Can You Work Part-Time on Social Security Disability?

Many people who are in the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits wonder: “Can you work part-time on Social Security disability?” A large part of applying for disability benefits is that you are unable to sustain regular, full-time work due to medical complications or conditions.

Whether or not you can work part-time on benefits depends on your situation – for example, if you were previously working full-time but are now unable to do so, you can be considered eligible to receive benefits. However, if you were working part-time prior to applying for disability and Social Security determined that you would be able to perform this work on a full-time basis, your disability claim could very well be denied.

Below, we navigate what it means to work while receiving disability benefits and the nuances that come with it.

Can You Work Part-Time on Social Security Disability?

The short answer is yes. You need to earn a living while you are waiting to get approved for disability benefits, though it may not always be in your favor to work during the approvals process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at a number of factors while they determine your eligibility for benefits. These considerations can include:

  • Amount of earnings you make through substantial gainful work activity
  • Number of hours you’re able to work
  • Type of work you are performing
  • Extent of the impact your condition has on your work performance

Understanding Substantial Gainful Activity

Substantial gainful activity (SGA), according to the SSA, is activities that involve a significant amount of physical or mental capability. If a person has functional limitations that prevent them from these types of activities, they can be considered to receive disability benefits.

Gainful work activity can include:

  • Work conducted for pay or profit
  • Work that is commonly completed for pay or profit
  • Work with the intent of receiving a profit (whether or not the profit is actually paid out)

As long as your earnings don’t exceed a certain amount set by the SSA each year, it is often not problematic to work part-time within these limits.

In 2022, the SGA limit to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits is $1350 per month and $2260 per month for blind individuals.

The SSA will look at not only how much you are making while working part-time, but also the “worth” of your work that might impact whether or not you’re eligible for benefits. What is the value of the work you are performing? It’s known that some employers will subsidize an individual’s wage due to their disability and pay them in full even if they aren’t completing the full extent of their job requirements; in a situation like this, SSA will determine an employee’s actual value and what the earnings accurately reflect.

It should also be noted that even if a person is earning less than the SGA limit but able to work more than part-time, the SSA may consider them to be capable of full-time work and dismiss their claim.

Contact the Disability Lawyers at Woodruff & Mathis

At Woodruff & Mathis, we understand that Social Security regulations can be extremely complicated, and disability benefit denials are common. The application process is both lengthy and time-sensitive – navigating it can be overwhelming and stressful for someone who has never been in this situation before. Let us help you handle your claim! We will work with you each step of the way to help you win your case and receive the benefits you deserve.

To learn more about our Social Security legal services, please request an appointment with Woodruff & Mathis today.