Going a year or more without working can be very financially difficult for anybody. Your bills don’t stop coming even if you are unable to work. You don't think you can work but you are not ready to throw in the towel. So you wonder should I try to work while I wait for a decision because you need some money coming to pay the bills. Most people would rather work than file for disability for a number of reasons but most importantly they would rather not think of themselves as disabled. If you are able to work 8 hours a day, five days a week you are not disabled. If you want to try to work while applying for disability you should be aware how SSA views your work activity.

When you apply for disability the first thing that is evaluated even before your medical records are evaluated is whether you are working and engaging in substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity is defined as work in an amount over $1180 per month gross earnings. This amount is for employees, there are a different set of rules for self-employed. If you try working and are able to work and earn more than $1180 then you will probably not qualify for disability. However if you have to stop working because of your impairments then you are able to honestly tell the Judge you tried but had to stop because of your impairments. The rules in this area are tricky and you should be entirely candid with your attorney about your work activity. It is also required that you notify Social Security about your work activity, The best way to do this is.to provide SSA and your attorney a copy of your paycheck stubs. This is an area of disability law where the arithmetic is crucial to your case. Sometimes someone becomes too clever, but they quickly find themselves making too much money either unintentionally or due to the demands of an unsympathetic employer.

Second, while Social Security says that you can make up to $1,180 per month, working might still reduce your credibility. If you are making only a little less than $1,180 per month, a judge may wonder why you can’t work just a bit more.

Finally, depending on the type of work you are doing it could be difficult to prove you can’t do other types of work. To determine whether you are disabled, Social Security considers whether there is some other type of work you can perform. We always urge our clients to talk to us if they are considering working. These work rules apply to working during the first twelve months after onset of disability, a different set of rules apply after the initial twelve months after onset of disability.

Timothy J. Cuddigan (Founder - Retired)
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Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience