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Social Security benefits can provide crucial financial help to people with disabilities. Still, the benefits offered are not exactly huge sums of money. These payments are typically just enough to cover the costs of medical bills and everyday living expenses. To supplement your payments, perhaps you are thinking about getting a part-time job. The extra income may sound appealing, but you should think carefully about working while receiving disability benefits.

There are some instances in which working a job could affect the amount of Social Security that you receive. Depending on how much you earn, you risk losing a portion of your benefits. Before you accept a job offer, you should know more about working while collecting disability benefits.

Understanding Substantial Gainful Activity

The Social Security Administration measures disability in part by whether you are able to engage in substantial gainful activity, or SGA. SGA is any kind of work that earns a certain amount of monthly income. If you make over a certain amount of money per month, it could affect your disability status and benefits. For 2017, the SGA earning limits are:

  • $1,170 per month for non-blind disability applicants
  • $1,950 per month for blind disability applicants

If your income is higher than these amounts, it is possible that the Social Security Administration will try to deny your disability claim.

Consider the type of work

If you decide to work while still receiving disability benefits, the SSA may wish to evaluate your work ability. This is because earning an income lower than the SGA limit does not necessarily mean that someone is disabled. Some low-wage full-time jobs may pay less than the monthly income cap.

To the contrary, it is possible to earn high wages without performing substantial gainful activity. Some jobs that include accommodations for a disability may not accurately represent the employee’s ability to work.

To work, or not to work?

If you are interested in working while collecting disability benefits, your next step should be to contact a Social Security disability attorney. Having an advocate in your corner is crucial. With attorney, you may be able to gather evidence to help you, complete the necessary paperwork and maximize your benefits.