Ask Larry

What Happens To My Disability Claim If I Return To Part-Time Work?

I have filed for disability, I have been denied twice, appealed it and just recently appealed for a court hearing. Was told 18 to 24 months before getting a court date. If I think I can go back to work part time what will happen to all the time I have already invented which has been 15 months. My husband and I are financial drowning. What should i do? Wait it out? Or try going back to work for a little bit until my health gets me again


I can't advise you what to do, but if you work part-time it may or may not affect your claim for disability benefits depending on when you return to work in relation to when you became disabled, and how much you earn. Currently, earnings of less than $1170 per month is generally not considered to be substantial based on Social Security guidelines, so work below that level probably wouldn't cause you to be ineligible for disability benefits.

However, earnings averaging more than $1170 per month generally would be considered as substantial gainful activity (SGA), and could affect your claim for disability benefits. A person's disability must normally last for or be expected to last for at least a year to qualify for disability benefits, so a return to SGA within a year of when you became disabled could cause your claim to be disallowed. Or, if you return to SGA after you've already been disabled for at least a year, it could cause you to at best qualify for no more than a closed period of disability entitlement.

For more information on how work affects disability benefits, refer to this Social Security publication: And, if you do decide to return to work, be sure to inform Social Security.

Best, Jerry

Aug 23 2017 - 7:48am
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.