By: Disability Group Presumption Associa…

By: Disability Group

Presumption Associated With Applying for Social Security Disability

By applying for Social Security Disability, a claimant is stating to the Social Security Administration that they are unable to perform full time work due to physical or mental impairments.  Stated another way – even if an employer offered you a job, you would not be able to physically and/or mentally perform the required duties.

How Working Impacts the Presumption of Disability

The Social Security Disability process can be lengthy which may result in financial strain on an applicant.  Thus, many people are forced to attempt to return to some form of work.  This decision may have a technical or practical impact on an application for disability.

Technical Impact

  • The Social Security Administration allows an applicant to engage in work activity for a limited time before finding the claimant technically ineligible.  This process is called an ‘unsuccessful work attempt.’
  • The Social Security Administration has stated, “We generally consider work that you are forced to stop or to reduce below the substantial gainful activity level after a short time because of your impairment to be an unsuccessful work attempt. Your earnings from an unsuccessful work attempt will not show that you are able to do substantial gainful activity.”
  • If an applicant engages in work above substantial gainful activity for 6 months, they will be technically ineligible for
    Social Security benefits.

 Practical Impact

  • As stated above, there exists a presumption that a claimant for Social Security disability is unable to work on account of physical or mental impairments.  Thus, when an applicant decides to work, he or she is sending a conflicting message to the Social Security Administration.
  • Although a claimant may not be rendered technically ineligible for engaging in work activity, an Administrative Law Judge may use said work to decrease the credibility of an applicant.
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