The effect an unsuccessful work attempt has on disability status

People in Kissimmee who are receiving Social Security disability benefits for injury must understand that the benefits are not meant to be for an open-ended duration. With qualifying SSD benefits for injury, the claimant will be expected to try to get back to work. If, however, they do try and maintain an inability to work, they can continue receiving benefits. This will be known as an unsuccessful work attempt (UWA).

A UWA occurs when the claimant tries to do substantial work, either working for him or herself or for an employer, but is unable to continue. Likewise, if the person had to reduce the amount of work back to the non-substantial gainful activity level after a maximum of six months, that is also a UWA. This will be due to the person’s impairment, or to special conditions linked to the impairment having been removed from the workplace.

For a work attempt to qualify as a UWA, there must be significant break into the continuous nature of the person’s work. Work will be viewed as discontinued in the event that the person has been out of work for more than 30 straight days. It is also viewed as discontinued if the person was forced to switch to a different type of work or another job entirely due to the impairment.

After the UWA and the first significant break, the next period of work will be viewed as continuous until another change occurs. The duration and conditions of work that are considered can be for three months or less, between three and six months, and more than six months.

Those who are concerned about the benefits’ requirements being influenced negatively by an attempt to get back to work need to understand the SSA’s rules for an unsuccessful work attempt. For assistance in understanding how trying to get back to work and failing affects disability status, it is wise to discuss the matter with an experienced lawyer.

Source:, “DI 24005.001 Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA) — D. Policy – UWA Criteria,” accessed on Jan. 10, 2016


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