You can apply for Social Security Disability if you have been injured or you are unable to work. But does that mean that you can’t work at all and still get benefits from Social Security Disability?
No, you can work and receive social security benefits but there are going to be certain rules and limitations to how much you can work if you are to keep your benefits. These benefits function rather differently than workers’ compensation does, in that workers’ comp is generally taken for when you will be unable to work for a short period of time because of an on-the-job injury. Social Security Disability benefits are for those who are dealing with long-term injuries or health conditions that prevent them from returning to full-time employment.
Note the use of full-time employment there. This will become more important in a moment. But first we’re going to take a look at what Social Security Disability is so that we’re on the same page. Then we’ll look at if and how many hours you can work while receiving Social Security Disability benefits. Finally, we’ll look at what happens if you work too much or if you recover enough to return to full-time work.
What Is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability benefits are not the same or even the equivalent as workers’ comp. We saw above that workers’ compensation benefits are appropriate for more short-term injuries while Social Security Disability benefits are more appropriate for long-term issues. However, because these two types of benefits are not related to each other it is possible to apply for and receive both concurrently.
The big difference between workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability benefits is that you can apply for the latter without having to have suffered an on-the-job injury. There are a few criteria which you have to fit to be able to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. These requirements are:
- You must be 18 years of age or older
- You must not be receiving benefits on your own Social Security
- You have to be unable to work due to a medical condition that will at least for at least twelve months
- If your medical condition will not least for at least twelve months you can still apply if the condition is expected to end in death
- It has been more than sixty days since you were previously denied disability benefits
If you are able to apply for benefits then it is recommended you do so quickly. This is because it takes six months for approval before you will start to see any money and so it’s best to get started quickly so you get access to those benefits as soon as possible.
So Am I Able to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability?
This is a bit of a complicated question to answer. It is possible to work and receive Social Security Disability benefits. This is great news, especially for those who are able to get a little bit of work in during the months after approval while still waiting for the benefits to actually commence.
But you need to consider how much you are working and what kind of work you are doing. This is because officials need to consider if you actually need Social Security Disability benefits or not. If you are working on a construction site three or four days a week then your disability obviously isn’t so bad as to prevent you from taking part in substantial gainful activity.
Substantial gainful activity represents how much salary an individual can make per month and still qualify for disability benefits. It is important that you don’t work too much, otherwise you will push yourself over the limit of what is acceptable and this will result in a failure to get Social Security Disability benefits. The important numbers to keep in mind are:
- If you have the capability of sight then you can earn no more than $1,260 per month
- If you are blind then you can earn no more than $2,110 per month
Being over does not necessarily mean that you are cut off but that is a risk. Another possibility is that if you go over the earning cap for a month then you will simply earn less benefits that month.
What Happens If I Work Too Much or I Recover Enough to Return to Work?
Officials working for the Social Security Administration are tasked with monitoring your earnings. This means that if you work too much, they will be among the first to notice and this will have an effect on your benefits. As mentioned above, it could be that you lose the benefits or that you simply receive reduced benefits to account for your own earnings.
There isn’t really a guideline on how many hours you can work in a month. The focus is on your earnings. However, it is worth noting that working a lot of hours can negatively affect your benefits. If you are working a lot then SSA may consider you as being in good enough health to no longer need Social Security Disability benefits.
If you can return to work or you find work that accommodates your disability then you can switch into a trial work period. This gives you nine months to work without voiding your eligibility for benefits. Basically, it means that the system will let you give working full time a try to see if you can handle it. If returning to work is too much for you with your disability then you don’t have to commit to returning, you are still eligible for benefits. But if you are able to return and no longer need the benefits then they can end after nine months. As a bonus, during this trial period you can earn both the benefits and however much you are able to through work.
Who Should I Talk to About Social Security Disability in Boston?
It’s always a good idea to reach out to an experienced attorney such as Joel H. Schwartz. Any questions you have or issues that arise, you can trust in your attorney to help you through. If you’re looking for answers about Social Security Disability benefits in Boston then reach out to us today!