An injury, illness, or disabling medical condition can put a serious burden on your family. You may be wondering: Can I continue working while I wait for my Social Security disability claim to process? The answer is technically yes—though your claim could be denied on financial grounds alone if you earn too much income. In this article, you will find an overview of the most important things to know about quitting your job and Social Security disability claims.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability: Medical and Financial Requirements
Social Security disability benefits are paid by the federal government to disabled individuals through two separate programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs have different eligibility requirements.
Regardless, you must meet the requisite medical and financial standards to qualify for Social Security disability. Medical records must be provided to prove that you actually have a disabling condition. Financial information must be provided to prove you do not earn too much income.
Two Things to Know About Working While Waiting for an SSDI/SSI Claim
Technically, there is no requirement that you must refrain from working while seeking SSDI benefits or SSI benefits. However, you cannot qualify for either type of benefits if you earn too much income. The money you make through work is called substantial gainful activity. Here are two things to know about working while applying for Social Security disability:
- You Cannot Qualify for Social Security Disability if You Make Too Much Money: Social Security disability benefits are only available for those who qualify based on medical grounds and financial grounds. As of 2021, the maximum allowable monthly income for non-blind individuals applying for SSDI benefits is $1,310. Employment income is considered substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you earn more than the maximum allowable amount because you kept working, your claim can be denied on those grounds alone.
- Even If You Meet Medical Requirements, Too Much Income Can Lead to a Denial: It is important to emphasize that an SSDI claim can be denied solely because an applicant earns too much money each month through substantial gainful activity. Even if you have strong medical evidence supporting a disability and are working through severe pain, your claim can still be denied based solely on failure to satisfy the financial requirement.
Social Security Disability is Complicated: Professional Support is Available
The Social Security claims process is filled with potential pitfalls. Trying to decide if and when to resign from your job is just one of many difficult issues that must be addressed. The good news is that professional guidance and support is available during every step of the SSDI or SSI claims process. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help you determine the approach that puts you in the best position to recover the maximum monthly benefit. You may even be entitled to retroactive benefits (Social Security disability back pay) if you waited to apply after leaving your job.