Previously on this blog we discussed the definition of “substantial gainful activity” and how it pertains to Social Security disability benefits. Whether or not an individual can engage in substantial gainful activity is crucial element in every SSD benefits claim, but understanding how it is assessed can take a little bit of work to understand.
Typically speaking, to determine whether an individual has engaged in substantial gainful activity, the SSA will look to see how much that individual has made while working. There are a few exceptions, but generally an individual who has earned more than $700 a month from employment will be considered to have engaged in substantial gainful activity. However, there are exceptions to this general rule.
One major exception is the unsuccessful work attempt. Under the Social Security Administration’s regulations, an individual who attempted to return to the workforce but was forced to leave within six months of starting that employment will not have his or her income during that time period counted towards a substantial gainful activity determination. The stoppage of employment here, however, must be caused by the worker’s impairment. If the impairment caused the individual to reduce work so that his or her earning after the decrease fall below substantial gainful activity will likewise not have their initial, above substantial gainful activity, income counted towards their determination.
There are many other aspects of the unsuccessful work attempt that must be met before it can be utilized by a SSD claimant. For example, the individual’s new work attempt must come after a significant break from their previous employment before its failure can be deemed an unsuccessful work attempt.
To learn more about work attempts and how they may impact a Social Security disability claim, disabled individuals may want to speak with a legal professional experienced in this area of the law.
Source: Social Security Administration, “404.1574. Evaluation guides if you are an employee,” accessed on Oct. 17, 2016