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THE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BLOG

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Can I Apply for Social Security Disability If I Am Working?

Social Security Disability is based on the principle that individuals should receive some financial assistance if they:

  • have an injury or illness that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death, and
  • are unable to perform their prior work or adapt to other work.

If you are working and earning income while applying for Social Security Disability, then the Social Security Administration will consider whether you are capable of “substantial gainful activity” or SGA. Under current (May 2014) Social Security law, you are presumed capable of SGA if you are able to work and earn at least $1,070 per month (or $1,800 per month if you are blind). SGA involves doing significant physical and/or mental activities for pay or profit. SGA can include part time work.

In determining whether your work qualifies as SGA, the Social Security Administration will consider numerous factors such as your income earning ability, the type of work that you are doing, whether you require assistance or special equipment to perform tasks, your need to take frequent breaks or rest, the extent of accommodation by a friendly employer, whether you are allowed to work irregular or fewer hours, or produce less work than other workers.

You may apply for Social Security Disability at any time when you are no longer able to work if there is a reasonable expectation that you will be unable to work full-time for at least the next 12 months and your employment income falls below the amount allowed for SGA.

In some circumstances, a disability claimant may have a skill or hobby, such as selling items on eBay, that allows them to make an effort to earn money, but due to their injury or illness, they are unable to work a regular job under normal circumstances. Most people would prefer to work and be productive. If you are working while you are applying for Social Security Disability, this employment may negatively impact your ability to be approved for benefits because it presents a greater challenge to prove that you are not capable of SGA. You should consult an experience lawyer for advice on the tricky and confusing topics of SGA, work, and disability.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on Federal and North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY QUESTIONS

Q. What is the difference between SS and SSI?

Both SS and SSI benefits have the same requirements for disability--the inability to work at a suitable job for a continuous period of twelve (12) months or more. SS benefits (also called Title II) are based on the amount of SS taxes you have paid in the system for the ten (10) year period before you became disabled. SS benefits are generally higher than SSI benefits. Dependents of SS recipients may also be entitled to benefits. You should report any dependants to SSA even if they do not live with you. SSI benefits (also called Title XVI) are based on a financial need. You may be eligible for SSI benefits even if you have never worked or paid SS taxes in your life. Generally SSA...

Q. Can a child disabled since birth get SS disability benefits even if he has never worked?

A. Yes. If the child is under age eighteen (18) and you are poor enough, he may be able to qualify for SSI child's disability benefits. If the child is over age eighteen (18), he may be able to qualify for SSI disability benefits without regard to your income. If you or your spouse get some kind of Social Security benefit or if your spouse is deceased, your son may be eligible for disabled adult child benefits.

Q. What happens if I try to work when I am receiving Social Security benefits?

A. Social Security law requires that you report any income or benefits while you are receiving checks. You cannot work and be disabled at the same time. However, Social Security law permits you to make some efforts to work without jeopardizing your eligibility. If you fail to report any earnings made while trying to work, your Social Security check could be terminated. The law on making work attempts is complicated and changes on a regular basis. You should consult a qualified lawyer before deciding how you approach this issue.

Q. How much will a lawyer cost me?

The ALJ must approve any fee charged by a lawyer. Lawyers will take Social Security cases on a contingency or percentage (%) basis. The standard percentage is twenty-five percent (25%) of any past-due benefits you might be entitled to. If your claim is rejected by the ALJ, you will not owe any money for attorney fees. Although if you lose, you are still obligated to pay any "out of pocket" expenses such as costs to obtain medical reports, copies, long distance phone calls and other related calls. No fees will be charged on future benefit payments.

Q. What type of disability is required before I qualify?

You may be eligible for Social Security (SS) if you have mental and/or physical problems severe enough to keep you from working for a period of twelve (12) months or more at a regular paying job you are qualified to do. You must be unable to work at any reasonable job, not just the one you had before your disability. The inability to return to your present job, your age, education and work experience are all factors that SSA will consider.

Q. How long do I have to wait to file SS disability benefits?

A. No waiting period at all. You can file for SS disability the day you become disabled. SS law requires that your disabling condition either result in death or last for a period of twelve (12) months or more. Since the appeals process generally takes a few years, you should apply for disability as soon as you believe you are disabled.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY VIDEOS

Our Video Library is not closed-captioned.  Instead of embedding our videos, we have created posts for them, where full transcripts of can be found. Click on the links below to view the video and its transcript.

Social Security Detail

Social Security – Detail

Social Security part 4

Social Security Part 4

Social Security part 3

Social Security Part 3

Social Security part 2

Social Security Part 2

Social Security part 1

Social Security Part 1

Rules Regarding Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Rules Regarding Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Social Security Hearing Timeframe

Resolution of Social Security Disability Cases: A Timeframe Overview

Contemporaneous Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Claims

Contemporaneous Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefit

Working While on Social Security

Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Appealing Social Security Denials

Appealing the Denial of Your Social Security Disability Claim

Work History Requirements

Work History Requirements for Social Security Disability

Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Social Security Disability

Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Social Security Disability

Child Eligibility for Social Security

Child Eligibility for Social Security Benefits and Social Security Insurance

The Administrative Law Judge’s Role in Social Security Disability

The Administrative Law Judge’s Role in the Social Security Appellate Hearing

Compassionate North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyer

David Gantt describes his History in Helping People with Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Cases

~ What Our Clients Say ~

Google Review 2020

April 8, 2020

My first time meeting Mr.Gantt, he was very open and honest about what it takes to get my SSDI. He was optimistic about my case. He walked me through what he needed on my part. I was very happy with the results of my hearing. I am very pleased with Mr.Gantt and definitely recommend his…

Yelp Review 2019

December 19, 2019

David Gantt and his staff were excellent very informative, kept me updated on every move and with this dedication I was able to win my Social Security hearing. Highly Recommend.

November 2019 AVVO Review

November 27, 2019

Amazing! When my husband was injured, we didn’t know who to turn to. I started googling to find a attorney, I called Mr. Gantt, I couldn’t be more thankful! The nightmare was over as Mr. Gantt and his amazing team handled everything from that very moment! Not only was professional but extremely caring, taking time…

November 2019 AVVO Review

November 27, 2019

David Gantt and his staff handled my disability claim and they were excellent. I highly recommend him, he is the best in Western North Carolina. Mrs. Kelly Reaves 5.0 stars November 5, 2019

October 2019 Martindale Hubble Review

October 29, 2019

David is clear, precise, and delivers as promises.

2019 Google Review

August 7, 2019

The entire staff were welcoming, knowledgeable, helpful, and nice people! David was professional. He knew exactly what he was talking about and did what he said he was going to do. I have had a wonderful experience with this firm and will not hesitate to use them in the future.

2019 AVVO Review “Get ‘er done Gantt!”

July 10, 2019

I was very satisfied with David Gantt’s expertise and knowledge in all aspects handling my case. He dealt with all the paperwork and contacted all necessary providers to get my medical history – it was extremely hassle free! He communicated and counseled me on what to expect – being very forthcoming (he’s a straight shooter)!…

2019 Facebook review

June 5, 2019

I highly recommend Mr. Gantt. He is very kind and always professional. He prepared me for my disability hearing and calmed my nerves. Everything happened exactly as he said it would. I honestly do not think that I would have been approved for disability without his help. Also, his office staff were always ready to…

2019 Google Review

May 28, 2019

Mr. Gantt took good care of me. I will be forever grateful for him getting me the social security payments I need for a disability due to military service. He seems like a genuine compassionate good man. I highly recommend! ~C.M.

2019 Google Review

May 10, 2019

David and his entire staff are so nice and show compassion to everybody. He was there when I had any questions. David Gantt is the best attorney in his field, he goes above and beyond. I am extremely grateful to him and his staff. ~M.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

Very nice and friendly service. They always answered any of my questions. Had a great experience working with them on my disability case. I highly recommend there services! After trying for 6 years and 2 unfavorable decisions, David and his team did a great job representing my case and won. I appreciate there time and…

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

The whole office is very respectful. Answered all my questions. So Glad they were there cause I had no clue after fighting for 2 years. Thank you guys soo much. ~K.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

I am very grateful to David Gantt & his staff! They were wonderful and made the confusing process much easier to understand. I wish I had contacted them sooner. They were super to work with and such nice people! Thank you so much! ~K.S.

Avvo Review 2019

May 7, 2019

Mr. Gantt is a highly compassionate and professional lawyer. He worked hard for me to show my disabilities. Always pleasant and supportive, while being very much on top of his cases. I recommend David Gantt to anyone. Great Attorney! 5 Stars. ~ Dakota

Google Review 2019

April 10, 2019

Wonderful client services..very friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help clients. highly recommend him for anyone needing assistance for the Disability SSI. ~T.D.

2019 Google Review

April 9, 2019

I am so grateful to Mr. Gantt & his staff. They have been so professional and knowledgeable. They’ve answered all of my questions and made a very stressful situation, bearable. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Gantt. He is knowledgeable, professional & caring. ~J.H.

Avvo Review 2019

April 8, 2019

Linda Calloway Mundy David Gantt is an outstanding Lawyer. I highly recommend him. He was beside me all the way and I would like to thank him. ~Linda 5 Stars

2019 Google Review

March 9, 2019

David Gantt and his staff are very professional, upfront, honest and nice. They made me feel at ease discussing my case. They helped me with every step of the way towards my disability approval. I would recommend them to anyone. They kept me updated on everything. Just wish I had contacted them sooner. ~D.P.S.

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

When I applied for Social Security Disability I saw no reason that I would need a lawyer since my case seemed clear. It wasn’t until the second rejection that I realized that I had no idea how the system worked. A couple of local lawyers I had contacted suggested that I talked to David Gantt…

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

This office is fantastic. The staff is helpful and friendly. He is honest with you about the pros and cons of your case. He works hard to get a positive result. ~S.G.