You can work part-time and still get disability benefits. However, your eligibility largely depends on how much you make while working.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) notes that you cannot make more than a certain amount of money to qualify for benefits. For example, in 2022, you cannot make more than $1,350 a month gross and still qualify for the program. Your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits also depends on other factors, including your age and work history.
Eligibility Depends on Income Level
To figure out if you qualify for Social Security Disability, it is more important to look at how much money you make and how many financial assets you own than it is to look at your working hours. This applies to both Disability benefit programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
For SSDI applicants, the current income limit is $1,350 a month gross as of 2022. If you have a job that pays you less than this amount, you can still qualify for benefits.
For SSI applicants, your total assets must total no more than $2000 and your monthly income must not exceed the SSI monthly benefit. This includes, with some exceptions, the income you make from a part-time or full-time job.
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What if My Income Changes Over Time?
It is normal for a worker’s wages to change throughout their career. You may qualify for a raise, or your employer may cut your working hours. If you are receiving or applying for Disability benefits, these changes can have a big impact on your claim.
If your income rises above the maximum allowed amount, you:
- Can no longer receive benefits
- Must report the change to the SSA
- May be asked to repay benefits you have already received, if you did not report the income increase fast enough and continued to receive benefits you were no longer eligible for
If your income decreases, you:
- May be able to receive more benefits than you do now
- Must report the change to the SSA
- May have to supply the SSA with evidence showing your new income status
Disability lawyers keep a close eye on the SSA’s income requirements. They can help you figure out if you qualify for benefits based on your income level.
What if I’m Self-Employed? Can I Still Receive Disability Benefits?
For those who earn income through self-employment, the rules become more complicated. This could apply to anyone who generates income through:
- Running internet-based ventures
- Any type of income from self-employment
If you want to apply for Disability benefits as a self-employed individual, you still cannot make more than the SSA’s income limits. Social Security may also look at how much time you spend doing your job even if your income is below the limit. So, proving your income when applying for benefits can quickly get confusing.
Our Social Security Disability lawyers can assess the information you need and check your application for completion and accuracy.
What Work History Do I Need To Qualify for Benefits?
When you apply for disability, the SSA requires you to provide:
- The date your medical condition affected your ability to work
- Your work history
- The types of duties you did in the primary job you had
After receiving this information, the SSA will evaluate your work history to determine what skills you learned, the responsibilities you had, and your jobs’ physical demands. This evaluation helps the SSA decide whether any of those skills or faculties could transfer to other jobs.
You Also Need Work Credits To Qualify for SSDI Benefits
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have earned enough work credits based on your job history. You earn work credits by working at a job that pays into Social Security and earning a certain amount of income throughout the year. You can earn up to four credits per year.
If you have a long history of working at a full-time job and recently stopped working, you most likely have enough work credits to meet the SSA’s requirements. Our attorneys can look at your employment history to determine if you qualify.
What if I Don’t Have Enough Work Credits?
If you don’t have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
SSI offers benefits to applicants with low incomes and few personal assets, even if they have not earned enough work credits throughout their employment history. If you do not earn much money and have only worked part-time or sporadically throughout your lifetime, you might meet the requirements for SSI.
While the SSI program counts several different types of income toward its program limits, it also allows for some exceptions and exemptions such as property that you own but also live in. We can look over your financial information to determine if you meet the requirements for this program.
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How Do I Prove My Work History?
As part of your application, you will be expected to submit documentary evidence pertaining to the following categories.
- Past and current employment
- Past and current income levels
- Other financial resources you have or rely on
- Past and current medical condition
- Citizenship status
Can I Get a Part-time Job While Receiving Disability Benefits?
The goal of Disability benefits is to provide financial resources while you cannot work. However, for some individuals, their conditions will get better over time, allowing them to work part-time or full-time jobs.
The Ticket to Work Program
If you are an SSDI recipient, you have the option of participating in this program.
The SSA gives you a trial period in which you work regularly. This is a “test run” to see if you can return to the workforce. During this time, your benefits will continue. If your disability still prevents you from working full-time, you can stop and continue receiving benefits.
Your trial work period (TWP) lasts for a maximum of nine months during a five year period of time. You can use that time all at once or spread out over several years.
Other Work Incentive Programs
If you are not eligible for the Ticket to Work program, the SSA offers other work incentivization programs to help you explore and understand your options. Some of these options are listed on Pages 12-15 of the SSA’s Red Book.
If you have any questions about your eligibility for such programs or Disability benefits, a Disability lawyer can assist you.
Why Work With a Social Security Disability Lawyer From Our Firm on Your Case?
The SSA denies a large percentage of applications upon their first submissions. Our team understands that Disability benefits mean the world to your financial stability.
We help our clients by:
- Making sure your application is complete
- Explaining the application and appeals process
- Meeting strict deadlines
- Representing you before an Administrative Law Judge
- Answering your questions
- Monitoring the status of your claim
- Ensuring the SSA has the necessary information about your healthcare
Our co-founder, Cynthia C. Berger, has reviewed thousands of Disability claims during her career. Attorney Berger and her team can use their years of experience to assess the strength of your application and whether you can work while receiving benefits.
Partner With Berger and Green on Your Disability Benefits Case
At Berger and Green, we customize a benefits strategy for each client. We can help you apply for benefits or challenge the SSA’s decision if it denied your claim.
If your disability was caused by someone else’s negligence in Pennsylvania, our team can explore the possibility of filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit to seek additional damages. We also help Disability claimants in Ohio. To begin your free case review, call us today.