Previously, this blog has discussed the technical requirements in the application process for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI and the workings of the Social Security Administration or SSA. The focus was generally on the ways individuals might show that one’s disability is severe enough to prevent him or her from working, as this is the most common type of application. However, people who work part-time or are going to school may also be eligible for benefits under certain circumstances.
The federal government considers ‘gainful employment’ for 2015 to be earning $1,090 or more per month. If one is bringing in more than that amount in income, one’s chances of being approved for benefits become small. Basically, if you wish to receive benefits while working or studying, you may have to show that the physical rigors of such work or schooling are not very severe. Our experienced disability attorneys have worked with doctors in past cases to successfully prove that they cannot perform their work or studies in the same way they would be able to without their disabilities.
Also, the SSA has several programs designed to allow people to attempt to work while retaining the safety net of their disability benefits. For example, the ‘trial work’ program allows you to work for nine months while keeping your benefits as long as you continue to have a disability and report your employment to the SSA. For purposes of measuring this period, a ‘trial work’ month is any month in which a person earns more than $780.
Once the trial work period ends, you may also receive benefits for a month when your earnings are not ‘substantial.’ To be considered substantial, your income would have to be more than the $1,090 figure noted above. This extended period of eligibility lasts for 36 months. Finally, for 5 years after you stop receiving benefits due to employment, you may request that SSA restart paying them without filing a new application if your disability forces you to stop working.
The government has an interest in placing incentives for people who want to work despite their disabilities. If you have questions about how part-time work or schooling may affect your benefits application, please consider taking a look at our SSDI while working website. This could provide you with general information, helping you take timely action in your matter.