Can I get Social Security disability benefits if I work from home?

Man Working From Home on His ComputerYes, if you are eligible for Social Security disability, you may still receive disability benefits even if you work from home. Below, we will address common questions people who work from home ask about Social Security disability eligibility so that you know what to expect and how to protect your rights.

Are You Disabled?

Social Security disability helps people who can’t work for at least 12 months or who are likely to die because of their disability. If you can continue engaging in substantial gainful activity from home, then you are ineligible for Social Security disability benefits. However, if you can’t work or if you can only earn a modest amount—in 2021, that amount is less than $1,310 a month for people who are disabled but not blind—then you may be eligible for benefits if you can prove that you are disabled.

The Social Security Administration may find you disabled if one of the following is true:

  • You meet the disability requirements included in one of the Blue Book Listing of Impairments sections.
  • Your condition is equal in severity to a listing in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments.
  • Your condition prevents you from working your job or adjusting to new work and is expected to last for at least one year or cause your death.

Social Security disability is not an option if you suffer from a partial or temporary disability.

Did You Pay Into the Social Security System While You Worked From Home?

The Social Security Administration only pays Social Security disability benefits if you are disabled and you have paid enough into the Social Security system to qualify for benefits.

Most people need 40 work credits to qualify for Social Security disability and 20 of those credits must have been earned in the 10 years immediately preceding your disability. Younger people may qualify with fewer credits.

The criteria for earning a work credit change annually. In 2021, you earn one work credit for every $1,470 earned in wages or self-employment income. You can earn a maximum of four credits per year.

In order for income to count as a work credit, it must have been reported to the government and subject to federal taxes. Any work that you did from home and did not report would not count as a work credit. For example, if you babysit in your home, sold art you created, tutored, or did other “under the table” work that was not reported to the government, then that work would not count toward your Social Security disability eligibility.

Can You Still Do Your Work From Home Job?

Some people with disabilities may continue to work from their home even if they wouldn’t be able to work in an office. You may be able to make more accommodations, including a more comfortable work setting, frequent breaks, and other modifications that allow you to continue to work.

If you can still fulfill your job responsibilities, then the Social Security Administration may find that you are not disabled for purposes of Social Security disability benefits. However, if you cannot do your job, you should be found eligible for benefits regardless of where you work.

Do I Need a Social Security Disability Attorney? 

You don’t have to suffer without an income just because you worked from home before becoming disabled. Many people applying for Social Security disability benefit from hiring an experienced Social Security lawyer. Whether you work for an employer from your own home or are self-employed and work at home, our lawyers will protect your right to disability benefits.

Our Social Security disability attorneys help people with initial claims and appeals in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. We invite you to call us or to complete our contact form to have us contact you to schedule a free consultation in our conveniently located Natick office or by phone.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer