Can I work part time while waiting for my Missouri disability hearing? SSI Disability lawyer

Can I work part time while waiting for my Missouri disability hearing? SSI Disability lawyer

When you are applying for disability, you have the burden to prove to the Social Security decision maker (either the State Agency adjudicator or, at a hearing the federal administrative law judge) that you do not have the capacity to perform competitive work at a significant gainful activity level or “SGA”. You must show that you do not have the capacity to perform work that arises to SGA level, which for 2015 is $1090 a month in earnings. Its $1,130 in 2016

In theory part time work at less than SGA level should not disqualify you from winning a disability approval.

However in reality if you are working part time, the judge may very well assume that you could work more hours – and thus perform at SGA level – if more hours were available to you, if you could adjust your duties to something less demanding, or if you took a different, slightly less demanding job. For instance if you are working 20 hours a week in a part time job that requires lifting, the judge may well believe that you could do 40 hours of sit down work-even if you have never done sit down work.

It is hard to believe that Social Security would “punish” you for trying to work but the SSA adjudicators and judges are under a lot of pressure to limit approvals. Part time work muddies the water and in the reality of today’s SSA, with very few exceptions I think that on-going part time work (or school) hurts your case.

As a side note, unsuccessful work attempts (UWA) can help your case because those show that you tried to work but were not successful. Generally a work attempt that lasts less than 3 months is considered a UWA.

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