Social Security Disability benefits provide a critical lifeline for people unable to work due to a disabling condition. But what if you’re still working in Charlotte, North Carolina, and wondering whether you can apply for Social Security Disability while holding down a job? This blog post will answer your questions while also shedding light on the role of disability lawyers in Charlotte, NC, in navigating the application process.
Can You Apply for Social Security Disability While Still Working?
Yes, you can apply for Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) benefits while you’re still working, but there are key considerations to keep in mind. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to individuals who meet specific criteria, including being unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to a serious mental or physical medical impairment. This medical impairment must limit your ability to work on a full-time basis for 12 consecutive months or longer.
This might make you wonder: Can I apply for SSDI while I’m working part-time or earning a lower income? The short answer is: yes, but proceed with caution. We’ll explain further below.
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
To qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, you must demonstrate that your income and work activity are below a monthly amount called the SGA threshold. This SGA threshold is set by the SSA. In 2023, the SGA limit is $1,350 per month for non-blind individuals. If you’re earning more than this amount, your application will not meet the criteria for the program and your claim will be denied. The SSA assumes that individuals earning in excess of SGA don’t have impairments severe enough to meet the program’s definition of disability.
If your earnings are below SGA, your application meets one of the technical requirements for the SSDI program and may be successful if there is a strong medical basis for your claim. However, claimants able to maintain consistent work just below SGA must plan to address their working conditions thoroughly at every stage of the disability process to overcome SSA’s concern that the individual is able to sustain work above SGA.
Part-Time Work and SSDI Benefits
Many individuals with disabilities continue working part-time to supplement their income while applying for SSDI. This is for good reason as the disability process can take years, which is why some claimants who can work choose to return to work or maintain a part-time job while waiting.
When considering a claim for benefits, the SSA will not only consider earnings below SGA but also examine the nature of a person’s work to determine if that person can realistically earn above SGA or adapt to new work. If your impairments are moderate and you can work on a part-time basis below SGA but are artificially maintaining earnings below SGA by turning down work you could otherwise perform, your claim will be denied.
Consult a Disability Lawyer in Charlotte, NC
Navigating the Social Security Disability application process, especially while you’re still working, can be complex. To improve your chances of a successful application, consider consulting a disability lawyer at Collins Price in Charlotte, NC. Our attorneys have decades of experience with SSDI cases and can provide you valuable guidance and representation.
Our disability lawyers can help you determine whether your current work situation aligns with the SSA’s criteria for disability benefits. They can also provide you with realistic, straightforward guidance as to the best next steps and obstacles you’ll need to overcome for your claim to be successful. Because each individual’s situation is unique, it’s important to receive personalized feedback from a dedicated disability attorney to better understand the chances of success with your claim instead of relying on general advice found online.
How Disability Lawyers in Charlotte, NC, Can Help
1. Assessing Eligibility
Disability lawyers are well-versed in the SSA’s eligibility criteria and can evaluate your case to determine whether you meet the requirements for SSDI benefits. They can also help you understand the obstacles your claim will need to overcome on its path to approval.
2. Collecting Evidence
One of the most crucial aspects of a successful SSDI claim is providing comprehensive medical evidence of your disability. A disability lawyer can assist in gathering all necessary medical records, reports, and testimonies to strengthen your case.
3. Handling Paperwork
The SSDI application process involves a significant amount of paperwork and documentation. A disability lawyer can ensure that all forms are completed accurately and submitted on time, reducing the risk of delays or denials.
4. Appealing Denied Claims
If your initial SSDI application is denied, a disability lawyer can guide you through the appeals process. They can help prepare a strong case for reconsideration or representation at a hearing before an administrative law judge.
5. Maximizing Benefits
A disability lawyer can help you understand the potential benefits available to you and ensure that you receive the maximum amount of SSDI benefits you are entitled to based on your circumstances.
If you’re in Charlotte, NC, and wondering if you can apply for Social Security Disability while still working, the answer is yes, as long as your income remains below SGA. However, navigating the SSDI application process can be challenging, and claimants working with disability lawyers have higher approval rates than those who navigate the process alone.
Remember that applying for SSDI benefits is a complex process, and having an experienced attorney on your side greatly improves your chances of success. Disability lawyers are experienced in assessing eligibility, collecting evidence, handling paperwork, and appealing denied claims, all of which are essential for a successful disability application.
So, if you’re considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits while still working in Charlotte, NC, don’t hesitate to reach out to our local disability lawyers for assistance. They can help you understand your eligibility, ensure your application is in order, and work towards securing the benefits you deserve. There is no fee for our consultation or for our services unless your claim is approved.
For more detailed information on Social Security Disability eligibility criteria and application procedures, please visit the official Social Security Administration website. You can find additional guidance and resources there.