Can I Have a Successful Disability Claim if I am Working?
The short answer is yes, you can have a successful disability claim if you are working. However, you must be working well below substantial gainful activity (SGA) levels. Each year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sets a monthly earnings amount that it considers to be enough money for you to be supporting yourself.
Generally, SGA is full-time work, however, part-time work may be SGA if it results in monthly earnings that are over the SGA limit. For the year 2017, SGA is determined to be $1,170 per month.
However, SGA can be affected by considerations that are given by your employer that allow you to do your work. For example, your employer may accept less production from you than from your coworkers; your employer may allow you to take more breaks than other employees, or more sick time off than other employees; etc. Receiving such special considerations may mean your output at work is not worth the amount you are paid. If you allege that you are only working because your employer is giving you special considerations, Social Security should verify that with your employer and will provide a form for your employer to fill out to show the value of your actual work.
If the value of your actual work, as determined by your employer, is less than SGA, Social Security should determine that you are not engaging in SGA, even though your reported earnings are above SGA.
If you are earning above SGA and you have no special considerations from your employer, then your disability claim will be denied. There is no flexibility from the SSA other than a subsidy or special considerations that will allow you to be approved for disability if you are working and earning over the SGA limit.