Can I work and file for Social Security Disability? The simple answer to this question is no. BUT (nothing is simple) does the Social Security Administration consider what you are doing as work?
SSA defines work as substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA (2021) is earning $1,310 a month. So if you are making less than $1,310 a month you are not “working” according to SSA. However, coming close to $1,310 a month may still render you a denial of benefits because it creates an inference that you are able to do more. There are exceptions, such as Unsuccessful Work Attempts (UWAs) and a Trial Work Period (TWP).
It is also important to note that sick pay and vacation time do not count as SGA: “If an individual receives sick or vacation pay for non-work days in a particular month, that pay should not be considered countable income for that month. Rather, the question is what work activity did the individual actually perform in the given month and what earnings did the individual actually receive for that work activity. Only the earnings paid as a result of work activity should be used in determining if the individual has engaged in SGA in a particular month.” Found here.
The Social Security Administration defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
If you are out of work for 12 months due to your disability and then return to work, you may be eligible for a closed period of benefits. “In order to establish a closed period, the evidence must show a period of disability that has a definite beginning and ending date.” Look here.
Many people call my office with serious health problems who are working full time. This is a very difficult situation but if you continue working despite your illness, then you are not disabled according to the Social Security Administration.
Only you can decide what is best for you. If you cannot work because of illness, you need to apply for Social Security Disability as soon as possible and call The Bishop Law Firm. We want to help!
This post was last updated in October 2019.