Can I work while drawing Social Security disability benefits?

From time to time I get asked this question. It is a reasonable question because the amount of monthly disability benefits most people receive is difficult to live on.

There is no simple black and white answer to this question, and the answer is influenced by the unique facts of each case. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a several guidelines to consider.

1. The Social Security Administration (SSA) performs continuing disability reviews. SSA will look at all information it deems relevant. Any work activity is relevant and will be looked at closely.

2. SSA regulations state that if you earn more than $1,180 per month in 2018, you are not disabled. The closer your monthly earnings approach $1,180/m, the more such work puts your disability benefits in jeopardy.

3. The physical demands of the work are important. If you allege you are disabled because you cannot lift more than 10 pounds due to a bad back, but you lift 50 pounds at work, that part time work will put your benefits at risk even if you earn less than $1,180/m.

4. The number of hours worked per week is important. If you work 30 hours a week on a consistent basis, that part time work will put your benefits at risk even if you earn less than $1,180/m.

5. Consider how long it took you to get disability benefits. Do you want to do anything that might put your Social Security disability benefits in jeopardy?

Ultimately, this question boils down to how much risk you are comfortable with. In my opinion, working part time while drawing disability benefits increases the possibility that SSA may terminate your benefits.

If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits and considering returning to work, it is best to first speak with an experienced disability attorney to represent you on appeal. You certainly need to explore SSA’s Ticket to Work program. To obtain a free analysis of your disability case, click on the Contact Us button.

work and Social Security disability benefits

David R. Paletta – Attorney at Law