Does working part-time still qualify for Disability Benefits?

Disability Compensation and Part-Time Employment

Disability payments are offered to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability or medical condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers these benefits in order to assist you in paying medical bills and day-to-day living expenditures.

If you are or have been receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration and working part-time, there are a few variables you should be aware of that may influence your eligibility for disability payments. Exceeding the income limit for Substantial Gainful Activity while working part-time on disability may jeopardize your benefits.

Profitable Activity on a Large Scale (SGA)

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is any work that generates a certain monthly income. This is how the Social Security Administration determines whether or not you are disabled, because if you earn more than a particular amount per month, you can earn a competitive wage in the national economy regardless of your condition. For 2021, the SSA is as follows:

  • $1,310 per month for applicants who are not blind
  • $2,190 per month for applicants who are blind

When you seek for disability benefits and earn more than the SGA income limit, the SSA will almost probably deny your case. On the other side, if it can be established that your work does not qualify as significant gainful activity, even though your income exceeds the income limit, you may be advanced to the next phase in the SSA’s evaluation process, which is a medical eligibility determination.

If you leave your employment prior to applying for benefits, you must demonstrate to the SSA that you did so because your debilitating condition worsened and rendered you unable to work, not to avoid exceeding the SGA income limit.

Minimum Wages

Even if your income does not exceed the SGA limit, the SSA may wish to review your job ability. In other words, low earnings do not necessarily indicate an inability to work, and the SSA will still investigate the nature of your work to determine whether you are able to work and the low salaries are your decision.

This is true, for example, of volunteer activities. You may volunteer as a childcare provider at your neighborhood health care center. While you are not compensated for this activity, the fact that you are doing it demonstrates that you can work as a daycare provider despite your impairment and are not eligible for disability payments.

On the other hand, a high income does not always imply extensive profitable activity. You may be working under specific conditions designed to accommodate your impairment, which does not accurately reflect your capacity to work.

Contact a Disability Attorney

If you are unsure of your SGA or income restrictions, or if you require assistance applying for benefits or appealing a rejection of benefits from the Social Security Administration, you might consider hiring a disability benefits lawyer or advocate. A lawyer or advocate can assist you in gathering relevant proof, completing your application, and ensuring that your chances of receiving disability payments are maximized.