Can I apply for disability while I’m still working?

If you are currently working, there are certain circumstances where you can still qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Whether you qualify for disability while you are working depends on the following factors, including:

  • The amount you are earning;
  • The type of job and industry you work in;
  • Expenses related to your impairments; and
  • The type of disability diagnosis you’ve received.

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) finds you can perform substantial gainful activities (SGA), no matter how many of the above factors apply, you will not be awarded disability benefits. However, for SSA to issue a denial you must be both “substantially” and “gainfully” employed. SSA defines “substantial” work activities as work that involves significant mental and physical activities. Work is no longer “substantial” when you cannot complete “simple tasks satisfactorily without more supervision or assistance that is usually given to people doing similar work.” “Gainfully” employed is determined strictly from your history of earnings.

WHAT IF I KNOW MY HEALTH WILL DECLINE RAPIDLY?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition that may end in death or will have a significant and rapid impact on your health, start your application for disability benefits early. You may be denied while you are still working regular hours, but SSA will consider your current condition upon appeal. Due to the long timeline it takes for many claimants to be awarded benefits, starting the application process early helps to minimize wait times.

WILL IT HURT MY DISABILITY CLAIM IF I AM STILL WORKING FULL TIME?

If you are still working full-time, it will likely be difficult for you to be awarded disability benefits. The SSA will argue if you are able to work full-time, then you are not disabled.

WILL IT HURT MY DISABILITY CLAIM IF I AM APPLYING FOR JOBS OR START A NEW JOB?

For almost all disability claimants, money is tight. You are facing health problems and trying to make ends meet without a regular paycheck. If you apply for a job or start a new job, and you cannot keep the job due to your disabling conditions, this may help your Social Security disability claim. SSA wants people to actively try to work. However, a pattern that shows you cannot keep a job due to your conditions demonstrates to SSA the severity of your disability.

If you are still working despite a disability and want to find out if you may be a good candidate for disability benefits, call (888) 687-2400 for a free consultation.

Tyler Patterson

About Tyler Patterson:

Tyler Patterson is a trial attorney with Patterson Legal Group, L.C., representing accident victims and their families. Tyler has developed an extensive network in the Kansas legal community. Patterson is a graduate... Read More »

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