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Can I Get Disability if I Work?

Suppose you are disabled, but you’re still managing to hold down a job – though it’s been very difficult. You’re in pain every day and you’re afraid that if you keep working, your body will “give out” on you. You want to quit, but you’re afraid if you do, you’ll end up penniless or destitute, or both.

You are seriously considering applying for disability, but you’re hesitant to quit your job while your application is pending with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your medical condition has forced you to cut back on your hours, or change your duties. So, now you’re wondering, “Can I still get disability benefits if I work?” After all, it’s not like work comes easily to you; it’s a painful process that’s hard for you to bear day-in-and-day-out.

Will My Job Get in the Way?

In order for adults applying for disability benefits to be approved by the SSA, they must meet the SSA’s definition of a disability, which the SSA defines as, “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairments(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

Theoretically, if you are physically unable to sustain 40 hours of work, each week because of a disability, you’re supposed to be entitled to disability benefits, but if you’re performing your regular work, even if it’s merely part-time, the SSA will deny your claim.

While examining a claim, the SSA is going to look at:

  • The applicant’s ability to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, push, pull, and perform other physical functions.
  • The applicant’s ability to perform the mental demands of work-related activities and functions such as following instructions, responding to co-workers and supervision, pace, and remembering.
  • The applicant’s ability to perform “lighter work” or “modified duties.”
  • The applicant’s ability to perform “past relevant work” or PRW. This refers to jobs the applicant has done in the last 15 years or so.

As a general rule, if you’re currently working full or part-time doing “past relevant work,” the SSA will be inclined to deny your claim. In other words, if the SSA determines that you can perform PRW part-time or if you can perform lighter duties, your claim will be denied. If the SSA determines that there’s no way you can perform PRW, it will look to see if there are any other jobs that you can do – easier jobs that are not physically demanding.

Regardless of your situation, you should discuss the possibilities with a Dallas SSD attorney from The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC. We can help you understand how your current work situation can impact the disability determination process.

To file a disability claim in Plano or Dallas, contact us today!