Working While Applying for Disability

By Jessica M. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Can I Work While Applying for Disability?

The answer is yes, but it’s tricky and may not be your best option.

"Are you truly unable to work?" This question is inevitable when applying for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. In 2022, there is an earnings threshold of $1350/month. That means if you can work and earn this much each month, you do not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. In the long run, you will benefit more from continuing to work if you are able to meet or exceed the earnings threshold.

Can I work at all?

An allowance is provided if you attempt to work. If you cannot work, we can ask SSAto overlook the attempt depending on the amount of time you worked.

Can I Work While Receiving Social Security Benefits?

After you’ve received your SSDI or SSI benefits, SSA has programs that allow you to try to work, should you choose to do so. Again, there are earnings thresholds and time periods which you cannot exceed if you want to keep getting your disability benefit. Also, if you are receiving SSI, Social Security may offset your benefits because your SSI check is based upon the income and resources in your household. This is an important consideration to discuss with your attorney before beginning to work.

Should I Quit My Job and Apply for Disability?

People will often call us and say, “Currently I’m working, but I think I am disabled. Should I quit my job?” The answer is no, do not quit your job. As we said earlier, if you can work, continuing to do so is often the best choice for your health, well-being, and financial situation. Further, there is no guarantee that you will get Social Security disability. Do not quit unless you absolutely have to and cannot make it through a workday consistently anymore that's when you should apply for disability.

Can I Apply for Unemployment and Disability?

When talking to someone about applying for disability, one of the first questions we ask is whether they have applied for unemployment benefits. Often the answer is yes; this was the only way they could make ends meet. This poses a significant problem.

When you apply for disability, you are telling the government that you can no longer work due to a disabling condition. When you apply for unemployment, you are telling the government that you can work, but don’t currently have a job and can’t find one. While receiving unemployment benefits, you are supposed to be actively looking for work. The two narratives – that you are actively seeking work AND that you are too disabled to work – contradict each other. For this reason, we often move the onset date for disability to a period after you have stopped receiving unemployment benefits.

Navigating Social Security

Friedman Law Firm can help you at any stage of your claim, beginning with filing the initial application. Our attorneys and staff can advise you about what government programs/benefits might be available to you and how those programs may affect your eligibility for SSDI and SSI.

If you have questions about the information discussed here, need representation for your case, or know someone who does, reach out to us to schedule a free consultation. You can call us at 800-728-0434, or message us through our Contact page.

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