Can I work if I’m getting social security disability benefits?

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Sharon, if someone is getting social security
benefits, can they work at all or what if they have investment property or making money
in the stock market? There’s a big difference between working and making money passably
in investment property or the stock market. That’s not going to count against you, but
if you are actively physically working, what most people would think of is W-2 income.
You can work a little bit, but there’s very strict rules on that, and so here’s how it
works. Social security will look at a rolling five year period, and if they see during that
five year period a total of nine months where you’ve earned $750 per month or more gross,
so that’s not much, they will consider that you’ve exhausted what they call your trial
work period and at that point you should be able to go back to work. Now we’re not talking
about nine consecutive months, we’re talking about nine months total over a 5 year period.
So can you work? Yes. Can you work a lot? No, you can’t. You can’t earn very much. Now
realistically, if you reach the point of going back to full time work, then you need to do
that, because there’s a point where social security will get your medical records and
they will see that you can go back to work, but for most people that not going to be the
case. Someone is getting social security benefits and they and their doctor think its appropriate
to try to get back into the workforce, how does that work? So that they don’t criminally
impair their benefit stream. You can try, you can try, and their is a program called
ticket to work that the social security administration runs and through that program you can try
for a limited period of time without losing your benefits and see how you do, it’s pretty
limited though, it’s less then nine months. See how you do, and if you’re ok, if you can
tolerate it, and continue to work and you would do that and stop your disability. And
actually thats a great situation to be productive cause you’re going to make more money presumably.
Absolutely, absolutely. I think that’s a big misconception about social security disability.
It’s been received a lot of negative publicity as the middle class alternative to welfare,
which is really really insulting. People don’t realize, you don’t get rich off of social
security disability. Like I said, at most, you might get $2000 a month, and that’s from
people who are highly productive, high earners. Most people that I deal with would like to
talk to anybody in the world but me. They would much rather be at work talking to their
boss, then talking to a disability lawyer, so I think all the negative publicity has
done a real disservice to people who are truly injured and unable to work. It’s probably
made the process even longer, judges are more careful, examiners are more conservative probably
– there’s no question of that. Absolutely, in the last 18 months I have seen that across
the board in all jurisdictions where I handle cases, that the hill you’re climbing is even
higher. It’s even tougher. They’re looking for even more evidence then before because,
in part because I believe, of all the negative publicity. In my practice representing people
who have claims under their long term disability insurance policies, their contracts, I see
a lot of folks with fibromyalgia, with chronic fatigue, with symptoms and restrictions from
Lyme’s disease and things like that. We find these case to be rarely difficult. Is it the
same in the social security world? Yes it is, probably for the same reasons you’re dealing
with. Some of these conditions are little, what I’ll call fuzzy. There’s some degree
of controversy in the medical community about how legitimate they are or how severe they
are and we find in trying to find sufficient medical evidence to back up our claim, that
can be very difficult. So, I’ve won cases that’ve involved those conditions, generally,
it’s not just those conditions however that we’re dealing with. Generally there’s a variety
of things going on with the client, that’s one part of it. And then the side effects
of the medications they may be taking for those conditions that can be an awful awful
experience for the person who’s suffering. Yes. The sick person no question, yes yes,
but we find they are difficult. They’re a lot more difficult because they symptoms are
subjective as opposed to our clients who have herniated disks, – A Ct scan of cancer, and
their back surgery has failed, and you can see on the MRI, you can see what the problem
is. It’s very objective. When you’re dealing with any kind of case that is subjective like
fatigue or chronic pain, not related say to back, where you can see an Xray or an MRI
where you’re just dealing with the subjective symptoms, that does make it that much harder
to be successful in the case. Well Sharon, thanks for being on the program,
once again, my guest today is Sharon Christie, a social security disability attorney. Sharon
is the author of the unofficial guide to social security disability claims, Sharon tell us
once again how people can find out more about you and more importantly get a copy of your
free book. Sure, just go to my website, or to get a copy of the book, you can order
it on the website or you can call my office: 410 823 8200. Alright, thanks for being with
us. Thanks Ben!


  1. I keep hearing about partial disability with social security when its supposed to be temporary. Ummm what about the sum of us who were actually BORN disabled and there is obviously no cure and hope of it being cured and gone so we can actually work like "normal" people? I did try working three jobs in the last fifteen years but honestly they never lasted. People dont always have the time and patience to actually work with a person whose disabled and try to make a job easier for them. Even though its the law to not discriminate it should be against the law to refuse working with a disabled persons limitations and working around it so they can actually do something thats of use to the company and not a strain to the disabled person.

  2. I Hope you can help. I have been on SSD, 8 years, I am 58. I was a designer for GM. I am considering going back to work, but this is very scary. I suffer from chronic depression, chronic anxiety, and rheumatoid arthritis. I am afraid that either it wont work out or they let me go after 6 months to a year (which is common). what are the chances of them canceling my SSD, or re evaluation . Job is 56 our week $29 per hour so income is super. I am afraid they will say hay he did it for 6 months or 9 months etc, then cancel me or?, what is your experience or opinion on this?. I am in Michigan

  3. so in other words, you can either only have a place to stay (pay rent-water-gas) and almost nothing else or work through the pain or whatever your disability entails. if it ONLY pays for your BASIC BASIC needs why does it take so dang long to get an answer back and if you're found working at all you risk being screwed? Some people work (while they're on or waiting for disability) because they have NO choice. People that collect money for bills/rent don't care if you're on disability or not, they want their money. I get why they make it so hard (people milk the system for all its worth, but its annoying.

  4. if the job out there is willing to accept us on social security to the job world out there and your right we can't lived our life w/ social security

  5. Harder with Back issues ? What a crock…..I know someone who is horribly obese and had back surgery 20 yrs ago, and when the economy tanked 3 yrs ago, this person was given social security ASAP….This person doesn't have to be reviewed ( will be 62 this year) ……either like I have had to do every three years.
    Sure, this person may have had back surgery some 20 yrs ago…..but it doesn't stop her from driving from Ohio to Texas to stay in TX during the cold winter months……..

  6. I heard you make $85.00 a month without losing any your benefits. Some can work for 2 hours a day and lightweight simple job.

  7. not true at all. im disabled and work 1 day per week at $250 per shift which is $1000.00 and im on SSDI. I STILL RECEIVE PAYMENTS EVERY MONTH

  8. What if you have a part time job working maybe 2 days a week making WAY BELOW the 840 trial work amount.? All these yt videos on disability scare the hell out of you.

  9. It sure isn’t I made $78,000 a year plus $20,000 bonus I receive $1,382 a month and no food stamps and I was told by ssi employees my benefits are really large in comparison to others

  10. I was watching a few of these videos on going back to work on Social Security.. and I would really like to share my experience.. I went to work 2 days a week at a mall…. I did not get to work very long you just leave the say the job did not work out my boss was great the employees were nice. (Except one). Anyhow I had got let go I even had a paper signed by the boss which I gave to the Social Security employee at the time. She somehow did not mark it down that I no longer work there. So I received a letter in the mail that my benefits might be cutting I almost did not get a check for that month. The letter said that I had made $500 but I certainly would like to know where that job is for 500 bucks for one day.. ( nothing illegal thank you) so needlessly to say was very scary and I received so much harassing mail it was ridiculous I almost got a piece of paper everyday in the mail for them saying they were cutting me you're doing this you're doing that it was too much.. I think our system is broken this money is not kept up with the times at all.. my question is why do people nickel-and-dime poor people??? Shouldn't there be a ceiling way at the top to.??? We need to spread the wealth around a little bit more give everybody some money or a piece of the pie.. or at least let them help earn it so they can pay their way pay their own bills everyone lives different and has different bills to pay..thank u.. God. Bless

  11. What if a person works during their trial work period but can't make the sga for 2018. They make 1000 dollars a month for 9 months however they still always make under the 1180 sga amount.  What happens to this person then?

  12. Is Spousal Support or Child Support figured in SGA while receiving SSDI? SSA's quoted "To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment-related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. Engage? I understand Unearned income, but support is temporary, like most TWP jobs.

  13. I'm a Massage Therapist, and I just got SSDI due to being Legally Blind.
    Would I get my disability benefit taken away if I work two hours a week ($200 a week)?
    Massage Therapy is one of the only jobs the blind can do.
    Are there different rules that apply to the blind?

  14. Don’t work. That’s the only way you are safe if on SSDI, SSI, or any other assistance from the Gov. It can take literally years to get on these programs, there is no reason to give the Gov any reason to take it away, even make u pay them back. And, if it was so glamorous to be on SSDI/SSI, more people would be trying to get on it. Those who judge those on any assistance have never had the unfortunate chance of having to!

  15. They are taking longer especially for the hearing finally got my hearing in May got my decision fully favorable but nothing from social security

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