I was recently asked the following question:
I need my job to survive. I can’t quit. I have some vacation days and sick time, but it is not enough to go without pay until they tell me I qualified.
How do I still work and file for SS Disability without loosing any income?
I have previously discussed working while applying for disability benefits. However, this question presents some new issues.
Here is why: Continue reading Can I get Social Security disability without losing income?
What does it mean if the Administrative Law Judge or Vocational Expert mentions “non-competitive work” during a Social Security disability hearing?
“Non-competitive” refers to types of work:
- Competitive work is, well, just regular work; with no set-asides, no accommodations beyond the norm.
- Work that is performed under special circumstances or that is set aside for disabled individuals (for example: work through Goodwill Industries) is typically viewed as “non-competitive.”
SSR 05-02 (a Social Security Ruling) provides guidance about what constitutes “work under special condition.” Continue reading Social Security Hearings: Competitive and Non-Competitive Work
Not everyone who applies for Social Security wants to be on disability for the rest of their lives. Many just want temporary help while recovering from an injury and figuring out what they can do next.
There are also some cases that keep getting denied.
Whether by choice or necessity, retraining may be something you eventually consider.
Recently, I was talking with a client about the options if Social Security denies her case. She would like to go back to school but has no idea what to study or how to pay for it. It occurs to me that this is a discussion a lot of people would like to be in on.
Here are the retraining options we discussed: Continue reading Retraining options if you are disabled
As discussed previously, impairment related work expenses (IRWEs for short — pronounced “Eer-whee’s”) are a way of reducing an individual’s earnings below the substantial gainful activity threshold, and thereby preserve eligibility for disability benefits.
Social Security has a great chart showing examples of which IRWEs are deductible (can be used to reduce income) and which are non-deductible (cannot be used to reduce income): Continue reading More information about Impairment Related Work Expenses IRWEs!
Now that I know the critical dates and the medical history I review the work history.
Social Security reviews cases using the 5 step sequential evaluation process. At step 4, if you are still able to do any of the jobs you performed in the last 15 years before you became disabled, you can be denied benefits. There are a couple more wrinkles to this, such as the job has to be a substantial gainful activity, but the general idea is that if you can still do a job your over the last 15 years, you can be denied.
That’s why your work history is so vitally important in a disability case. Here is how you get started. Continue reading Your Social Security exhibit file – Part 3 work history
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits you have to show that your disability prevents you from being able to work. In Social Security’s words, you have to show that you are unable to engage in a substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA translates into a maximum dollar amount you are allowed to earn and still be potentially eligible for Social Security benefits.
For 2015, the most you can earn is $1,090 per month (before taxes or deductions). If you earn more than this, Social Security may say that you are engaging in a substantial gainful activity and, therefore, not eligible for disability benefits.
The SGA issue is so important that it is the very first step of the 5 step sequential evaluation process – the way Social Security evaluates adult disability claims!
What do I do if I earn more than the substantial gainful activity amount? Does than mean I can’t get Social Security disability benefits?!?
Continue reading I earn too much for Social Security disability, what can I do?
This is a particularly tough question. I previously wrote about how earning more than the Substantial Gainful Activity amount may cause your benefits to be stopped in Social Security Disability Insurance cases.
WARNING: I do not pretend to be a understand SSI benefits calculations. I strongly encourage anyone reading this to check this information with Social Security. Also, any Social Security technicians are more than welcome correct any errors I may make here.
To figure out how much you can earn, I need to introduce the 20-65-1/2 rule. This rule helps us determine the “countable earned income.” Continue reading How much can I earn and keep my SSI?
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits you have to show that your disabilities prevent you from being able to work. In general, you have to show that you are unable to perform a substantial gainful activity (SGA).
However, there are exceptions to this general rule, including Subsidized Wages or Sheltered Work environments.
Social Security can only consider the money you earn in deciding if your work is a substantial gainful activity. Anything over the “reasonable value” of your work, may be a subsidy. Social Security cannot consider a subsidy, basically a “gift,” as earnings in determining if the work is a substantial gainful activity.
So, how does sheltered and subsidized work play into this analysis? Continue reading Social Security SGA: sheltered and subsidized EXPLAINED
I previously wrote about the various exceptions which may allow you to keep your Social Security disability benefits even if you return to work. The most common of these is an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA).
If you work for 6 months or less at a substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, your work may qualify as an Unsuccessful Work Attempt and not affect your application for benefits (or your current Social Security disability benefits if you have already won your case).
Another benefit of the Unsuccessful Work Attempt exception is that it applies for both Social Security Disability Insurance (20 CFR 404.1574) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (20 CFR 416.974) cases. This is a major difference between Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Trial Work Periods. Continue reading Social Security Disability and the Unsuccessful Work Attempt