While many people may not realize it, an applicant’s work history is a huge factor in any Social Security Disability determination. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) only awards disability benefits to persons who have severe and ongoing disabilities that prevent them from working.

By looking at both an applicant’s medical evidence and his or her work history, the SSA determines if an applicant is able to earn a living wage. The SSA considers whether SSD applicants are unable to perform their current job, a previous job, or any other work for which they may be suited. As a result, an applicant’s work history is critical in determining his or her ability to maintain employment. Here’s what you need to know about work history and applying for SSD benefits.

The importance of providing accurate work history information

Providing a detailed and accurate work history can greatly improve an applicant’s chances of approval. Applicants should give accurate information in their applications that adequately details their past job duties. Giving thorough information about past work activities you have performed as well as contact information for past supervisors can give your application a boost.

Being forthcoming with accurate information about your previous positions and the work you performed gives the disability examiner evaluating your case the best information with which to make a decision. If the disability examiner does not have a detailed and accurate work history to work with, he or she will be unable to determine if under the present circumstances you can perform your current job, past job, or any other similar job.

Working while receiving SSD benefits

While some people may be hesitant to work while receiving disability benefits, it is important to note that the SSA does allow recipients to perform some work while participating in the program. [http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf] What this means is that disability recipients do not have to be completely unable to work. Rather, disability recipients are allowed to work, but cannot earn more than a certain amount of money.

The SSA refers to this requirement as substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SSA interprets this as meaning that an applicant cannot earn more than $1,090 a month in order to be eligible for disability benefits. Ultimately, what matters to the SSA is whether an applicant is able to earn above this level.

Special exceptions to the SGA limit

While the SGA limit is (for the most part) a hard and fast rule, there are a few specific exceptions. For example, each disability recipient is given a nine-month trial period to test his or her ability to work while still receiving disability benefits. During this period, a disability recipient can continue receiving disability benefits regardless of whether he or she earns more than the SGA limit.

Once a recipient earning more than the SGA limit completes the trial period, he or she can still claim benefits for any month in which his or her earnings fall below the SGA limit. This extended period of eligibility lasts for 36 months.

Are you thinking about applying for SSD benefits for the first time? Consider Attorney Neil H. Good for your representation. Contact us online for a free case evaluation or call #(847) 577-4476.