Can I Work While Applying For Disability Benefits In Tulsa?

Oklahoma SSDI Attorney Explains Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) And Substantial Gainful Activity

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a very specific definition of disability, and because of this, some types of work may make you ineligible to receive SSDI benefits. In this video, listen to Oklahoma Social Security Disability attorney Steve Troutman explain the definition of substantial gainful activity and how even work for low or no income could mean you will not qualify for disability benefits.

If you are unable to work and are seeking disability benefits through the SSA, contact our Tulsa SSDI attorneys at (918) 265-1404 or fill out our online case review form.

Video Transcription

I commonly have people come to me who are in great pain or having great difficulty working. They’re still working, they’re telling me, “I’m going to work as long as I can.” They want to apply for disability and once they’re approved, then they’ll quit working. And I tell them, “It just doesn’t work that way.”

That’s because Social Security would deny their claim at step one of the sequential evaluation. The idea behind that, I think, is that disability is for people who are unable to work. I think the way Social Security views it is if you are working, then you are obviously able to work, so they just don’t get to the medical issues if you’re working and you’re earning this substantial gainful activity. They say you can’t be disabled no matter what.

It’s much more difficult to ascertain whether a person is engaging in substantial gainful activity if they are self-employed, and that’s because there are a lot of self-employed people who, just by the nature of the business they are in, don’t make much money. One example even given in the regulations is that a farmer could work very hard all year, lose the crops and make no money. Social Security would still consider that farmer’s work to be substantial gainful activity even though there was no income.

So, for self-employed people, Social Security doesn’t look at the amount of money they make, but really the effort that goes into it. To have a free evaluation of your disability claim, call us at (918) 265-1404 or visit us at