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Social Security Disability Benefits & Part Time Work

Many people are not aware that a person can work on a part time basis and still be potentially eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, so let our Social Security disability attorneys help you. Each Social Security disability case is considered on its own circumstances. The Social Security Administration will review the amounts earned as well as the services performed. The hours per day and number of days per week worked are also important. All of these factors are considered in the determination of whether the work activity is enough to disqualify the claim of disability. If a person earns over a certain amount per month (as of 2011, the limit is $1,010/month), the work activity will be considered substantial and will usually cause the Social Security disability claim to be denied.

Self Employment and Disability

A person who is self employed may still be able to qualify for SSD benefits. The income earned alone is not the only factor. Under Social Security Ruling 83-34, the Administration is required to consider that the income may be influenced by other things such as capital investments, services of other people and agreements on distribution of profits. “A person who is incapable of rendering valuable services may receive a large income solely because of his or her capital investment in the business.” The Administration must consider if the services are significant to the operation of the business and if the income is substantial. They might also review the comparability of the work to that of unimpaired individuals performing the same or similar business. If the person’s work activity is clearly worth more than the SGA guidelines when considered in relation to its value to the business or compared to the salary an owner would pay to an employee for the same services, the self employment may be SGA even if the actual earnings are less than $1,010 per month.

Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Disability

Often a person will try to return to the work force while his Social Security Disability case is still pending or is on appeal. This work activity can have a major impact on the outcome of the Social Security disability claim. If the job lasts over 90 days, it may demonstrate that the person is able to work. It may also defeat the durational requirement of the claim, since a person must be unable to perform substantial gainful work activity for one year or longer to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. If the job attempt lasts less than 90 days, it does not usually affect the Social Security disability case.

Other Benefits and Social Security Disability

Sometimes a person is discouraged from filing for Social Security Disability benefits because he is already receiving some other type of benefits. These could include veteran’s benefits, short or long term disability through a private insurance company, pension benefits or public aid. Social Security Disability benefits are not affected by such other benefits. Similarly, a Social Security Disability claim may be pursued regardless of a person’s assets or home ownership. Social Security Disability is based upon the person’s contributions into the social security system and is not a welfare type of benefit. Income and resources do not play a role in determining eligibility under the Social Security Disability program. However, these factors do have an impact on a claim for SSI. Eligibility under the SSI program is discussed elsewhere on this site.

Persons receiving worker’s compensation benefits or governmental pensions may also seek Social Security Disability. However, benefits may be reduced in such cases, depending upon the circumstances.

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