The definition of social security disability is that you have a medical problem that prevents full time work. So if you are engaged in full time work, you are at direct conflict with social security definition of social security disability. You cannot obtain social security disability benefits if you are working full time no matter how bad your medical condition is. The big issue comes up when my clients ask me, what about part time work? Can part time work be consistent with social security’s definition of disability? The answer is yes, but it could have a negative impact on your case. The government defines full time work by dollars, not by time. So if you are making $1130 in 2016, then you are considered full time employed. If you are below that, it is considered part time, and legally speaking you are eligible to seek social security disability benefits.
But there is a practical aspect to this too. Even if you are technically, legally below that $1130, the judges start to get skeptical when you are making very close to that amount. So for example, if someone went to work part time and they are making $1000, they are only $130 away for the limit, the judge will wonder why can’t they just work a few more hours, and the case then becomes you start to have more proof to prove that they could not work just a little bit more.
So what I usually tell people, from what I’ve noticed, once you cross over $500 a month of part time work, questions start to arise, and the judges start to be a little more skeptical. Another thing the judges will look at is how physically demanding the job is. So if it’s a construction job and you are doing very heavy manual labor, but you are only doing $500 a month, the judge will wonder maybe you can’t do that full time but you could do a sit down secretary job full time. The bottom line is, the more you work, the more it hurts your social security case. But your social security is not always the most important thing in your life. You have your health concerns and you have your family’s financial needs. What you should do is listen to your doctor. Don’t work more than your doctor recommends. If you’re following your doctors instructions, the next thing you should do is try your very best to help your family with their financial needs, and then you will be able to get in front of that judge, look him straight in the eye, and tell him that you tried your very best and that you still cannot work full time, and it will be convincing. If you or a loved one are worried about this situation, feel like you need to file for disability, and are wondering how to handle with any part time work, give us a call. It is a delicate situation and we want to help. Fill out a form online and we’ll get back with you as soon as we can.