While waiting for a decision on your Social Security disability benefits application, you have to rely on other sources to pay your bills. Some people believe that the only way to be approved for benefits is to quit your job. However, this is not necessarily true. If you need to keep working while you wait for a decision on your benefits, here is what you need to know.
What Is the Substantial Gain Activity?
When reviewing your application for benefits, the Social Security Administration, (SSA) will consider many different factors. One of those is how much income you are currently earning or what you were earning before you stopped working or taking part in your substantial gain activity (SGA). If you earn more than a set level, the SSA will not approve your application. The amount is periodically changed by the federal government. In 2015, it was $1,090.
How Do Your Earnings Impact Your Application?
Paying attention to the substantial gain activity level is important. Even if you do not earn more than the amount allowed, there is a possible effect from coming close to it. Although your benefits cannot be rejected based on income if you earn less than the substantial gain activity level, it can impact how your application is viewed. The SSA might consider an ability to work and earn some income as an indicator that you are not as disabled as you claim.
This is especially true if you are working a significant number of hours to make a living. For instance, if you are earning $8 an hour and working 30 hours a week, the SSA could argue that you are capable of working despite your disability and the fact that you earn less than the SGA monthly.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Approval Odds?
You do not have to quit your job to prove that you are disabled. You only have to prove that your disability is severe enough to last for at least the next 12 months. However, if you are not working due to the impact of the disability on your health, this will help your case.
It is important that you provide specific details about your disability on your benefits application. You also need to ensure that your doctor is accurately documenting the severity of your disability.
Before filing a claim for disability, talk to an attorney, like those at Iler and Iler, about what you can do to increase the chances of having your application approved even if you are working.