is not considered substantial gainful activity.
These rules apply for most applicants, with several exceptions, including applicants who are self-employed. If you are considering applying for SSDI benefits, it’s best to discuss your situation with an attorney to determine if you qualify.
Are you suffering from a disability? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys help you obtain the Social Security disability benefits you deserve. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.