That Depends on the Definition of “Work”

Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are meant to provide financial assistance to people who can prove that their disabilities, illnesses or conditions prevent them from working and earning an income. Legally, recipients may not receive disability benefits if they are engaged in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). For SGA to prevent approval for benefits, a person could be:

  • An employee of another person or organization, making more than $1,010 per month.
  • Self-employed, though the SSA would inquire as to the “value” of the work the person is performing, not just the monthly pay. This is because the amount of effort put into certain kinds of self-employment, such as farming, might not directly relate to a dollar amount.
  • A participant in a sheltered work environment (sheltered workshop). These are programs where people are taught vocational skills and perform related tasks. In these cases, the monthly payment might actually be more or less than the monetary value of the work performed. In these cases, the SSA will determine the value of the person’s work and whether or not it constitutes as SGA.

As you can see, even the question of employment can be complicated in the SSA’s eyes. It is essential for all applicants for disability benefits to navigate the application and evaluation process effectively, and an attorney with experience in working with the SSA can help you organize your materials and evidence and for submission.

If you have questions about your application for disability benefits, do not take chances. Contact a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney today for help. We offer free consultations, and you can reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

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