Did you know that working part-time while disabled can sometimes help to prove your case? Often times, disability attorneys will generally characterize a Social Security claim as having to prove that their client’s health prevents them from being able to work. Technically, however, disability lawyers are trying to prove that their client’s health prevents them from working a substantially gainful job. For 2018, a substantially gainful job is one in which a disability claimant is earning $1,180 per month or more gross (this is commonly referred to as SGA among Social Security practitioners).
How can working while on disability actually help my case?
If your job is not inconsistent with your alleged disabilities (for example – a brick layer with back pain, or a sales representative with anxiety); your part-time work (below $1,180 per month) can actually be utilized to provide corroborative evidence as to why you are unable to work a gainful job.
If you are working considerably under the SGA limits (ie. $800 per month gross or less), yet struggling to perform that activity, it can tend to show that you are not capable of working at a gainful level. Moreover, your continued work attempts in the face of a disability can be used bolster your credibility as that tends to show that you are doing everything possible to remain in the work-force.
What else should I know about working part-time while on disability?
If you are working under SGA and have an active disability case, it is very important that you explain to your doctors or therapists how your work activity is affecting you. For instance, if your back pain is being exacerbated and is causing you to lie down for hours after your shift or spend your days off in bed; make sure to tell your doctor. If your anxiety is worsened to the point that you have to take many breaks to calm down at work; make sure to tell your therapist. The problems that you have working a part-time job are highly relevant as to why you may not be able to work a full-time job (or work over SGA), but you must document the same. Not only can your medical records help you do this, but so can letters from your co-workers or supervisors who see you struggling to get through your shift. Most notably, I find that individuals who are working part-time usually come across quite credibly in court when they explain how their disabilities affect them in the work-place. Many claimants who are not working are able to thoroughly articulate their symptoms, but they often have a difficult time expressing how those symptoms limit their ability to work. Disability claimants who are working part-time often have a much easier time with this part of their testimony because they actually are working and therefore they know exactly how their symptoms are affecting them in a work situation and why they would not be able to work more hours.
Just because you are working, does not necessarily mean that you cannot claim disability. Part-time work and even full-time work attempts, during the pendency of a disability claim, can often be utilized by a skilled disability lawyer to show what happens when their client tries to work.
If you are working part-time but feel that your disabilities prevent you from earning over the SGA amount ($1,180 per month in 2018), please give us a call for a free consultation.