There are so many pervasive myths about Social Security benefits. If you believe some of those myths, you may think that you don't have the option of applying for benefits when you might actually qualify for them. You could also make another mistake, like not disclosing pertinent information, that could leave you vulnerable in the future.
One of the issues claimants struggle to understand, in part because the issue is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, is whether someone can qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits if they still work. Many people with disabilities that prevent them from working full-time jobs or even part-time jobs outside of the home can work a few hours a week or do some paid work out of their home.
If you are considering some form of work while receiving or applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the rules about employment and income.
You have to report your work and income, no matter how small it is
Maybe you work from home and you make $20 a week proofreading a company's public Facebook posts. Perhaps you answer emails occasionally for a business. Regardless of what kind of work you do, if you are applying for or receiving SSD benefits, you absolutely must disclose the income and the job.
Indicating that you only work a few hours a week will not necessarily preclude you from connecting with the benefits you need. In fact, the decreased ability to work and lower income you receive could actually help support your claim that you are no longer able to work as long or earn as much as you once could. Even if you take a full-time job, you can often have a nine-month trial period where you still receive benefits.
If you make a certain amount of money, you may need to pay taxes
It is possible to work part-time while receiving SSD benefits and make enough money to pay taxes on your Social Security income. The amount that you can make will depend on your marital status, among other considerations.
An attorney can help you make intelligent employment and financial decisions
For some people, the income of a part-time job can help them cover the cost of therapies or non-traditional treatments that insurance will not cover. For others, the requirement to pay taxes on their SSD benefits can be a burden that makes working less beneficial than they might imagine.
Each disability case is as unique as the person dealing with the illness or injury that left them disabled. Talking with an attorney who has experience in Social Security Disability cases can help you make smarter decisions about your benefits.