Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits while Working

Are you currently employed but are considering filing for Social Security Disability Benefits because you are disabled?  Are you wondering if you make too much money at your job in order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a multi-step questioning process in deciding whether or not you are disabled.  The first step in this process is to determine if the claimant is unable to engage in “Substantial Gainful Activity” (SGA).  SGA is defined as any activity that can be done for profit for a specified period of time. 

This profit is the money earned from performing this activity and is limited by the SSA.  Do not misinterpret this definition as being “work related” activity but understand that this is any activity that qualifies and is based on the amount of money you have made, or could have made, from the activity. 

The SSA has a specific earnings guideline to determine if you are engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity.  

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The amount of monthly earnings considered as SGA depends on the nature of a person’s disability (blind vs. non-blind individuals).  In 2009, the SGA amount for non-blind individuals is an average of $980 per month and for blind individuals it is an average of $1,640 per month.  If you earn more than these amounts, it’s unlikely you will be considered disabled. 

Every year, these amounts increase as there are increases in the National Average Wage Index.  When calculating your monthly earnings, you may be able to deduct certain Impairment Related Work Expenses that allow you to be able to work. 

For the expenses to be considered an Impairment Related Work Expense, the expense must not be reimbursed, must be related to your disability, and needed in order for you to be able to work.

Contact Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis to discuss your current and past employment earnings.  The Law Office of Lewis Disability Law can provide you more details regarding Substantial Gainful Activity as described by the SSA.

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