Working While Applying for SSDI in Boston? Substantial Gainful Activity Might Cause You to Be Denied

One of the first things the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider when looking at your application is whether you are still working or not. Working does not absolutely bar you from receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, but it does play a factor in the approval process.

The SSA works to determine if your disability prevents you from earning a living. If you can still earn enough in your current job, you could be denied SSDI in Boston based on substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Understanding Substantial Gainful Activity

The way the SSA determines whether you qualify or don’t qualify to receive SSDI is based on a number of factors. Your current monthly income level is one of them. The SSA states that you must not earn over $1,070—or $1,800 if you are blind. If you do, SSA rules say that you are engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and therefore you are not disabled to the point that you need SSDI.

Earning below the threshold does not guarantee you will be approved. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, you could earn less than $1,070 each month but still not qualify for benefits. If you work in a position that cannot pay you a higher salary, such as an on-call position, but you could work more if necessary, the SSA will take that into consideration.

There are also exceptions to the earnings rule for those who earn more than $1,070 per month. If you earn a higher salary and meet any of the following criteria, you might still qualify for SSDI:

  • You were able to continue working because your employer provided you special assistance to do your job.
  • You were given extra provisions to do your job, such as extended break times and working odd hours.
  • You were provided special equipment to make it easier to do your job.
  • You were employed because of special arrangements made by others, such as a family arrangement or past work relationship.
  • You are not required to meet the same level of output and productivity as your colleagues.

If you are working while applying for SSDI in Boston, SGA will play a big role in determining whether you are approved or denied.

Are you working with someone who is disabled and trying to get SSDI in Massachusetts? We encourage you to share this article with him so he understand how the SSA makes its decision and the factors that, if met, could help him get approved.

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