During the holiday season, Social Security Disability recipients may consider taking on part-time seasonal work. However, sometimes taking a seasonal job can result in the loss of your disability benefits. Because of this, there are several things you should keep and mind and consider when considering seasonal work.
If you are considering seeking employment while receiving Social Security Disability benefits, it is important that you first consult with a Phoenix Social Security Disability attorney. The attorneys at Dayes Law Firm PC are well-versed in Social Security regulations, including those that pertain to part-time or seasonal work. We can discuss your specific situation during a free consultation.
Substantial Gainful Activity
A condition for being approved for Social Security Disability benefits and for retaining them is that you do not participate in substantial gainful activity (SGA). The primary test for determining SGA is the amount of income that you make. In 2017, the SGA limit is $1,170 for disabled individuals and $1,950 for blind claimants. In 2018 with the cost of living adjustment, the SGA limit for disabled individuals is $1,180 and $1,970 for blind individuals. If you earn more than this amount on average, then your benefits can be discontinued.
Not all wages will be counted toward this amount, though. The SSA deducts expenses from this amount that are necessary for you to work, such as adaptions to a vehicle to accommodate or training so that you can work while disabled.
Trial Work Period
The Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages disabled individuals to try to return to work when possible. It provides for a trial work period during which an SSD recipient can work while retaining his or her benefits for nine months during a five-year period. The nine months are not necessarily consecutive, and the five-year period is on a rolling basis. This exception to the SGA rule may allow you to test the waters before losing your benefits permanently. In 2017, earnings of $840 a month trigger a trial work period. The trigger point for 2018 is $850.
Unsuccessful Work Attempt
Another exception to the SGA rule is an unsuccessful work attempt. If you attempted to work a seasonal job but had to quit or were let go because of your disability, you might still be entitled to your benefits during the months when you worked.
Duty to Report
Social Security Disability recipients have an ongoing duty to report certain changes to SSA, including the following:
- When they start work
- When they stop work
- Changes to their duties, hours or rate of pay
- If they begin paying expenses for work due to their disability
If you do not report this information to SSA, you may face an overpayment or the loss of your benefits.
Contact an Experienced SSD Lawyer
Deciding to return to work after receiving Social Security Disability benefits is an important decision and one that you should not take lightly. While a seasonal job may seem to be the answer to provide some additional income and purpose, there may be significant ramifications of which you should be aware.
The experienced Social Security Disability attorneys at Dayes Law Firm PC can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of seeking seasonal employment. They can also explain any exceptions to the SGA limit that you may be able to use to avoid losing your benefits. We provide a free, no-obligation consultation so that you can discuss your claim confidentially with one of our seasoned Social Security disability attorneys.