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Can I work while pursuing a social security disability claim??

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The advice and guidance of an experienced Charlotte social security disability attorney can be invaluable. Call Bridgman & Serbin at (704) 815-6055.

One of the most commonly asked questions we get asked from current or potential social security disability clients is “Can I work while I am waiting for my social security disability claim?” As a Charlotte social security disability attorney there is an easy short answer to this question, but there are numerous exceptions. The short answer is that you cannot work at the same time you are applying for social security disability. The reason is that when you apply for social security disability you are basically stating that you are unable to work because of a severe medical impairment and if you are working it is in contradiction to that statement. However, there are exceptions.

The main exception or rule is that you can work to a certain extent or amount and still be able to apply for social security disability. That amount this year is $1010 per month in gross wages, or before taxes. So, if you are working and you earn less than $1010 per month before taxes then technically you can still apply for social security disability and have your claim move forward. However, even if you earn less than that amount and your claim can move forward it may have a negative affect on your claim. What I usually tell prospective client’s is that if you were to earn $1009.99 then technically your claim can move forward, but it will be highly scrutinized if and when you get to the hearing stage and most Judges are going to really question your ability to work if you earned even close to the threshold amount. Working and earning money can also have an effect on how much you would get paid if you are eventually approved for disability because one type of disability benefit (SSI) is dependent on how much you earn and any earnings could reduce your benefit amount dollar for dollar for that time period.

If that wasn’t confusing enough, there are even other exceptions to this exception. There are rules in place that will allow your claim to move forward even if you earn more than the threshold amount of $1010 per month. One is called an “unsuccessful work attempt” and the other is called “income related work expenses.” These rules are used in specific circumstances and may allow an individual to keep their disability claim moving forward even though they may have earned over the threshold amount for a certain time period. These same rules may also allow an individual to claim an earlier onset date which may result in a larger lump sum benefit if they are eventually approved for disability. The specifics of these rules are far too complicated to explain in a short blog and require analysis on a case by case basis.

The best thing to do if you are currently working and thinking about applying for social security disability or if you have a current disability claim pending and want to consider working part time, you may want to speak with an attorney first before making that decision. If you have any questions about how your work activity may affect your social security disability claim, please feel free to contact one of our Charlotte, NC attorney’s at Bridgman Law Offices and take a look at our website at

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