Will It Be A Problem That I Worked For A Short Time After Filing For Social Security?

Apr 13 2017 - 9:15am

I have more than one question as this stuff is utterly confusing, especially if part of your disability involves issues with thinking but I'll try to make sense here. My first question is, although I was unemployed for over a year and a half before I attempted to try working again 2/17 to March 10th 2017 while waiting to hear back about my initial decision on my disability application 6/2016, will this screw me? 5 days after getting terminated from my job for asking for too many accommodations (but of course they blames the termination on some other factitious reason), I got a lettering the mail saying my disability had been approved and to bring in my children's birth certificates and SS #'s for dependent benefits. Ive been getting told that this is whats called an unsuccessful work attempt since it was only 7 weeks, including training. But, apparently my onset date is sometime back in Feb 2016 which means it wasn't a full year that I did not work since my onset date...or was it? I cannot figure it out.For the sake of not getting in trouble and the process of when and when to not disclose information- Is it true that when they ask me about if I worked, just tell them specific details of what happened- like why I started working and what led to me discontinuing? I tried working because my mother in law who obviously does not understand my disabilities convinced my husband that "it would make me feel better to work". Although it did give me a sense of dignity back, it only tore my health down even more and I am still trying to recover mentally from the grief and confusion with now the added bonus of extra headaches due to certain med increases while I tried to work but failed. Ugh, too much to explain. Anyway, I was told by one lawyers office that since I only made a little over $4k that I wouldn't even have to put that on my taxes and its fine. I think thats incorrect because of how much my husband makes. One lady from another office told me to just tell them but its still fine. Then another said I am fine, but wait until they ask. I just really want to do the right thing here and not get screwed a year or two from now and they are coming after me for all the money back. This has been a constant daily obsessive thought since I found out (part of my mental illness-paranoia amongst other things) and I've been struggling staying awake due to my narcolepsy to figure out how to focus and organize my thoughts and take action to figure it all out. Another thing too is one of the people I spoke with also said it could count towards a trial work period? I just need peace of mind that everything is going to be okay. If you read this long question, thank you so much for your time reading this and please if you need further details to be able to answer correctly feel free to email me. Thank you.


You should report this work attempt to Social Security because you are required to do so under Social Security law. When you apply for disability benefits, you agree to report any work that you do to Social Security. And, they will eventually find out about it when your employer sends them a copy of your 2017 W-2 form anyway.

It does sound like your short period of work should qualify as an unsuccessful work attempt (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0411010145), which would not change your initial determination. The only problem is that since the disability determinations agency that approved your claim apparently wasn't made aware of this work, your case my need to be returned to them for review. Hopefully, that won't lead to any change in their original determination.

The work that you did in 2017 will count as part of your 9-month trial work period, but that won't affect you at this point. If you return to work in the future, however, you may only have 7 or 8 months left in the trial work period that you are permitted before your disability benefits could be subject to suspension (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf).

Best, Jerry