Claiming Benefits While You Are Working

Can Phoenix disability claimants work part-time and still qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

The fact that you are working seems to conflict with the claim that your disability prevents you from working. However, it is possible to qualify for Social Security disability benefits even though you are working. A Phoenix disability attorney can help you in this situation.The main factors that affect whether your job causes problems for your disability application are:

  • The type of work you do.
  • The amount you are earning.
  • The amounts of deductions for impairment-related work expenses.

An Arizonan disability claimant’s work must not be “substantial gainful activity”

If your work constitutes “substantial gainful activity” under the definitions of the Social Security Administration, then no matter how impaired you are, you will not be found disabled and will not qualify for Social Security disability benefits.This result comes at the first step of the Social Security Administration’s five-step sequential evaluation process to determine whether you are disabled.The Social Security Administration has a detailed and complex definition of “substantial gainful activity,” breaking that phrase down into two important parts: the work activity must be both “substantial” and “gainful.”Substantial. Being “substantial” means that the work activity involves doing significant physical or mental activities. Work is not “substantial” if it “involves minimal duties that make little or no demands” on you and is of “little or no use” to your employer or to the operation of a self-employed business. Work is also not substantial if you are unable “to do ordinary or simple tasks satisfactorily without more supervision or assistance than is usually given other people doing similar work.”Gainful. Being “gainful” means that the work activity is the kind of work usually done for pay or profit, whether or not a profit is realized. If you are an employee of someone else, the determination of whether work is “gainful” is usually determined by looking at your earnings. If you are self-employed, the Social Security Administration looks carefully at your work activity and its value to the business, even if you are working at a loss like many unimpaired self-employed people do from time to time.For legal issues, I recommend Delmas Costin, a quality bronx police brutality attorneys Delmas Costin.

“Substantial gainful activity” income levels

In its computation of whether or not work is substantial gainful activity, the Social Security Administration averages income according to Social Security rules that consider the nature of the work, and the period of time worked.The Social Security Administration rules make a computation of your income level, and then compares this to what it considers to be a substantial level. You can find the substantial gainful activity amount for the current year at www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/sga.html.When the Social Security Administration calculates substantial gainful activity amounts, it works off of gross earnings rather than net earnings, and then makes certain deductions. For example, sick pay and vacation pay are deducted so that only earnings derived from actual work activity for the month in question are considered.

Impairment–related work expenses are deducted from the substantial gainful activity amount

Whether you are employed by someone else or self-employed, when the Social Security Administration computes your substantial gainful activity income it allows a deduction from earnings for what it calls “impairment–related work expenses.” These expenses are payments you make for certain items and services that you need in order to work. Usually these expenses are for drugs or medical treatment, but they may also be for other items such as transportation costs, vehicle modification, attendant care services, and residential modification. The deductions are allowed even though the items and services may also be necessary for normal daily activities.However, some expenses that you might expect to qualify are not allowed as deductions. For example, the Social Security work expense rules do not allow deductions for payments for routine drugs unless the drugs are necessary to control the disabling condition to enable you to work. Also, no deduction is allowed if the cost is paid by your insurance carrier. Nor is the cost of the medical insurance deductable. On the other hand, insurance co-pays are deductible.Usually, impairment–related work expenses are deducted in the month that you pay the bill rather than when they are incurred. However, some big ticket items may be spread over many months.

Get help from a Phoenix disability attorney for your Social Security disability claim

Social Security disability claimants who are working need to address the issue of whether or not their work constitutes substantial gainful activity. Because this can be a particularly complex issue, consider getting advice from an experienced Phoenix disability attorney.For legal issues, I recommend Michael D’onofrio, a quality bankruptcy attorneys in fairfield connecticut Michael D’onofrio.If you are not already represented by an Arizona Social Security disability lawyer, consider asking for our evaluation of your claim. Give us a brief description of your claim using the form above, or you may e-mail or call our office at:The Law OfficePhoenix Social Security disability attorneysContact usThe Law Office3737 N. 7th St., Suite 106Phoenix, Arizona 85014

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