Whenever someone considers filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, they will have to provide a substantial amount of information and evidence of disability. Many questions will be asked, and you’ll have to meet the definition of ‘disabled’ by Social Security standards, which means that you are entirely disabled and unable to work. That includes being unable to complete the work that you previously were able to do, being unable to complete other work related tasks, and being unable to work because of a disability that will last at least one year.
Questions You Must Answer When Filing for Disability
There are a few questions that you’re going to have to answer when filing for disability in Greenwood, South Carolina. The first one will address whether or not you are working and how much you’re making. As long as you make less than the minimum limit to qualify, then you may be able to get disability even if you do work.
The next question will concern the severity of your disability. You will answer this question based on how much the condition disrupts your life and interferes with your ability to work. Then, you’ll have to address the question of whether or not your condition is on the list of disabling conditions from the Social Security Administration.
Some conditions are known to be severe enough to interfere with your ability to work, so that you will automatically be considered to be disabled. However, if your condition is not on this list, that does not automatically disqualify you; you simply have to present more evidence of disability and will not be automatically approved.
From there, you’ll be focusing on the question of whether or not you can still do the same work that you used to do. If you can, then your claim will be denied. If you can’t, then you may still be able to show you are disabled. Finally, you’ll have to answer the question of whether or not you can do any other kind of work that will not be impaired by your condition. This is not just about what you can physically do, but about your prior work history and skills, and whether or not you are physically capable of adjusting to a different form of employment.
Can You Receive Disability Benefits and Also Work?
Many people believe that they cannot receive disability benefits unless they quit their job and refuse to seek other employment. However, this could actually harm your disability claim if you cannot provide evidence that it is your disability that caused you to quit because you could no longer engage in the given work related tasks. If your only purpose for quitting a job is to reduce your income in hopes of qualifying for disability benefits, then this can disqualify you. Having said that, if you are unable to work at your former occupation, but you can get other work, and that work provides less income than the minimum amount for disability, you may still qualify.
What Are the Income Limits to Qualify for Disability?
Many people who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits or who have already been approved for these benefits, wonder whether or not they can still work and how much income they can make before those benefits will be terminated. It is important to know that it is better to work and make your own income, if you can, even if it means that you ultimately no longer qualify for disability benefits. Yet, it is equally important to know that you are allowed to work and still qualify for disability benefits, as long as your income doesn’t pass the limit.
It is substantial gainful activity, or SGA, which will determine your limitations for work and income when your benefits are based on what you have paid in employment taxes to Social Security. The SGA accounts for any income from work that indicates that you are not disabled. The limits for SGA monthly income in 2017 are $1,170 for those who are not blind, and $1,950 for those who suffer from blindness.
However, for those who receive Supplemental Security Income, the limits are different and are based on the federal benefit rate. This rate addresses your income limit and the maximum amount of supplemental income your can receive. The federal benefit rate limits for 2017 are $735 for a single person household and $1,103 for a married couple household. Yet, not all of your income is going to count towards the federal benefit rate limit.
Your Actual Income Is Not the Only Consideration
One common mistake among persons who do not qualify for disability is thinking that their income is the only factor. In reality, the Social Security Administration is going to look into the type of work that you do and whether or not you are physically capable of doing more. One example of how this might apply is the case of someone who makes very little at work, but who volunteers their time in a role that requires physical labor, showing that they are capable. Further, you might make more than the income limit in a position where substantial accommodations are made for your disability, and you might still qualify. Then, there is consideration given to how many hours you work. If you work more than 45 hours per month, then you may not qualify for disability in Greenwood, South Carolina.
What to Do if You Have to Appeal a Social Security Disability Decision
Many people who qualify for disability are denied. In fact, the majority of people who do get disability benefits were initially denied and had to go through the appeals process to get the benefits that they needed and deserved. The best thing that you can do for yourself if you need to appeal a Social Security disability decision in Greenwood, SC, is to contact an attorney who understands and has experience with the process. At Ayers, Smithdeal & Bettis, P.C., our dedicated Greenwood social security liability lawyers are happy to provide a free consultation to help you evaluate your options.