Can I work while my Social Security Disability (SSD) application is pending?

I have no source of income during my application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, and now I’m waiting to hear back from them.  How will going back to work affect my case?

This is a common question from our Social Security disability (SSD) clients.  The short answer is that a return to work may affect your case, depending on the outcome of your attempt to return to work.  Social Security may or may not be able to award you benefits during the period in which you work.

A period of work that is 3 months or less generally will be counted as what is known as an “unsuccessful work attempt” (UWA) as long as you leave your job (or reduce gross earnings below $1,550 a month in 2024) for medical reasons, or special conditions that helped you work are no longer available.

A period of work longer than 3 months and no more than 6 months can be considered as a UWA if you left your job (or reduced your gross earnings below $1,550 a month in 2024) for medical reasons or the special conditions that helped you work are no longer available, and you experienced frequent absences or unsatisfactory work performance, you were in remission of your condition during this time period, or special conditions essential to your performance were removed.

A period of longer than 6 months is never considered a UWA.

It is important that you inform Social Security about any attempts to return to work, however small, during your application process.  UWAs are not counted against you, but any period in which Social Security determines you worked enough and/or made enough money to count as “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) will disqualify you from an award for that period of time in which you worked.

There are additional important factors to consider in the calculation of whether you meet the UWA standard.  Understanding these concepts can be confusing and difficult.  Contact Segar & Sciortino today and let us help you with your SSD case.