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Why Cant I Work and also file for Social Security Disability?

Can I work and also file for Social Security Disability?

Balancing Work and Social Security Disability: Navigating the Challenges

Maintaining a steady income and financial stability is a significant concern for many individuals who are grappling with disabilities. For those unable to work full-time due to their impairments, applying for Social Security Disability benefits may seem like a logical solution. However, the process of combining work and disability benefits can be complex and requires careful consideration. In this blog, we'll explore the reasons why working full-time and filing for Social Security Disability may pose challenges, shedding light on the intricacies involved and offering guidance for those facing this predicament.

  1. Eligibility Criteria and Earnings Threshold:

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA). One crucial factor is the ability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA), which refers to the ability to work and earn a certain amount of income. In 2023, the SGA limit is $1,470 per month for non-blind individuals and $2,460 for individuals who are blind. Earning above these thresholds may make it difficult to claim disability benefits, as the SSA considers the ability to work full-time as an indication of substantial capacity for employment. If you are consistently earning over $1470 gross pay per month, you will likely not be eligible to receive disability benefits.

2. The Trial Work Period (TWP):

The SSA recognizes that individuals with disabilities may wish to test their ability to work again without immediately losing their disability benefits. Hence, they offer a trial work period (TWP) during which beneficiaries can work full-time and still receive their full disability benefits. Keep in mind this program is for people who are already receiving disability benefits and want to try and go back to work. The TWP lasts for nine months, during which any month with earnings exceeding $940 (in 2021) is counted as a trial work month. After the TWP ends, earning above the SGA limit for more than three months can potentially lead to the termination of disability benefits.

3. Repercussions on Disability Benefits:

Engaging in full-time employment and earning above the SGA limit may result in the SSA reevaluating an individual's disability status. If they determine that the person's impairments no longer prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity, their benefits may be discontinued. However, it's important to note that the SSA employs various evaluation methods and considers factors such as the nature of the work, support and accommodations received, and medical evidence when determining continued eligibility for disability benefits.

4. Complex Reporting Requirements:

When you work while receiving disability benefits, it is essential to adhere to strict reporting requirements. You must accurately report your earnings to the SSA, including wages, self-employment income, and any work-related expenses. Failure to report income accurately or comply with the reporting obligations may lead to overpayments, penalties, or even potential fraud allegations.

5. Exploring Other Work Options:

While working full-time and receiving Social Security Disability benefits can be challenging, it's worth considering alternative work arrangements. Part-time or flexible work options may allow individuals to maintain a reasonable income without exceeding the SGA limit.


Juggling work and Social Security Disability benefits is a complex undertaking that demands careful consideration and adherence to the rules and regulations set by the SSA. Understanding the eligibility criteria, navigating the trial work period, and accurately reporting earnings are crucial steps in maintaining the delicate balance between work and disability benefits. Remember to consult with a qualified disability attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on your unique circumstances. By staying informed and seeking professional advice, you can make informed decisions and find a path that supports your financial stability while managing your disability effectively.

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