Many clients ask if part time work wiil hurt their Social Security disability application. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors:

  • Your limitations;
  • The type of work you perform part time; and
  • The amount of money you earn each month.

It is important to start by remembering a basic rule: if you are under age 50 you must be unable to do sedentary work to be found disabled. So if you are doing a light or medium job part time, a judge might wonder why you couldn't do a sedentary job full time. If you are suffering from a physical condition that makes it difficult for you to stand or lift heavy objects, the judge might find that performing a part time job that requires you stand is inconsistent with your claim that you are unable to stand for extended periods. Talk to a Social Security disability lawyer about whether the type of part time work you are performing is inconsistent with your disability case. This may mean that you look for part time work that is different than the work you have done in the past.

Earning Too Much May Hurt Your Social Security Disability Application

Social Security rules say that you can earn up to a $1,070 dollars in a month in 2014 before engaging in substantial gainful activity. Watch out for this advice because while it is technically correct, it is somewhat misleading. This is the amount the law says you can earn; however, if you made close to that amount for several months the Judge would likely find that you are not disabled. The Judge with good reason would likely think that you are able to work. If you want to try to work part time it is best to keep your earnings below the trial work earnings period amount which is $770 for a month in 2014. If you are able to work full time obviously you are not disabled and should not be applying for disability.

The rules for self employment are complicated. Starting a business while waiting for a disability case to be decided can backfire. It is possible to be found to be engaging in substanial gainful work activitiy even if your part time self employment loses money.

While it may be necessary to try to work to support yourself during the long wait for a hearing, it is important to understand how part-time work affects your case. Be sure to talk to your attorney about your work. For more information contact Cuddigan Law at (402) 933-5405 or email us at [email protected]

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