Millions of Americans rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to support themselves during periods of severe illness or injury. But what happens if you can manage some part-time work while living with a disability? Can you still receive benefits? The answer, like most things in the realm of law and bureaucracy, is nuanced.
Understanding the "Substantial Gainful Activity" Rule (SGA)
The crucial factor in determining disability eligibility is the "Substantial Gainful Activity" (SGA) rule. In 2024, exceeding the SGA limit of $1,550 per month (or $2,590 if blind) generally disqualifies you for SSDI benefits. However, part-time work doesn't automatically push you above the threshold.
How Part-Time Work is Evaluated
- The Earning Amount: While gross income matters, Social Security considers business expenses and work-related deductions before comparing your net earnings to the SGA limit. A lower net income might still keep you within eligibility.
- The Nature of the Work: The type of work and its compatibility with your limitations are crucial. If your part-time job aligns with your disability restrictions and doesn't exacerbate your condition, it could strengthen your case for remaining on benefits.
- The Hours Worked: While earning under the SGA limit is key, working extensive hours, even part-time, might raise questions about your disability severity. This is particularly true if the job's demands resemble your pre-disability work capacity.
- Medical Evidence: Your medical records and doctor's assessments remain paramount. Strong evidence showcasing how your disability limits your ability to work full-time, even with current part-time employment, bolsters your case for continued benefits.
- Every case is unique, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers all relevant factors. Consultation with an attorney specializing in disability law is highly recommended.
- Transparency is key. Inform the SSA about any part-time work you engage in, providing details like income, hours, and job duties.
- Document everything. Keep records of your earnings, work schedules, and medical updates to support your claims.
Part-time work and disability benefits can co-exist in certain situations. By understanding the SGA rule, the evaluation process, and your rights, you can navigate this complex system and ensure you receive the support you deserve.
- Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html
- National Organization of Social Security Claimants (NOSSC): https://nosscr.org/
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult with a qualified attorney for specific guidance on your disability claim.