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Working and SSA Benefits

When you apply for Social Security benefits, whether it be Disability Income, Supplemental Security Income or Widower’s Benefits, any work you perform for wages after your file your case must be explained at the hearing. The reason for this is simple: when you apply for disability you are telling the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you are unable to work, so it follows that if you do work at all during the life of your case that you would need to explain that work to the administrative law judge (ALJ).

Earnings after you file your Social Security claim can sometimes be easily explained by your attorney at your hearing. If you earn too much, it may defeat your claim for disability. But, if you earn under a certain gross amount which is set by SSA, there are several arguments your attorney can make on your behalf at the hearing. However, unless you have the proper documentation, your attorney will not be able to assess how to use information regarding any work after you file your claim at the hearing.

Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to provide your attorney with all paycheck stubs with year-to-date information for all work you have performed since you filed your claim prior to your hearing. If you have worked or plan to work after you file your claim, make sure to inform your attorney immediately so that the two of you can address those issues as soon as possible and focus on more important matters at your hearing.

There is plenty of information on the web regarding work after your onset date of a Social Security claim; however, some of the rules are volatile and thus it is best to consult an attorney before relying on any information you find on the web regarding SGA amounts or rules regarding work after your onset date.


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