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Must I stop working before I can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD)?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  568 Comments

Learn when you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits while you are still working and see how work earnings relate to your eligibility.

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Watch the Video: “Must I stop working before I can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD)?”

Work and Applying for Disability

You usually do not have to stop working completely to apply for Social Security Disability, but if you are applying for disability while working and you keep working your usual hours, it is likely you will be denied Social Security disability because your work earnings will be too high for you to be considered disabled. There are exceptions and special rules, but in 2016 most employees earning $1,130.00 or more monthly and most blind workers earning $1,820.00 or more were not considered disabled. If you are self-employed, Social Security also looks at some additional factors. For more information about how work affects your claim when you apply for Social Security disability, please see our articles “What is Disability According to Social Security Laws?” and “Do I Have to Be Completely Incapacitated to Get Social Security Disability?”

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568 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    I’m 42, I’ve worked since I was 16. For the past eight years, I’ve been employed as a correctional officer. About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Most of my major seizures occur while I am sleeping. But, the after effects last all day; sometimes more than 1 day. Confusion, memory loss, balance issues, some paranoia, mild to moderate panic attacks, sensitivity to loud noises/ bright light. This has interfered with my job. Initially, I didn’t go to work on those days I had seizures. But, after missing 6 month after brain surgery and having to learn to regain balance; I try not to call in unless I absolutely have to. I work overnight because it’s generally quit and I get away with spending most of my time in an office away from everybody. Getting out only to do what I need to.
    My neurologist said she thinks I should be on disability. And, she would file paperwork on her end as soon as I was wanting to apply. I am working. But, really shouldn’t be. It’s getting harder and harder to maintain. I just can’t comprehend being without income for 6 months. That’s one part that’s stopping me.
    Also, if I leave my job and jump thru all of the hoops and not get approved. Then, I’d have to get a new job, start over.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kevin,

      If you think that you cannot work in any occupation that you are qualified for, I suggest that you talk with an experienced Social Security attorney or two to get an opinion on whether they think you might qualify. Also check with your employer to see whether your state ahs disability insurance or whether you are covered under an employer-sponsored a short-term disability (STD) insurance policy that would provide income while you wait for the Social Security Disability (SSD) claim to be processed. Usually short-term plans require only that you be disabled from your current job.

      Also consider talking with your doctor regarding whether you should not be working in any occupation or just in one with physical risks. If the doctor thinks you can work in other occupations and you stop work, check with your state’s Department of Vocation Rehabilitation to see whether you are a candidate for retraining.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kevin says:

        Yes, My health insurance has a short term and a long term disability plan.
        A couple years ago I took a week off to get brain surgery and afterward had balance issues. I wound up being off for 6 months. After all my leave time was used, I started getting short term disability through my health insurance.
        My issue is where to start or even IF I should. On good days I feel great. But even on good days, by the end of my shift I’m mentally exhausted. I’m nauseous. Sometimes a little confused. A tendacy to mild panic attacks. Even a little paranoia.

        But, on days I believe I’ve had a seizure while sleeping, it can be really bad. It usually starts out like the end of a good day. And it only gets worse.
        The one that kinda set off this “mission”, was when I was driving to work. I know, I shouldn’t be driving. But, I gotta get there somehow.
        Anyway, I was driving to work and just as I was turning off one highway and onto another, I realized I forgot something at home. So, I turned to go back to the house and wound up turning into oncoming traffik without realizing it. That is until cars started to come towards me.
        After that, I’ve been really mindful of my day to day symptoms. And, how bad they can really be. Instead of just ignoring them.
        I’ve been looking at ssdi, my early retirement, ssi, etc. And, it’s just getting overwhelming. On top of that, I don’t want to leave my job and not get approved.
        My father in law has been talking to a disability attorney. I think I’ll talk to my doctor then talk to him. I might just need my medicine changed.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Kevin,

          Your plan to talk with your doctor to see if anything can improve your symptoms is a good idea and then if appropriate to talk with an attorney. You do have the back up of short-term and long-term disability insurance while you would be waiting for the Social Security Disability decision. So if you can’t continue in your current occupation. Your reference “early retirement,” indicating that you might be at least in your fifties, which would be in your favor for approval.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  2. Chris says:

    Hello,

    I am in the process of getting ready to apply for SSI. My question is about how work history can affect my chances of getting SSI. In the past 5 years, I have worked a total off six or seven different jobs. However, at least three of them I only worked about 4-10 hours a week through my college as internship or fellowship. Then, one of them was an internship where I only worked an average of either 6 hours or 25 hours a week (I haven’t sorted it out yet). Then, two of those jobs oI only worked about 20 hours a week. With these two jobs where I worked on average 20 hours a week, I started off working about 30 hours a week, until my body could not keep up after the first month and then I had to lower the number of hours and eventually had to stop working.

    The jobs mentioned above are the only jobs that I have worked.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      Your having to stop work or reduce hours because of your health will support your claim. The limited work history will not affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility or payment amount. It does have some bearing on your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim. Depending on how much you earned each year, you may or may not have enough work credits to be insured for SSD. If you are insured, your minimal work will mean a fairly low SSD benefit. If it is less than $753 and you qualify medically, you may be eligible for SSI to supplement it your income up to $753.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  3. Jennifer Groff says:

    I’m a part time dance teacher that is paid per student, not an hourly rate. I make under $1130 per month. Recently my dancing has caused hip injuries that are requiring surgery. After surgery, I will not be able to return to my job. I’ve been teaching since 1995. What, if any, disability benefits could I apply for?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      Depending on your age and on whether you have worked in other occupations and pm your transferable skills to other occupations, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. You can start your application online at http://www.ssa.gov. You will later be asked to complete SSA-3368 and SSA-3369 forms about your medical condition and work history. You can get the jump on this by downloading and printing the forms from https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3368.pdf and https://www.pdffiller.com/en/project/73731634.htm?f_hash=4ef15c and turning them into your local Social Security office to be associated with your online basic claim form. If your employer or state has short-term disability (STD) insurance, you can apply for STD benefits for income while you wait for a decision on your claim. You might also contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see if you qualify for job training into another occupation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jennifer Groff says:

        I am almost 37 years old and teaching dance has been my primary occupation since I was 15. I have had jobs in retail and food service in my early adulthood, but have continually taught dance classes as well. As of now, any physical work along with sitting, getting in and out of a car, etc. causes pain.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jennifer,

          Continuing our communication, I would add that if you are not able to work in jobs you have done in the past and also have trouble sitting, you might be approved. If you denied, it will likely be because of a determination that you can do non-physical work. If that happens and you really think you cannot work, I suggest hiring an experienced Social Security attorney to assist with the appeal. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Lannie says:

        Hello, I’m on Intermittent FMLA for Vertigo and Migraines and just been diagnosed with Anxiety disorder I have exuated my FMLA hours and PTO hours and my job is telling me I don’t have enough work hours to have my FMLA renewed to call them back in September they said I need 1,250 hours to qualify but I have over 1,300 if I call I out of work without my FMLA I may get fired can I apply for short term disability I have to watch how I turn my head or how I bend over and bright lights cause me to have flu-ups and the change in the air pressure also cause me to have a bad Vertigo attack my current job is Receptionist & stocker Im on a computer all day and bending lifting and stocking I have not made over 1,130 a month because I out sick all the time what should I do I have no paid time our FMLA hours left please help Thank you

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Lannie,

          You can apply for Social Security Disability while you are still employed because you are not performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Claim a disability date just following the last month you earned $1,130 in wages (not sick pay or PTO). Submit pay stubs that show a breakdown of hours worked and hours of leave. You could try to file a short-term disability claim at the same time, but you may find that you are not eligible until if and when you are terminated for absences. With regard to the FMLA, if you think an error has been made either in the calculation of hours worked in the required time period or the hours used, I suggest you get an itemized accounting from our benefits department. If you still think an error has been made, show your employer where you think the error is. If needed get assistance from a union rep, if any, or from an employee-employer relations attorney.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Lannie says:

            Thank you, I thought that I couldn’t file for SSI disability while working only short term disibility I’m still working and have exhausted my Intermittent FMLA hours so should I go ahead and file for disibility before I work to many hours Thank you

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Lannie,

            I described possibilities in our last correspondence, but the decision on when to file for benefits is up to you. To help with your decision, you might want to find out whether your medical insurance continues without paying higher premiums while on STD versus the insurance ending and your having to extend with high premiums if your employment is terminated for your missing work. You could also check to see how much insurance would cost under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Information about ACA, a personal enrollment period, and government subsidies in the form of advance tax credits at http://www.healthcare.gov.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  4. Danielle Miller says:

    My husband is a HVAC Technician. His job is very physical. He has had back surgery, 2 knee surgeries and hand surgery over the years. He also has severe asthma. He has been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. He is finding it difficult both physically and mentally to do his job. Is there some type of program where he could receive compensation and assistance to be trained in another job to continue working. We are in Austin TX.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Danielle,

      Your husband could contact the local branch of Texas’ Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see whether he would qualify for services. You might also research to see if there are private non-profit services for displaced workers. Community colleges sometimes have programs where individuals can be assessed for various kinds of work options and often the colleges offer the classes for certification. If he gets to the point that he cannot continue working before he is retrained, he could apply for Social Security Disability. If approved, he could then request a Ticket to Work and obtain rehabilitation services that way.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  5. Lenka says:

    Hi..someone is delate my coment.Why?

  6. Lenka says:

    Hi Kay.I applied for SSD in June this year … but my problems with the spine and lower back from 5-6 years ago, Since November 2015 my back problems have come to the phase when I cant, to walk, to sit not walkng, I was on IMR twice and physical therapy, but did not help me.But Im traid go to wor maybe 15 days until February 2016.From February 2016 my doctor suggested that I apply for SSD and since I do not work, although I have health insurance my company to February next year..because my company fair me after year,,this is rule ..Also spine problems I’m having trouble with my mental health .Im from country where was war , where I survived war and all the horrors ..After that I have panic attacks, depression , nightmares, anxiety, post-war trauma etc..Moje question is ,, If I do not approve SSD this year and I reapply with a lawyer … what will happen with my health insurance because i’ll only have until the beginning of February next years or january.How I go to doctors if you do not have insurance and if you do not have money to pay .Thank you to reply!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lenka,

      When your health insurance runs out, if your family income is limited, you might try applying to the state for Medicaid. Another alternative is to review the insurance policies available through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) insurance exchange, where you might be eligible for government assistance with the premiums. This must be done within sixty days of your current insurance ending or have to wait until the next open enrollment period at the end of the year. More information about health insurance policies offered on the ACA exchange is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay
      Sincerely,
      Kay

  7. Jessica says:

    Hi Kay,
    I don’t know if you would be able to help me or not.
    My son (7 years old) has recently became disabled. I applied for Social security disability benefits “I think!” and Medicaid to which we were denied for both due to my husbands and I combined gross income.

    Are there any programs out there that can help or can you advise the gross limits for a childs parents so that he can qualify?

    At this point we are struggling due to the cost of our monthly health insurance on top of our 12000 out of pocket…we are drowning in medical debt and we are also loosing hours at work taking off to care for him.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jessica,

      The disability benefits you applied for are Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If all your income is work earnings and you and your husband are not supporting other minor children, gross work earnings above $3,790 will cause your child to be ineligible financially. I suggest that you look into other insurance options with better coverage. You might also check the eligibility requirements for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Information about CHIP is available at http://www.healthinsurance.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Julie says:

      I am in the appeals process, and am considering a part time job. Must I stay under the $1130 monthly gross? I have been offered 24 hours weekly at $11.50 hourly.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Julie,

        If you start work, you need to report the work so it can be considered in determining your eligibility.

        The wages you describe would result in your performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) in that the actual number of days per month that you would be working in all months but February would put you over the $1,130 benchmark for SGA. If you start performing SGA and continue to until you get a claim decision and you have been disabled less than twelve months before staring work, your claim might be denied. If you have been disabled twelve months or longer as of now, your claim could be approved for a closed period of disability (up until you went back to work) or it could be approved with a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits would be paid regardless of your work earnings. After that the TWP is a thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility during which benefits are paid only if you are not performing SGA.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  8. Diane Field says:

    I have been hurt from a car accident, I worked 2 part time jobs, as that’s what I needed to survive and have a mortgage. I hurt myself at the one job, and they didn’t take me back lite duty as doctor specified, My aunt is the other job, to where she just wanted to make sure I was still getting some income, while I applied for disability, The decision will be made soon, and I am hurting myself everyday as I go and make sure she has what she needs done, and she doesn’t try to work me hard, but just doing for her, when I need help myself, is why I’m applying..Do I need to quit to be able to get it, I have gone to all doctors and they said I’m not going to get better, I have wanted to quit, but would have lost my house…Is it all about timing?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Diane,

      If in your continued to work for your aunt you are earning less than $1,130 gross per month, the work will not interfere with your application for Social Security Disability, although you do need to declare it. Your medical eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) likewise will not be affected, but some of your earnings will reduce your SSI payment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  9. jake says:

    i was diagnosed with several mental disorders when i was a child and none of these disorders have gone away, and medication has never helped with them, i am 24 now and because of my MD i struggle to find or keep a job, would i qualify for SSDI, or would it just be a waste of my time?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jake,

      If you are currently earning less than $1,130 gross per month, I suggest that you file Social Security and Supplemental Security disability claims to get a formal medical decision and screening to see if you have enough work for Social Security.

      Submit as many medical records as you can showing the history of your illness and current treatment. Complete an SSA-3368 and SSA 3369 as completely as possible. Be specific about how your health has caused you to leave each job. You can print these forms at https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3368.pdf and https://www.pdffiller.com/en/project/73731634.htm?f_hash=4ef15c and complete them rather than waiting for Social Security to ask for them.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  10. Brandon Walshock says:

    If i was earning more then $1,130 a month before i got disability and got my hours reduce from 60 to working only15- 20hrs a week now getting paid every two weeks will i lose my disability?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brandon,

      I don’t understand your situation. Please provide the date Social Security says your disability began, the date you started and stopped earning $1,130 or more, and how much gross you earn working part time. With that information I may be able to respond.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  11. vera says:

    HI Kay! I apply online for SSD in june 2016..and i must be wait for three to five monts fot results..I stop working in february this year but i stil have benefition in my company to next year to february..My qustion is…If my status for SSD be denaid this year …and maybe i second time i will take lawyer ,what is happen if I quit my job before february,and I be loss my benefity for medical ..Maybe I loss qualification for SSD because I quit my job? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vera,

      Terminating your employment will not adversely affect your Social Security Disability claim. Unless you have a reason to quit your job, keeping it to keep the health insurance may be to your advantage.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  12. agatha Magnusen says:

    I have been working 2 jobs for 11 years and it has been a struggle over the last several years I have had 2 total knee replacements and 2 years ago had a total hip replacement. In recent months have been diagnosed with afib and truly have shortness of breath just to get in the building. I have a disabled husband that turns 70 this month and is on full ssr. My question is I have met the requirements for early retirement at my job but not sure which to do first retire or file for disability. I also have LTD at my job. It is really becoming a struggle to perform these two jobs but have felt like didn’t have a choice.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Agatha,

      You can apply for Social Security benefits regardless of the choice that you make about company retirement and LTD. You can apply as soon as you are no longer earning $1,130 gross or more per month.

      I suggest that you find out the following to help you make a decision on how to proceed regarding your private benefits:

      1. Find out the amounts of the LTD benefit and the retirement benefit if you were approved for each. this is especially important if the benefits are both from the same company.
      2. Find out whether you can receive both the early retirement and the LTD at the same time if the come from the same employer.
      3. Will one be offset by the other?
      3. Find out whether there is a time limit to apply for the early retirement.
      4. Will the early retirement be more if you leave it until full retirement age? How much more?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  13. Barbara K says:

    Hi Kay, I applied for disability a few months ago. I work 1 day a week and gross $364 a month. I own a 2 family and also get $1100 a month in rental income. Of course, that income just helps pay some of my mortgage – it is not profit. My son collects the rent from my tenant and tries to help me with other bills. When SS is figuring out my income to see if I am entitled to benefits, will that 1 day I work a week put me over the income eligibility limit, or is rental income not counted the same as a job? I thank you in advance for your help.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Barbara,

      Your Social Security Disability benefit amount is based on your lifetime work earnings up until you become disabled. Your rental income does not enter into the calculation of your benefits. Social Security does look at how much you earn after the disability date you claim to see if you are demonstrating the ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). Usually $1,130 gross earnings constitutes SGA, so your $364 earnings will not keep you from being approved.

      As an aside, if you were to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, both work and rental income would be considered in determining your payment amount and depending on how much you have in rental property expenses, you might have too much income to qualify for SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  14. Jas says:

    I have a birth injury and I’m currently working full time, however my birth injury is very much affecting my ability to work, so I was thinking about applying for disability but I do not want to quit my job until I know if I have been accepted or denied. Can I still apply or will they automatically deny me because I am still working and making more than $1130/month?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jas,

      Unless you have disability-related work expenses, that is, expenses for something disability related without which you would be unable to work, your claim would be denied because you are currently performing substantial gainful activity.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  15. phil says:

    Question. I was in a car accident not my fault .was off work for 3 years went back to work cause needed the money still have the injuries .documented and ongoing treatments .accident was 11/30/2010 . Daily is a chore to do my job and only if im on pain meds i can get by. back legs knee head and knee injuries can i still file for ss benefits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Phil,

      If you are earning less than $1,130, you can file for disability benefits while still working. You must be disabled from all occupations that you could perform if you did not have your medical condition(s).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  16. Dina says:

    After 30 years of exemplary employment my 58 year old husband is being layed off, along with many others in his age group and field. He has suffered from generalized dystonia for 38 years, yet has been an awesome primary breadwinner for our family. We have three kids in college and another child just starting high school, who has a life threatening medical condition, so I have been the at home caregiver/support for the family. We are trying to figure out the gap between now and retirement since the expected family contribution for college is significant (plus our last child is going to be less able to work while in college. We have wondered about applying for SSI but husband is pretty proud he has never had to do it. Yet he is telling me he feels his days of being able to work are over. His health has certainly suffered as a result of ignoring the pain of dystonia, and now high blood pressure; the reason he hasn’t worked on it is because he feels so compelled to do his part for our family. Now he would like to spend the time trying to get the effects of dystonia under control, which I applaud! My question is, how does being layed off, and being unable to seek another job affect qualification for disability, if he at some point applies?

    • Dina says:

      PS, advice on timing would be helpful.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Dina,

        In order not to potentially lose benefits, he should apply within seventeen months of stopping work. It takes two to five months for a decision and SSD is not paid for the first five months of disability. Perhaps these facts will help you and your husband with timing decisions. And one final thought: if his company has short-term or long-term disability, your husband might apply for that benefit. Also, if he files a disability claim and is getting a severance package, be sure to put that on the application. Otherwise, the severance pay may look like work earnings.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dina,

      Some people work with what would be considered disabling conditions if they were not working and are considered disabled when they stop. That said, I do not know whether your husband qualifies for disability benefits; he would have to file an application to find out.

      With his work history, he can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD), which is an earned benefit that he paid for with Social Security taxes during his work life. (If he is getting unemployment or a severance package, he probably would not be eligible for SSI (Supplemental Security Income), which is a public welfare program for the disabled and aged because his income would be too high.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  17. Fred says:

    I have end stage renal disease (ESRD) and started taking dialysis on 12/10/2013. Although I often felt bad, I continued to work and made over $1,130 a month. Two 1/2 years later I was hospitalized for a brain hemorrhage, DVT and pneumonia…along with the ESRD. After the hospitalization I decided to stop working (on 06/7/2016). I submitted the SSDI application online and entered 12/10/2013 as the onset date because that’s when dialysis started. Now I’m concerned because I received form SSA-821 requesting a copy of my paystubs from 12/10/2013 which will show I made over $1,130. Will my application be denied? What should I do? I do NOT want back payments. I only want to be considered for disability after I stopped working on 6/7/2016.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Fred,

      Send back the form. Where it asks to list employment, writ in that you made a mistake in the the date you claimed disability. Say that you began dialysis in December 2013 but continued to earn more than $1,130 until June 7, 2016. Ask to change your alleged onset date to June 8, 2016. Keep a copy of the completed form.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Ka

    • Susan Dormer says:

      Kay,
      My husband has an inflammatory muscle disease, IBM. He was diagnosed over 20 years ago. His neurologist has been telling him to apply for disability for over 10 years, but he is stubborn and continued to work, cutting his hours when necessary.
      He is now at his breaking point and has finally consented to look into disability. However he is currently working and is making more than $1,130 gross per month. If he were to stop working today, am I to understand that he would not be paid, once he is approved, for the first 5 months starting tomorrow?
      He is 62, and the monthly difference in his benefit for disability as compared to early retirement is significant.

      Thank yo for your time,
      Susan

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Susan,

        Your husband can apply for both Social Security reduced retirement and disability benefits. The disability benefits, if he is approved, would begin with the sixth full-calendar month after disability began. So, if your husband stopped work this week and was approved for disability benefits, benefits would begin January 2017 and would be paid in February. If he also applies for reduced retirement, he would received those benefits while waiting for disability to start. Then would be switched to full disability in January. At his full retirement age, he would be switched back to retirement benefits, which would be slightly less than the disability because he received five months of reduced retirement.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  18. Holly says:

    Hi Kay,

    I’m 28 years old an an adjunct instructor at a local community college. I also have cerebral palsy, use a power wheelchair and need assistance in my home on a day-to-day basis. I am receiving SSI during certain months–enrollment goes down in the summer, for example, and I am offered fewer classes–but I just found out I have enough work credits for SSDI. I’ve only had income under 1130 gross for probably 9ish months out of a total of nearly 4 years of work, however. Do you think I will qualify?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Holly,

      If you stated your situation correctly–you have been performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) for twenty-seven of the last thirty-six months with no period of twelve months earning less than SGA–it is unlikely that you will be approved for Social Security Disability at this time. You are, however, working and adding earnings to your earnings record for retirement benefits and/or disability benefits should you have to stop work in the future due to a decline in health. (See below for the SGA benchmark earnings over the past five years.)

      In calendar year 2015, $1090
      In calendar year 2016, $1130
      In calendar year 2015, $1,090
      In calendar year 2014, $1,070
      In calendar year 2013, $1,040
      In calendar year 2012, $1,010
      In calendar year 2011, $1,000

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Holly says:

        You are correct; I’ve never been under SGA for more than 3-4 months at a time. Excellent; thank you so much for your help!

        • Holly says:

          One more question, now that I’m thinking about it. Assuming I am denied for SSDI, would the SSI process still continue as it normally does? (Would I continue to mail in my paystubs monthly and receive payment for any months when my income is sufficiently low?)

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Holly,

            The definition of disability is the same for Social Security as for SSI and includes the inability to perform SGA for a period of twelve months or more. Accordingly, I am somewhat surprised that you have been able to get SSI after you returned to work even for the months that are vacation months under your work schedule. Apparently, the representative handling your claim has been thinking only of payment calculation and not of the definition of disability. Eventually, it may be determined that you aren’t eligible for SSI.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Holly,

          You are welcome.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  19. Jen says:

    I had been on SSDI from 1999 until 2006 because I have multiple birth defects, mainly curved spine & I wear an above knee prosthetic, as well as having hand deformities. IN 2006 is when I got a part time job. Then I was offered full time and took it which ended benefits since I went over SGA. My health is declining but I don’t miss work because of it no matter how bad the pain is. Is there anyway I can just get right back on or would I have to start the process over again? If it is the latter, how long would the application process take?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jen,

      You do not say when you went to full time and began to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). If your thirty-six-month extended period of eligibility ended and your case was closed (not just suspended) more than five years ago, you must file a new claim and claim the date of disability that you again drop below SGA, which is now $1,130 gross per month. If it is less than give years from when your claim closed and when you drop below SGA, you can request Expedited Reinstatement (ER), which usually takes a little less time than a new claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  20. Zane says:

    I have Fibromyalgia and Major Depressive Disorder. I use to work full time, but six years ago, could no longer physically do so. I started working as a self employed pet sitter, generally just one or two hours a day. I make well below the SGA (on average $300 a month). I’ve just started filling out the disability application, but am confused about the questions concerning “have you stopped working in the last 14 months” and “date you last worked”. Technically, I have not stopped working, but if I say “no”, it won’t let me continue unless I’m 61 (I’m 52). If I’m below SGA, do they consider that “not working”, so I can truthfully say “not working”? Thanks for any assistance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Zane,

      Put the date you stopped working full time as the date you stopped work. Later on, the application should ask you whether you have worked since you stopped work. If it does not, you can put the information about your part-time work (type of work, start date, and monthly earnings) in the remarks section.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  21. Robin says:

    Kay,

    I have Fibromyalgia and Major Depressive Disorder. I use to work full time, but six years ago, could no longer physically do so. I started working as a self employed pet sitter, generally just one or two hours a day. I make well below the SGA (on average $300 a month). I’ve just started filling out the disability application, but am confused about the questions concerning “have you stopped working in the last 14 months” and “date you last worked”. Technically, I have not stopped working, but if I say “no”, it won’t let me continue unless I’m 61 (I’m 52). If I’m below SGA, do they consider that “not working”, so I can truthfully say “not working”? Thanks for any assistance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robin,

      List the date you stopped working full-time as the date you stopped work. Later on, the application should ask whether you have worked since your stop-work date. If it does not, you can put the information about your part-time work in the remarks section at the end.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  22. Shawna Hargrave says:

    Last year i began dyalisis for kidney failure, had multiple surgeries and was out of work for almost 3 months. Durring this time i applied for ssi. It took so long i had no choice but to return to work as i am a single mom with rent and other bills. Working full time is exhausting but i would lose my medical insurance if i dropped my hours and i didn’t think that was a wise choice going into all this medical stuff. My application was recently approved but now they want my pay stubs and i fear that i will not be fully approved. Ive been waiting for my claim so i could decrease my hours and focus on my health. What should i do. If i drop my hours right away will that help? If i get denied because of income do i have to appeal? They said i was approved but now want to evaluate my work. Im willing to go down in hours now thats what i have been waiting for!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shawna,

      If you were off work only three months and returned to work earning $1,130 gross or more per month and if you have been back to work for six months or more, it is likely that your claim will be denied because part of Social Security’s definition of disability is being disabled for twelve months or more. A return to work for six months or more most likely will not be treated as an unsuccessful work attempt, even if you stop work now. (A couple of notes: If you are still receiving dialysis you can apply only for Medicare to cover part of the dialysis costs while you continue to work. If you are denied and you reduce your hours to below $1,130 gross, you might be approved on a new claim with a new onset date of when you reduced hours.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  23. Lisa says:

    I have idiopathic peripheral neuropathy with chronic pain and depression. I have had neuropathy for over 10 years and the pain is getting worse to the point that I am having a hard time with dexterity for typing. I have been working slightly over the SGA limit but have been having to decrease my hours due to the pain. I have a sedentary job and work from home for a company. I get paid by the case, not an hourly wage. Do I need to quit my job or just decrease my hours so that my income is less than 1180 the apply for disability? I live in Oregon and I don’t know the rules. I have a friend who just got on disability for another medical condition and she says her attorney told her that she could not work at all.

    Thank you for your feedback.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lisa,

      To file an application while working and not be immediately denied you have to have gross wages or net self-employment less than $1,130 (not $1,180). Once you have been approved, Social Security has various work incentives that allow some work. You can read about them in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  24. amanda says:

    I applied for disability on January 29th, 2015. I was denied twice so far but we are appealing the courts decision with the help of my lawyer. I am a single mother and because of the denial I have no choice but to get a job that will be 15 hours a week. How bad is this going to look on my appeal? The whole process of getting a job has took its toll on my mental illnesses and has created new diagnoses, but its either work or lose my daughter because I will lose my home. These new diagnoses can’t be submitted to social security at this current stage. I would have to wait for the appeals court to deny my claim before I could submit the new info.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Amanda,

      If you are earning less than $1,130 gross per month, your work activity may not affect your claim. If you are earning more than that and have been off work for a year, the work may be treated as a Trial Work Period. If you have been off less than a year, which seems unlikely given how many appeals you have filed, the work could result in a denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  25. Kori says:

    I’m 46 and was 1st diagnosed with depression back in 1996, took Prozac for a few yrs, moved to another state, started a new life. Got a good paying professional job that I held for 8 yrs, towards the end that employer requested that I see someone for the changes he’d noticed in me, then, in 2006 I was diagnosed with severe depression and lost that job a week later. I haven’t been able to keep a job for more than 6 mos since then and have been unemployed since 2009, except for 2 very short jobs, lost the last one this past January. I can’t remember any of the doctors names, etc, I only remember their diagnosing me, but have no idea whose name to put on any application. I am still unemployed and have no medical coverage to go see anyone and have no idea what to do. I do remember that in 2009 during an appeal hearing for my denied unemployment benefits, the judge ruled that the former employer he was discussing with me had fired me due to depression, but unfortunately it was for the wrong former employer. I ended up homeless a week later and was homeless until 2012, thanks to a new friend I’d made while out on the streets. A lot of people now think that I not only suffer from a severe depression, but now may even be suffering from a PTSD due to the yrs on the streets.

    I just don’t know if I should even bother trying to apply, since I have no memory of names or anything and am unable to provide any real evidence or anything other than my earnings history

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kori,

      I suggest that you apply for benefits. Explain on the application why you have no current medical records. Provide a psychiatric history. If you can remember the names of any of the clinics or hospitals, provide that even if you don’t know the doctors’ names. List all your employment and why you left. Do the best you can on start and stop dates. If you can get statements from any of the supervisors about why you lost each job, that would be helpful. At the same time as you apply, you might ask your state or county social services office whether your city or county has a free mental health clinic and/or whether you can get Medicaid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  26. Trish Pineda says:

    I am 42 years old and was just diagnosed with 2nd degree, type II heart block. I am still trying to process all of this and also still trying to find out everything about this disease. I also have been diagnosed with Bipolar, Migraines, Severe Depression, and Seizures. I miss a lot of work due to my medical conditions and now I’m unsure exactly what this new diagnosis will mean. My job has been very understanding up until this point, but if I miss much more, I’m not so sure I will be able to keep my job…but at the same time, I’m not sure I would qualify for disability.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Trish,

      It is often difficult to predict medical eligibility and even more so when symptoms are coming from multiple illnesses. Disability according to Social Security law is the inability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least twelve months. This means that at your age you must be unable to work in any occupation for which you are qualified, not just jobs you have done in the past. At this point in time, you probably need more information about the implications of your new diagnosis and how it may or may not limit you in your current job or in non-physical occupations that are new to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Calvin says:

      Hello Kay, my name is Alvin I was born with two disability imperfect anus and distended bladder both Works only 20%. I have always been on SSI disability at the age of 20 I got married and try to work my situation has got the worst after 15 years and I am no longer able to work my doctors totally agree that I can’t work any longer. I tried my best SSI denied me twice and now I have to go for hearing why do you think I was denied?

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Calvin,

        Without reading your claim file, I am unable to explain the denial. I suggest that you get an experienced Social Security attorney to help present your appeal at the hearing. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you pay attorney fees only if the attorney is successful in getting you approved for benefits.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  27. Karina says:

    My husband is the breadwinner and works full time and has recently been told by a orthopedic doctor that he has multiple myeloma or a metastatic disease due to extreme lower back spinal pain. He works 12 hours, 4 days a week and is afraid to go out on disability because it takes over a month for work disability to kick in. Is there anyway he could go on SSA disability and if he can how long for that to start? We have 3 small kids & I homeschool them, wouldn’t it help for me to find a fulltime job until it all does kick in? Thanks for your time, I’m trying to convince my husband this may be out best path at this time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Karina,

      Typical processing time for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability claims is two to five months and SSD is not paid for the first five full calendar months of disability, so your husband’s employer-sponsored disability benefit would start first. Your working and putting the children into public school for a while seems like a reasonable solution for the short-term at least.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  28. Dina says:

    Hello….my husband had back surgery at the end of February for equina syndrome. His FMLA ran out and so he went back to work this past Monday as we need the income and the insurance. He is still in pain, and weak. He has fallen a few times since going back this week. Would he qualify for disability while he continues his recovery and then go back to work? His appointment with the disability office is on the 18th of this month. Should he continue to work until then? We are so lost. He wants to work, and we need the income. I just don’t think his body is ready. Thanks in advance for any information.

    • Dina says:

      Sorry, a little more about his job. He drives trucks for the City Solid Waste Department. He didn’t feel like he could get in and out of the trucks as needed, so his supervisor is allowing him to work in a different position, but it requires standing and walking and this is how he fell at work this week. He still requires a cane to walk. Thanks again.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Dina,

        I read both your posts. If your husband has gone back to work within less than twelve months of ceasing work and is earning $1,130 gross or more per month, he is not eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. (Note that he has to be expected to be disabled for at least twelve months to be approved for SSD.) Given that he works for a city, he may be covered by a short-term disability policy, which would pay him while his application for SSD is being processed or while he recovers for return to his usual occupation. I suggest that he contact his employer to find out if he has STD coverage and/or long-term disability (LTD) coverage.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  29. Jeremiah says:

    I separated from the Marine Corps in January of 2015. Since completing multiple combat deployments while on active duty, I I have struggled with PTSD and severe anxiety, as well as multiple back and joint problems. I got a job after leaving the military, but had to quit after 4 months because of the aggravation it was causing in my back and joints. Now nearly a year later, I have been working a new job for 2 months, but am having to quit again, this time due to the PTSD and anxiety. I am considering applying for SSDI because I’m unable to hold a job, but worried about having almost no income for the long amount of time it could take for my claim to be processed. Also, I’m not sure when I should say that my disability began. Technically it started around June 2014, but because I’ve worked twice since then, I may have to put a different date? Or could those work periods be treated as unsuccessful work attempts?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jeremiah,

      First you have to either stop working or reduce your hours to $1,130 gross wages a month. Then, you can claim the date you separated from the military because the two periods of work are likely to be treated as unsuccessful work attempts. Provide a medical history back to when both the physical and mental symptoms started. If the physical symptoms started at a point different from the onset of the mental health problems, make that clear. You might consider also filing a VA compensation claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Carmena says:

        Hi Kay I am not sure if I am not asking you my question in the right place. I sent two emails so far. Are you receiving them??

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Carmena,

          Please see my reply of June 18 where you posted the questions under the article “”What is the Difference between a Fully Favorable and Partially Favorable Decision?” under the “Hearing” tab at the top of this webpage.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  30. Jim says:

    My wife was having back pain for some time. Her supervisor advised her to see a doctor.Her supervisor also said if she needed to be on light duty that he would accommodate her. My wife ended up going to doctor. The doctor said light duty pending physical therapy evaluation. She gave them the note. Only to find out the company decided that she was a risk and won’t let her back work until ok from doctor. The thing is her physical therapy is until a month from now. Can she apply for disability since her job said she can’t come back to work until doctors ok?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jim,

      If your wife has the ability to perform a different, lighter occupation and earn at least $1,130 gross per month, she is not disabled as defined by Social Security law. If she is unable to do so and expects to be unable to work and earn at that level for twelve months, she should file a claim. It might be helpful for her to talk with her physician about what he or she thinks your wife’s limitations are and how long they will last.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  31. Kevin Meyer says:

    Greetings:

    My wife currently makes just over the SGA amount at her part time job, but that job will be eliminated as of June 30. She has MS, and from what I’ve read it seems like she is a serious contender for SSD under the “severe fatigue” paragraph. She wakes up exhausted and just goes downhill from there. She also has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and has significant un-diagnosed back pain. My question: Should we start the application process now or do we need to wait until after June 30 when we can state she has zero income?

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kevin,

      Your wife has to wait to file an application until she stops performing SGA. Accordingly, she can apply on July 1 and claim a July 1 disability date. She should, however, include as much history as she can about her progressive condition.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  32. natalie says:

    do they call your employer to verify anything? trying to figure out whos name to put

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Natalie,

      Please provide a context for me. What is the form you are completing? Is if for yourself and is the employment yours?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  33. I’m 60 years old, type II diabetes, taking Xanax for anxiety, had 6 orthopedic surgeries, two back surgeries in 1978 and 1981. Ankle surgery in 2005, torn meniscus in 2010 right knee. Left and right rotator cuff surgeries in 2013 with neuropathy in left foot. Do I qualify for Disability?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gary,

      Whether or not you are eligible probably depends on the kind of work you have done in the past. If you have had a desk job or have done very light work you may not qualify. If you have a work history in occupations that require you to be on your feet and/or do frequent or heavy lifting, you might qualify. If you are not working or are earning less than $1,130 gross wages or net self-employment, I suggest that you file an application to get a determination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  34. George says:

    Hi I am 41years old through my life I have been diagnosed with bipolar,had back surgery,anxiety,high blood pressure and I struggle to work everyday. How can I go about applying for disability while I have to work? Thank you in advance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear George,

      Social Security’s definition of disability includes the in ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). Usually earning $1,130 gross wages or net self-employment is considered SGA. Accordingly, to apply while working you have to be earning less than $1,130. You might check with your employer to find out whether you are covered by a short-term disability policy that could provide income while your claim is being processed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  35. Laura says:

    I am trying to apply for disability for my mother she is 62yrs old. She has always worked for companies that prepare the food for airlines and vendor like gas stations where they sell sandwiches and salads. She has to cut and slices vegies with her hands no machines but where she works is inside building that are refrigerated and it’s always cold. So the many years that she has been doing this it has taken a toll in her body, aches and pain in joints and bones but she has never seen a doctor for this is she is diabetic she works on and off with staffing agencies when it gets tough for my father to keep up with the payments at home. But now it has gotten harder for her. Is it worth applying for disability if she has never seen a physician for this condition? How do I go about this? and will she qualify?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      I suggest that your mother see a physician and have an evaluation of her hand function to determine how limited she is. If she is earning less than $1,130 a month she can file for Social Security Disability (SSDI). Also, at age sixty-two, she can file for reduced retirement benefits. (The reduction will be permanent.) The earnings limit for receiving benefits in all months is $15,720. Note that your mother can apply for both SSDI and retirement. If she is approved for SSDI, she will be switched to the higher disability benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  36. Pete Miller says:

    Hi Kay,

    I’m helping someone apply for SSDI on-line. He works but not at SGA (he works very occasional temp jobs). The on-line application asks if has been able to work in the last 12 months. When we check “yes” it won’t let us continue. Any advice?

    Thank you,
    Pete

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pete,

      First, log out of the program saving the application to finish later. Then try again. If it still terminates the application process save it again and make an appointment to finish the application in a local office. You can request the appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  37. Adelheid says:

    Hi, I have a question regarding ssi for mental illness. I’m a 29 year old female and I’ve had social anxiety my entire life. I’ve never been diagnosed with it though. I have been diagnosed with depression, several times. I haven’t been able to work for about a year, since having a panic attack at work. I also suspect that I have ptsd. I’m currently looking for a psychiatrist or psychologist, and plan on applying for ssi.

    My question is, will I be required to get treatment for a certain amount of time before I’ll be approved, to determine whether or not I get better? I’m currently breastfeeding, so I won’t be able to take meds.

    Would it just be best to get a disability lawyer? Do they charge a lot?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Adelheid,

      You can apply now. Make a list of all the mental health professional or others who have treated you for depression and for the panic attack if you had treatment then. If possible get a statement from your former supervisor or fellow employee who witnessed that attack. Continue to pursue seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist even though you can’t take medication now. There’s no requirement for length of treatment.

      Most attorneys don’t take claims until there’s been one denial. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  38. Rae Anne Schutz says:

    My dad is going to be 62 and he works full time but has been recently had some medical problems. He has COPD and heart and blood pressure problems. Can I help him file for benefits while he is working full time. His work is not helping his breathing and I feel it is making it worse. ANy help will help thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rae Anne,

      Your father can apply for disability benefits while working only if he is earning less than $1,130 gross monthly. If he needs to stop work, he can apply for early reduced Social Security Retirement benefits to have income during claim processing and the five-month unpaid waiting period. If he is approved for disability, he will be switched over to the higher disability rate.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  39. christine says:

    My husband is 62 yrs. old and has been suffering from congestive heart failure, peripheral arterial disease and deep vein thrombosis. He was working but within the last 2 months he has had 2 heart attacks and has not been back to work. The doctors told him he cannot continue to work.

    Is he eligible for disability since his doctor’s told him not to return to work?

    Thank you for your time,
    christine

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christine,

      The Social Security Administration will determine whether your husband is disabled as defined by Social Security law. A statement from his doctor advising your husband not to work will be helpful to his claim. Given what you have described, there is a good chance your husband will be approved for disability benefits. if he wishes, he can also apply for reduced early Social Security retirement benefits to have income while his claim is being processed. If he is approved for disability, he will be switched to the higher disability rate.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  40. Lin says:

    Dear Kay. I am asking on behalf of my son in AR that does not have a computer. He works at Walmart, and had a workers comp injury which resulted in intensive arm surgery. Now he had a tumor removed from his leg near the groin area and the doctor wanted him to not work for a week or so. They did not accept the doctors note, and he is struggling with depression and high bp from stress, trying to work and still has staples in his leg. It is an at will company and state. They did transfer him to an assembly type job which he finds very difficult to do with his arm. His hours have been reduced , and is below the SGA level. Should we apply directly or go through a company such as Allsup? I went through Allsup in 2008 and received it in about 8 months. I have read your posts and it seems that he can in fact apply for SSDI. I am afraid he is going to not make it , diagnosed with COPD and beginning of diabetes. Bad Walmart.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lin,

      If Allsup will represent on the initial application, it could be worth it to have them present the case, especially because your son is applying based on a combination of conditions. He should claim disability on the date he dropped below SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  41. rosa says:

    I make about $2200 montly but for a long time I have only been able to work less than 24 hrs a week. Because of my profession I would have to work less than 10 hrs a week which is very hard to find an employer to agree to that. I suffer from cervical spine stenosis and it’s getting worse. Will I have to cut down to the SGA threshold. In order to qualify?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rosa,

      You are working and earning at a level that means you are not disabled from Performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). The current threshold is $1,130 gross.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mariam says:

        but if you are no longer able to work 20 hrs, but cant survive without the income, what do you do.
        I make $2650 a month, i work only 2 days a week due to chronic illness. i am no longer able to keep up. if i file for disability, i make too much money. if i quit work, so that my income is nothing, i can’t survive. if i go on short term disability / long term disability from work, i still make $1500 a month.

        how can a person who is physically not able to perform, and yet wanting to be a responsible person ( not just quit and live off the government ) how does one file for disability

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mariam,

          You have to be disabled to successful file for disability benefits. While you are working and performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), which in 2016 is usually defined as $1,130 gross wages a month, you are not disabled as defined by Social Security law.

          If you paid the premium for the short-term disability and long-term disability insurance policies, the benefits will not be taxable and that increases their value as compared to your net income off $2,650 gross. You can look at your pay stubs to see if insurance premiums are being withheld. Another strategy that some people use making life style changes to reduce expenses.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  42. Jennifer Cryer says:

    Hello Kay. A friend of mine is filling out the online disability application. She is currently only working 2 days a week and makes around $600 a month. On the application it asks “Are you now able to work?” It seems like she would mark “yes” because she is working, but when she does the next question is “when were you able to start working again?” How does she correctly answer these questions?

    Thank you for your time and advice!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      She can answer the second question by saying that she hasn’t stopped working but is grossing only $600 a month. If there isn’t room she can explain in the comments section at the end.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  43. Kim says:

    I have small cell lung cancer, so feel very confident I will qualify for SSDI, but have not received confirmation yet. When I applied, I was receiving short term disability equal to my salary which is well over the $1130. In the middle of this, my job was eliminated due to my boss going to another firm. I opted to retire to assure I’d receive full retiree benefits and STD ended. My old boss wants to compensate me full salary as a disability benefit until my SSDI benefit checks start coming in. After that, he wants to pay me a salary which would be over the $1130 on a trial basis, allowing me to work reduced hours, at home and as I feel capable. Is any or all of this allowable? I have not posed this to the SS Agent I’ve been talking to, but when she found out I was no longer working, she said to be sure to call her if I do go back to work and don’t make more than $1130. Does that mean that you are not allowed to get STD or LTD while applying for or receiving SSDI? Or – it can’t be more than the $1130? If you ARE in fact able to earn STD or LTD over that amount, would my boss be able to pay it to be claiming it as disability payment even though it’s not coming from a STD insurance policy?

    I realize there are lots of questions in this and truly appreciate assistance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      Short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) benefits and sick and vacation pay are not work earnings. They may show up in IRS records looking like work earnings because of being subject to Social Security taxes for a period of time. Your pay stubs will prove that the income is not work earnings. Because they are not work earnings, they can be in any amount and not affect your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. Any payments or gifts that your former boss gives you while you are not working has no effect on your disability status because they are not payments for work.

      If you work and earn more than $1,130 gross a month, you would typically be considered to be performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). However, if the work you rendered was very limited and you didn’t really earn the money being paid to you, you could assert that part of the money was a subsidy and not earned income. It can sometimes be difficult to quantify the amount of a subsidy or that a subsidy exists.

      You do not list any dates or say how long you have been off work or when you are thinking of starting work. If you start performing SGA before you have been disabled for less than twelve months, the work could cause your claim to be denied because disability has to last twelve months for you to be eligible. If the work begins more than twelve months after your established date of disability, you will be granted a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which full benefits are payable regardless of the amount you earn (assuming you have not recovered medically). You can read more about return-to-work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov. Lastly, you have to report all work when you start work even if it is not enough to affect your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kim says:

        Kay – Thank you so much for your response. To provide some additional information, I stopped working at the end of January. My hope was to try to perform some work starting June 1st. My employer is offering me the opportunity to work when and if I can with no expectations of hours or production, however, paying me an amount above the $1130. I have not yet received approval of SSDI, however, with my diagnosis, I believe it’s a given it will be granted. The SSA representative indicated first payment would occur in July. I am confused about a couple of things. In the Red Book, it states:

        “Your TWP cannot begin until the first month you are entitled to SSDI benefits, or the month you file for benefits, whichever is later”.

        My interpretation of that would be I could start the 9 month TWP in July assuming that’s when my first check would be generated. My confusion is your comment about the 12 month period as also stated in the Red Book:

        ‘You are not eligible for disability benefits or a TWP if you work at the SGA level within 12 months of the start of your impairment(s) and before we approve your claim for disability benefits.”

        My interpretation of that would be that I can not start TWP until after January, 2017.

        The bottom line is that my employer has offered to pay me an amount considerably above the $1130. This pay would be a combination of compensating me for my long time loyalty to the company as well as a form of disability pay that I am not receiving through an insurance company since disability coverage is not offered. This compensation would come to me regardless of how much or little work I am able to accomplish. We are simply trying to determine how this can be done in compliance with SSDI specifically and thought the TWP would be the avenue?

        You mention a subsidy vs. earned income. Is that still taxed the same and what would I be required to report to SSDI?

        Again, thank you for your time and expertise. It’s invaluable.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Kim,

          The crux is “entitled.” The definition of disability includes being disabled for twelve months: “Disability is the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.” So, if you go back to work and earn $1,130 gross before twelve months of disability you would not be entitled to benefits because you did not meet the definition of disability. If benefits start for the sixth month (July) and your return to substantial gainful activity begins before twelve months is up, then the payments would be erroneous and you would not be entitled to them.

          Please check with the IRS on how the payments from your former employer should be reported. As far as Social Security goes, the amount of money your ex-box gives you divided by the number of full-time work hours in a month (173) could be considered your hourly rate. You could keep a log of the number of hours worked and what you produced. The difference between the sum of the the actual work hours times the hourly rate and the total you are paid would be subsidy. You and your employer could make statements about this and you could submit time logs and descriptions of your output.

          Because the information that I provide is general, I encourage you to discuss your situation with the Social Security Administration.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  44. priscilla says:

    I’m currently working around 14 – 19 hours a week but I just can no longer bare working due to multiple health issues. I would like to quit my job but I need to pay for rent and bills for now. What should I do? Do I need to quit my job in order to apply for SS benefits? or can I continue working and quit if I’m approved for the benefits?

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Priscilla,

      If you are earning less than $1,130 gross wages per month, you can apply for Social Security Disability while working.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  45. Lynne says:

    Hi Is it possible to be approved for SSDI if I start the application process while I am receiving Unemployment Benefits in Ma? I would like to still work…my health has continually declined over the last 15 years and I am unable to perform the same type of work that I have done in the last 15 years. My illness requires me to do something else however I can not find anything that I could do with my illness.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lynne,

      Unemployment law varies from state to state, so it is possible that you are eligible for unemployment while also being eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI). If in fact there are no new occupations you can perform given your medical limitations, you will be approved for Social Security Disability. Getting an employment assessment by your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation at the same time as you apply for Social Security could provide evidence for your SSDI claim if no occupations are identified for you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  46. Kayla says:

    I’m a 25 yr old female i’ve been suffering from HYPERTHYROIDISM for seven years now. I work 36 hours a week, I don’t make near the SGA.I am a part time Cna, and lately i’ve been Having more frequent panic attacks, depression, weight gain,lack of energy, problems with my eyes staying sick all the time on and off the job I just feel like my body is gonna give out on me soon.I just feel sick all the time. Ive talked to lawyers they all saw they can’t help me because I work, but I have to pay for the expensive medications some way. I was denied back in 2014, so at this point idk what to do. I need ADVICE please

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kayla,

      If you are grossing (before taxes) less than $1,130 a month you can apply for benefits. If you are not under medical care for all the conditions you mention, seek medical care so there is some documentation of your conditions to support your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Kayla says:

        I am seeking medical treatment for my illnes, but it’s really hard to find a lawyer in NC to take my case, because everyone that I talk to says because I’m employed they can’t help me, so is there anyway I can get my doctors to take me out of work, and i recently seen a behavior specialist about my depression they recommended antidepressant

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Kayla,

          If you are able to work and earn $1,130 gross per month, you are not disabled as defined by Social Security law. Talking to your doctors about the problems you are having at work, if any, and discussing with them whether they think it is necessary for you to stop working is probably a good idea. If you do stop or reduce your work, you can file your initial claim without an attorney.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

        • Kayla says:

          I work but do not earn $1,130 I make 600 dollars a Month.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Kayla,

            If you are earning less than $1,130 gross because of your health, you may qualify for benefits.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  47. Brenda says:

    Question:

    I am a federal employee with a long history of cervical spine disease, degenerative cervical disc disease and Type 2 diabetes (not controlled). I had one cervical spine surgery in 2007 and, due to increasing pain, numbness, dizziness and weakness in my arms and legs, I am increasingly unable to perform my job, resulting in my needing to take more and more sick leave. I will have to have a second surgery within the next 6 weeks, after which I will be out of work entirely for several weeks, possibly permanently depending on the outcome of the surgery.

    Question: When I am trying to consider earnings and whether or not they fall below the $1100 monthly threshold, do I not include paid sick leave and only look at the number of hours I am actually reporting to work? Because of sick leave I am still receiving full pay each pay period, but the number of sick hours I’m taking is increasing and the number of hours worked is decreasing at an alarming rate. I’m just trying to figure out at what point I should apply for disability in case surgery doesn’t help and the symptoms I am having are permanent.

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brenda,

      When you see that you have a pattern of earned income for ours actually at work has dropped to less than $1,130 for a couple months (long enough to create a pattern), you can file your claim. When you do, present copies of your pay stubs or other employer documents that show how many hours of sick leave was taken in each period to prove up front that actual work is below Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  48. IB says:

    Hi Kay,

    First thank you for a question you answered a week or so ago. You are amazing to answer all of our questions without charging a fee. I’ve been to other sites and they want to charge you and they are no where near knowledgeable than you. So again thanks for all you do for us impatient applicants. 🙂 

    My last question: My application for chronic pain due to Osteoarthritis began in August 2015, right after I had knee surgery that month for a torn meniscus. OA set in and it’s been tough. My onset date I’m assuming would be August 2014 because that is when I began seeing my doctor about my knee pain and it is documented. It has just gotten worse over the months. My 2014 earnings was a little over $2,000 and my 2015 earnings was $10,129. I have been working as of October 2015 as a personal assistant for my sister (who has cancer) whom I live with, paid by the state. I do laundry, dishes, etc same stuff I do for myself. My income some months was a hundred over the SGA limit. This was 2015. I decided (while my claim is still pending as of 8 months due to new medical info I submitted) to try and go back to teaching. I started substitute teaching and had a good administrator that catered to my disability. However, because of overextending myself and working in pain, I need surgery on my other knee as of this month (april 2016), per MRI and doctor, another torn meniscus. I have since quit my job but have been working from January to part of April making over the SGA amount…probably about $200 over. Will this disqualify me from my claim because I have been working or will they go back to 2014? I definitely cannot work now because the torn meniscus had led to severe OA in both knees and my other knee that had surgery on last year is not healing well. Also, will I need to have this surgery done before a decision is made, are they waiting on me to have surgery? I was in TX and they do not take Social Security out of our paycheck. Is that still counted in SGA earnings? Also, will they have my 2016 earnings now or will I need to bring in check stubs IF I am approved? Do I automatically receive a TWP that can count this year’s earnings?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear IB,

      The general rule is that you must have twelve months consecutive months in which you are not performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) earnings level to be eligible for benefits. There is an exception if you attempt work for less than six months and stop work again due to the same medical condition(s). (The left and right knee might or might not be related to a single underlying condition.)

      It is possible that you could be approved for a closed period of disability or if you were off work long enough, your later work after the twelve months of disability might be applied to the nine-month Trial Work Period. I suggest that you keep all your pay stubs to show specifically which months you were and weren’t working at SGA level. Your work for the Texas school district is considered in determining SGA even though it did not earn Social Security quarters of coverage.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  49. Brooke Terry says:

    My husband is currently in a federal technician position that requires him to have an active national guard enlistment. Due to his combat related disability the military is giving him medical retirement. Due to him no longer being an active enlisted soldier he will no longer be able to continue at his job. He has 30 days left before his last day. Can he apply for SS disability now or should he wait until the 30 days are up? We know the process can take a long time and we wanted to try and get started as soon as we could.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brooke,

      Your husband has to stop working before applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) if he is earning $1,130 or more in monthly gross earnings. The definition of disability for SSDI is different from VA definitions of disability. To be eligible for SSDI, he has to be disabled from all occupations for which he has the education or transferable skills and could perform absent his physical or mental limitations. If he is not receiving VA compensation, that may be an appropriate benefit to apply for.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  50. Kathi H says:

    Good Afternoon,
    I am 57 and have been a self employed daycare operator in my home for over 20 years. It is getting more and more difficult to perform my duties, and keep the children safe, as I have arthritis in my lower back and hips, sciatica, degenerative disk disease in my neck, and have an upcoming MRI for issues concerning dizziness, head pressure and extreme degrees of low to high blood pressure. Regardless of the results of the MRI, I intend to reluctantly resign from daycare job in August. I need to put the children’s well being first . Would I qualify for disability?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kathi,

      Assuming that you have been paying Social Security taxes on your self-employment income, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability. Your age and single occupation for the last twenty years could be in your favor given the limitations you describe. When you file a claim, be very specific about the duties you can’t perform safely. (If you failed to pay taxes and are not insured for Social Security, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability.

      I note that you say you are going to resign from your daycare job, but you do not say you are going to close the business. If you continue to work in it, for example, doing the bookkeeping and get income from the business, be sure you report that when you file your claim because that work activity and income will have to be assessed in relationship to determining whether you are disabled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  51. Rebekah Rowley says:

    After 6 surgeries I was diagnosed with a very rare kidney condition and had a 7th surgery removing my left kidney completely. I have been in extreme constant pain. I have had a Dr tell me I have a pinched nerve. I will be having an MRI done on my back to see what exactly is going on. I can’t stand for very long, sitting for just an hour without reclining back causes severe pain. Light house work is extremely hard. I haven’t slept in a bed for over a year because the pain is beyond extreme. I have tried hot baths, massages, heating pads, and raising my legs. Nothing helps. I have been on nerve blockers and muscle relaxers but they don’t help. The pain radiates down through my backside to top of my legs. It feels like someone is twisting my spine. Would I be wasting my time applying for disability? I still have to work because I am a single mother. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rebekah,

      If you are earning $1,130 gross per month or more, a Social Security disability claim will be denied because you are performing Substantial Gainful Activity.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  52. Veronica says:

    Hi,

    I’ve had gastric problems since I was 16. Now at 22 after over a year of not working I have returned to the work force part time. I was diagnosed with chronic colitis and have no diagnosis for chronic tenderness pain in my abdomen and chronic diarrhea. It is an on going case with my G.I specialist. Now I am finding simple things like water, to causing adominal pain and frequent bowel movements. Since I started working, I had to find a way to control my urges, so I have basically been starving myself in order to avoid bathroom tendencies. Due to this lifestyle I have been dehydrating myself constantly. So my question is, would I have to quit my job in order to apply for SSI? I make a little over $900 a month before taxes at my current job. And unfortunately I cannot quit for financial reasons. Will keeping this job until I get a decision cause a problem? With my condition do I have a chance?

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Veronica,

      You can file a disability claim now because your earnings are below $1,130 gross, which is usually considered substantial gainful activity. When filing your claim, claim either the date you last stopped work or if that job was less than six months, claim the earliest date before that in which you had a period of disability and include information abouthow long you have been treated for your conditions.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  53. Jennifer says:

    I’m a 46 years old female. I have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, subclavian steal syndrome, and I had to have a subclavian to carotid bypass. Now I also have nerve and muscle damage from the bypass.
    My questions are can I work and apply for SSDI Also do you think I will get SSDI ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      If you are able to work and earn $1,130 gross per month, you are not disabled as defined by Social Security law.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  54. Lynn Sizer says:

    Hello, I am a 53 year old that has been a Registered Nurse for 26 years. I have Neuro sarcoidosis and Ankalosing Spondylitis. From these autoimmune disorders I have had a multitude of problems consisting of multiple eye problem; Anterior and posterior Uvitis, post synicia with both pupils, cystic macular edema, vetrious detachment, glacoma, cataracts, iritis. Gastrointestinal problems; inflamatory colitis, multiple ulcers throughout the GI track. A non functioning spleen due to spleen infarction from the sarcoidosis. Spinal pain constantly from multiple bulging disc and the spondylosis. I often get flare up with tendinitis, glands swelling, lymph nodes swelling, joints painful and swelling. I have been on infusions every 6 weeks along with oral immunosuppressive medications and medication for muscle spasms that I take when I sleep. I was off work in early 2000 for 2 years and had applied for disability at that time, I was denied a few times then when I finally got back to work I was given a court date for my disability claim and was awarded full disability and back payed for 2 years. I ended up going bankrupt while I was waiting, sad thing , very difficult times. I was told that if I ever needed it again I would have to reapply. Now I have been off work for one month due to another bad flare up, my leg is numb with severe pressure pains and spasms that increase when I use it. I have a crutch cane to help but have to sit down often. I have increased blurred vision and increased spinal pain. My headaches have gotten better since I have been on new medication but the medication makes my fatigue increase. I did just get a release from the PAC may return to lite duty work but must be able to sit when needed. I and the PAC talked with my work and was told they have to check with workers comp because if something were to happen and I had an accident at work their workers comp premiums work go up. I offered to be on as a second nurse which we have some times and offered to come into do other duties that didn’t require fast paced walking for long periods. I have been using my PTO and was encouraged to file for FMLA. My Director of Nursing told me the only way she will schedule me is if I have a full release and can do all the required nursing duties, I asked about the nurse that is currently on lite duty and working there on crutches and was told she had a workers comp injury. So I am at a loss, I don’t know what to do and will run out of PTO soon, FMLA will not pay out any compensation. Do I have to get a doctors note stating I am disabled before I apply? I have had 2 doctors recently say that I should consider starting the process of applying and the HR person at my work also said I should consider starting the paper work, she even offered to help me fill them out! I try so hard to keep myself healthy and active, I take care of thousands of people within my career time that is what I do, I work hard as a charge nurse running the ER and acute / skilled care unit. I’m having a difficult time with this, I’ve offered to do some kind of help at work and they are not letting me, I will run out of PTO soon, I am the only one that supports me so I am confused if I should start paper work for disability and if I do would it be like last time where I ended up bankrupt and almost homeless before awarded the disability claim also don’t I need a doctor to say I’m disabled before I can apply. This is the first time I have written on one of these post things and could use a little advice other then the advice I’m getting from my boss, CEO and HR. I appreciate your time and any advice you may give. Thank you L.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lynn,

      I can’t predict whether or not you will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. If your limitations are similar to those you had when you were approved previously and they are expected to last twelve months, you may have a reasonable chance. The issue will be whether you have transferable skills that would let you work in another new occupation that was mostly sedentary. You might try consulting with a vocational rehabilitation firm to get an evaluation. If they are unable to identify other occupations, including other nursing occupations such as an office nurse or utilization nurse, it could be helpful to a claim. Also, I suggest that you check with your employer to see if you are covered by a short-term disability policy that would provide income while your claim is being processed.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  55. Laura says:

    For SSDI if applying with imflammatory arthritis, having decreased rom in weight bearing joints as well as others, and increased symptoms for the past several years. Still waiting to determine RA/PA or both. Are you able to offer any guidance on the process, or if it’s normal for it to take 4 months? The file was ready, then the DDS worker assigned saw that new diagnostics were ordered, stated had to request and give adequate time, even though the results weren’t needed to further process the claim. Worker stated CE wasn’t needed beginning of the month and still waiting to send the file to the physician.

    • Laura says:

      The day after it went to the physician, I called and a decision has been made. Decision will be sent in the mail is the response I was given, and they cannot give out the decision over the phone yet. Could you decipher any of this? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      It commonly takes from two to five months to get a medical decision. I can’t be sure what the claims examiner meant when she said “still waiting to send the file to the physician.” She might have meant that she has enough information to make a recommendation (approval or denial) for a staff physician to review but has not yet decided on the decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dorothy says:

        Question-
        1-do you just quit
        2- do you tell your doctor your quitting
        3-do you ask your doctor to put you on disability
        4-I don’t understand the process of leaving a job
        I have chronic pain and have had 2 short term leaves in 3 years and now am allowed to take off up to 3 days a month per Doctor note
        Thank you

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Dorothy,

          I recommend discussing your situation with an experiencedSocial Security attorney so that you can go into more detail about your situation and get an informed professional opinion. Most attorneys will provide an initial free consultation. It could also be a good idea to discuss with your doctor whether or not he or she thinks you are unable to work. Lastly, it is possible to file a claim while working if you are earning less than $1,30 gross per month.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  56. Angela anderson says:

    I am 37..I have type 2 diabetes, neuropathy, pcos, severe depression, bi polar, diabetic retinopathy and thyroid disorders.. I have worked since I was 15 years old but now I can hardly do anything..I work answering phones and odd jobs for a company because they felt sorry for me but they told me its time to apply for disability. I make 300 monthly before my taxes come out..can I apply and still work

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angela,

      Yes, you can apply for benefits while working because you are grossing less than $1,130 monthly. I suggest that your employer write a statement for your claim saying that they recommended you apply for disability and describe the problems you are having on the job that led to that recommendation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  57. Gary Morris says:

    Hi. I’m in an interesting situation. I am 44 years old and I have worked all my life. I have been diagnosed with diabetes and I have severe joint, foot and back pain as well as chronic fatigue. I struggle to do my daily routine of job and home life. How does one go about proving that they are disabled if they are still working?

    Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gary,

      Social Security’s definition of disability is the inability to perform substantial gainful activity for a period of at least twelve months. If you are working and earning $1,130 gross per month, the work is considered substantial and you are not eligible. To apply successfully, you need to either stop work or reduce work to below $1,130 gross monthly.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Gregory says:

        Hi Kay, I recently filed for disability in November 2015 and my case is pending. I have stage 4 congestive heart failure. My question is that I need some kind of income to keep from loosing everything I have so if I work temporarily for a couple of weeks and stay under the sga limit will my claim be denied because I am working?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Gregory,

          If you work below substantial gainful activity level (SGA), the work likely will not affect your claim.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  58. Joy says:

    I am 55 years old and have spent 20 years in office work as a typist and spend most of my days entering Data. It began approx 10 years ago – suffering from bi- lateral carpal tunnel and bi-lateral epicyondilitis resulting in 4 surgeries(Both wrists and both elbows). I returned back to work approx 1.5 years after all of the surgeries and have struggled for years with continued pain. My hands, wrists, arms and elbows continued to deteriorate and in the past two years I have developed large synovial and calcification nodules on my the back of my hands from severe tendonitis, burning and numbness from my elbows to my fingers, swelling, heat and bi-medial epicondylitis. I have been treated for the last 2 years for all these conditions with steroids, cortisone injections, anti inflammatory medication, PT and lyrica for the burning with no success. Today my DR. scheduled me for another elbow surgery, as well as a procedure called PRP, to be performed on my wrists and hands. He said that I need to stop working or I will continue to loss range of motion in my extremities, deformed hands and severe arthritis. I work for a public school and we do not participate in NJ SDI. Would I be eligible for SSD? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank J.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joy,

      You may qualify medically for Social Security Disability, making you eligible for benefits if you have worked enough in the last ten years. I suggest that you file a claim as soon as you cease work. If you qualify financially, you can also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at the same time. Additionally, I suggest that you check to see if your school has its own short-term disability (STD) policy through a private insurance company. If so, the STD benefits will help tide you over during the two to five months it can take to get Social Securityand/or SSI claim decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Joy says:

        Thank you for that information Kay. Unfortunately my school does not have its own STD policy so I will have to sort out the lack of income while I await a decision from Dept of SS. I assume that regardless of whether my surgeon/physician has instructed me that I need to stop working that it is not a guarantee of benefits and I could still be denied, correct? Thank you for your help.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Joy,

          Denial is always possible, but the information you provided would indicate that you have a reasonable possibility for approval if you are thorough with your application.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  59. Diane says:

    I am a hairdresser I’m 43 Ive suffered from debilitating migraines for years they’ve become more frequent and intense recently and I can’t do my job because I get blind and numb and then have a throbbing headache for days with extreme exhaustion. Mri shows no masses or tumors which is great, Do I qualify for any type of disability?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Diane,

      You may be eligible for Social Security Disability. I suggest that you file a claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  60. Heather Beer says:

    Hi Kay,

    I have a unique situation. I work full time and make more than $1,130 gross. I have PCOS. I am morbidly obese. Because of the PCOS I have severe anxiety and depression among other things. I have started looking into SSI. This was what I was hoping to do, I was hoping you could give me some insight. I was wanting to apply for SSI but I can’t quit my job until I find out whether I would be approved for SSI because my husband and I can’t afford that. However, the reason I am wanting to apply for SSI is because my health is spiraling and I want to try and get it on track. Is there a way to apply for benefits with the “intention” of resigning from my job IF I qualify for benefits?

    Thank you.

    • Heather Beer says:

      P.S.

      All of the health issues I’m having also lead to a horrible immune system and me missing a ton of work. I’ve missed approximately 80 hours since the beginning of this year 🙁

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Heather,

        Please see my previous reply. Maybe with the number of hours you have been missing, you are earning less than $1,130.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heather,

      Any claim you make for either Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) while you are earning more than $1,130 gross per month will be denied. So, you either have to reduce your work hours or stop work to have a chance of being approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  61. Lara says:

    Dear Kay,..I’m 52 old,and I have just one question,,Im married and have together Bank account with my husband .We have more money over $3,000 ..What I do with that ,because I wanna aply for SSD? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lara,

      You can have any amount of assets and apply for Social Security Disability (SSD), which is paid based on your work history, not your financial need.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  62. SHELLY GLOWNEY says:

    Hi Kay,

    I am a 57 year old women with Rheumatoid, Psoriatic & Osteo arthritis. The meds I am on are very hard on my immune system and I get sick a lot, I have been a supervisor in retail for 25 years, my job includes breaking down pallets, working out load, lifting, kneeling, on my feet 95% percent of each day. I simply can’t do my job anymore, I am retiring in May with a $500 a month pension and medical insurance. My husband and I are selling our house in California and moving to Ohio because of me not being able to do my job anymore, my husband will be getting his SSI (he is 62) but I can’t live on $500 dollars a month and I am not trained to do anything else what are my chances for getting permanent SSI?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shelly,

      It is possible that you might be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI). You can apply as soon as you either stop work or drop your gross earnings to below $1,130 a month. Information about filing an application can be found in the articles under the Apply for SSD tab on the navigation bar at the top of this web page.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      (Your husband is receiving Social Security retirement, not SSI, which is Supplemental Security Income.)

  63. Alesia Bracey says:

    I am a 54 year old and I have a couple of health problems that are causing me to miss a lot of days from work. I’m currently dealing with IBS, Diverticulitis, high blood pressure and vertigo. The medicines that the doctor prescribed for me oftentimes make me so sleepy that I cannot function, so I often don’t take it so I can go to work… I make about $900.00 a month on my job. At this time in my life I cannot afford to quit my job but my health is rapidly declining. My question is should I quit then file for SSI? If I am denied what do I do next? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alesia,

      If your $900 earnings are gross (before taxes), you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits without stopping work. It is possible to be approved for disability benefits with gross earnings of less than $1,130.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  64. Alina says:

    I have been on disability in the past because of anxiety problems, but returned to work about 4 years ago and have been working since, but about a month ago I started a new job I am very anxious again and I don’t know how much longer I am going to be able to old on to this job. I am making more than $1,109.00 I am very panicky at work and is very hard to stay focus and interact with my coworkers. I want to apply for benefits again at to recover and try again. I am also very scared to resign my job. Please I need your advice.

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alina,

      I suggest that before you resign you talk with your psychiatrist and/or therapist as soon as possible to see whether you can get the support you need to stay in your job, at least till you can change to one you are more comfortable in. If you do have to stop work, you can apply for Expedited Reinstatement because it has been less than five years since you stopped getting SSDI due to your work; however, Expedited Reinstatement can still take a couple months or more. (As an aside, note that SGA is $1,130 in 2016.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  65. Steve says:

    Hi, Thank you for all the advise you have given.

    I read through quite a lot of it and never saw my situation. So here it goes. I have an above knee amputation on my right side and a complete knee replacement on my left (basically from favoring my right leg I wore it out). Age 56, and still working for a government agency. I’m lucky I have a desk job part of the time, but I do struggle now that I’m older. I do not meet the current physical requirements of my work, I work in corrections. I am able to retire this year and hopefully continue to work in another less taxing field. And I will have a government pension. Big question: Can I apply for SSDI while on a pension? How would that work? Also note that my employer required that I paid the SSDI insurance, so that has been taken out of my checks over the years. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      You can apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) while receiving a government pension because the job is also insured for Social Security by your and your employer having paid taxes. However, to be eligible for SSDI, you must be unable to work in another, different occupation and it sounds as if you think that you can. If you have transferable skills to another occupation within your physical limitations and earn at least $1,130 gross a month, your claim will be denied. Although you are moving toward being an older worker and that is taken into consideration in evaluating your ability to start a new occupation, there is not guarantee your claim will be approved. That said, if you decide not to work longer in another occupation, it does not hurt to file a claim and get a formal decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Steve says:

        Thank you for the reply,

        I have a few more considerations, while I feel I have transferrable skills, most occupations will entail considerably more foot work and walking than I do
        now. I struggle some days with the amount of walking I do here working in the prison setting. And I’m unsteady as well. I was thinking of part-time work after I retire this summer. But will have to see how it goes. It is nice to know that my pension will not count against my earned income as I understand it, because I will not make enough to meet my insurance bill, hence why I will try to work part-time. My goal is to make about $1000.00 a month for the insurance and medical bills.

        Thanks again
        Steve

  66. David says:

    I was in a car accident 10 months ago, I had a private disability policy. My doctor released me to return to work. My disability insurance company had hired a advocate to file for ssi disability on my behalf. I received a letter from ssi disability few days before I was to return to work stating I was turned down. After working three days the first week I’m in constant pain in my hip, I had a broken femur which is aching after the three days. Both bones were broken in my right arm which aches and hurts constantly along with my broken wrist. I make well above the 1130 per month. I feel I have to work or I want be able to make my house payment or other bills which could cause me to lose my home, my question is can I work during the appeal process to avoid losing my home. Im in constant pain all day and barely holding on all day to keep from getting fired. Any direction would be greatly appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear David,

      If you were to continue to work during the appeals period without notifying Social Security and were approved medically, you would have to report the work at that time before you were paid. Your claim would be denied because you returned to work within less than twelve months of when you became disabled.

      If you stopped work because of your medical conditions while the appeal was pending and the work lasted less than six months, you could report it as an unsuccessful work attempt and the work might not keep you from being approved.

      If you were still working at the time of a positive medical approval decision was made, you would have to report the work and likely the claim decision would be reversed and the claim denied. If you were denied because of your work and then stopped within six months, you could file a second appeal for a hearing, which usually takes well over a year to resolve.

      As you can see, there are many “If this, then that” situations, so if you have an attorney for your appeal, I suggest talking with him or her about the situation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  67. Marisa says:

    I am at a crossroads at my job. I am a full time employee but have missed work and now I am basically attached to my desk. I am an inspector and the drives to different facilities are killing me, the walking the buildings and going up stairs if there is no elevator is excruciating. I have seen my pain management dr. for over 5 or more years. I know that because of my age everyone tells me that I will be denied social security disability benefits. If I leave my job in the next few weeks, how long will the process take for denial or approval. My last visit to the pain mgmt. was February 22. I told my Dr. that I am going to have to resign and he said that we could talk to a surgeon. I have already had surgery in June of 2006 and by December of 2006 had another MRI that showed more ruptured discs. I have stayed this long because of bills and such but this is the end of the road for me. I have to sit in pain while I am at my desk because of the medicines I am prescribed. I will become drowsy or loopy, therefore I have to stay in pain because I can not be found sleeping on the job. What can I do?

    Thank you,

    Marisa

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marissa,

      When you are no longer earning $1,130 gross a month, you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI). If your employer has a short-term disability policy, you can apply for that at the same time so that you have some income during the two to five months it takes to get a decision and during the five-month, unpaid waiting period after disability begins before benefits start.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  68. Kim says:

    Dear Kay,
    I am looking for some advise for my husband. He has myotonic dystrophy with significant muscle atrophy and chronic low back pain (related to loss of core muscle strength we think). He works for the federal government and has for many years. He is 53 years old. His muscle weakness had made working until retirement impossible. We know he is unable to continue for much longer. He is so fatigued he sleeps as soon as he gets home most days, and sleeps most of the day on his first day off. Over the past year he has missed many days of work, because he is just too exhausted to work. He is too tired to do almost anything anymore, His loss of muscle strength makes his work very difficult (he does repair work). He was just going to retire, but our financial advisor advised us that he won’t ever be eligible for disability. We contacted a lawyer, who can’t help us if he is working. We don’t know how to start down this path, but we both know that he can’t physically keep doing this anymore. Should we first start by having his neurologist give him working hour restrictions? We just don’t know what to do.
    Thanks for your input
    Kim

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      It would be good for your husband to talk to his neurologist about the work activity problems he is having. If he wants to try reducing his hours rather than stopping work and drops down to gross below $1,130 per month, he can file a claim. I would suggest that he talk to his employer to learn if he is eligible for a short-term or long-term disability benefit from his employer in the event aht he has to stop work or a partial benefit to partially replace wages lost due to dropping to part time. Such a policy could provide income while the Social Security claim is being processed and during the first five months of disability that are not paid by Social Security benefits. You can get more information about filing a Social Security claim under the “Apply SSD tab” on the navigation bar at the top of this web page.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  69. Heather says:

    Hi,

    I work full time doing payroll/benefits. While my job is not physically demanding it is still a hard job. Anyhow, I was recently diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) I am in the Chronic phase, treatment is helping but the side effects are horrible. I have extreme fatigue, pain all over all the time, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, muscle cramps and rashes. It is getting to be to much to work my “desk” job. I’m only 38 and have never had to contemplate social security disability before and it is kind of scary, but its getting to the point that I just don’t know if I can keep working. Any advise?

    I also read, (word for word)- that if you apply for disability benefits more than two years after you were diagnosed with leukemia or more than one year after stem cell transplant (whichever is later), SS will not find that you meet the leukemia listing (though you could be found to have met the listing for the first two or more years of you illness). Does this mean that I only have two years from the date of diagnosis to apply?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heather,

      Some claims are approved because a medical condition meets the listing, but most approved claims don’t meet the listing. The claim evaluation process consists of multiple sequential steps and meeting the listing is only one. So, no, you don’t need to wait to apply for benefits. You can apply as soon as you stop work or drop to part-time below $1,130 gross per month. You can get some detailed information about the evaluation process in the article “How Does the Social Security Administration Apply Social Security Disability Laws to Determine If I Am Disabled?” under the “Claims Process” tab on the navigation bar at the top of this web page.

      You might also check with your employer to see if you are covered by a short-term disability policy that would provide benefits while your Social Security claim is being processed and you are serving the five-month waiting period during which no Social Security is paid.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  70. Pixie says:

    Hello, what can I do if I have applied for disability 3 times, this third time, they told me i do not qualify because I don’t have enough Credits. I have not been able to keep a job due to my disability since I was 19, so If I have never been able to earn credits, how can they expect me to have any. Please help. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pixie,

      You can apply for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits to find out if your income and assets are within the limit for SSI payments. You can learn more about SSI by reading the articles under the “SSI” tab on the navigation bar at the top of this web page.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  71. vera says:

    Hallo Kay..I am 53 years old,and have much problem with my low back..I had MRI and diagnosis is lumbar herniated disc,lumbar degenerative disc disease,lumbar radialepaty.. this is hronicaly for 5 yeras ago.I working in the cleaning company..its hard job ..and i cant walk ,i cant siting or sliping..And i had many times panick atacks..and. i am so nervous.Now i am out of work for three monts ..What is my Chances for approv for SSDI? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vera,

      You may qualify for disability benefits. I suggest that you file a claim and be sure to mention all your illnesses and be sure that your medical records for all your conditions are obtained including medical records that document the lumbar radiculopathy. The articles under the “Apply for SSD” tab on the navigation bar at the top of this web page provide information to get started filing.

      If you are denied, request a copy of your claim file from Social Security and hire an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • vera says:

        Thank you for your reply,but I need more informations..How long I have to be out of worK that could apply for SSDI? My doctor said after 6 month and some lawyers said ..”You can apply asap”..And now I am confused..I have one more question ..for my first applicatin for SSDI may I ask for help from the lawyer or no..and who take my medical record ..me or people from SSDI? Thank you very much1

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Vera,

          Benefits begin the sixth full calendar month after disability begins, but you can and should apply right away if you are expected to be disabled for twelve months or more. Social Security will request your medical records in most cases if they think they need them. If you want to be sure they are submitted, you can get them and submit them yourself.

          You can retain an attorney for your initial claim and should if your condition is complex. That said, many attorneys won’t take a new claim until it is denied because they are paid out of back pay and there may be no or little back pay if a claim is filed quickly after disability begins.

          When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge, and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  72. Tina says:

    I have been on disability for 2 months and returned to work. Unfortunately my condition is getting worse. I have two questions:
    1. Can my doctor re-instate the original claim with EDD?
    2. What happens if between now and when I see my doctor, the company lays me off? Am I still able to get the same amount of pay on EDD? Am I still able to claim the Disability?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tina,

      Please tell me what EDD means as you refer to it; the abbreviation can stand for several different things. Once I know, I will try to respond.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  73. Zymaria says:

    Hello,

    I’ve been getting ssi for almost 2 yrs from a mental condition. I’m expecting my 2nd child this year and I applied for a seasonal greeting job which will only be for a few months and is part time. Am I risking the loss of my benefits entirely? Also should I tell the ssa and what will hapen if I don’t.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Zymaria,

      You do need to report your work. If you are getting SSI (Supplemental Security Income), your SSI benefit will be reduced by half of your earnings over $85 a month. If you earn $1,090 gross or more per month, you may no longer be considered disabled. If your earnings are below that and you are ineligible for less than twelve months, you may be able to reinstate benefits by reporting that your work has ended.

      If you are receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability), you will be entitled to a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) during which benefits continue unreduced. You can learn more about SSDI and SSI work incentives in the Red Book, which is available at http://www.ssa.gov and in your local Social Security office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  74. donavan castle says:

    i live in Oklahoma, and i have been diagnosed with severe emphysema and COPD. i currently work 40 hours a week, but its getting harder to get thru each day,because of the work im doing, i deliver office furniture, and its getting harder to keep up with the work, because im always out of breath and can barely keep up. im currently only making 1440.00 gross each month, about 1120.00 after taxes, im thinking of going to part time because its all just getting to much for me,i have no family left that could help and im afraid im going to lose my job because of my condition, ive been told that i would have to quit my job in order to apply for disability, but if i did that i would be completely homeless, so i have no chose but to work,can i apply for disability in oklahoma while im still working and if not how do they expect a person to survive.and pay there bills, i am 50 years of age.and im about to lose my job because of my condition, the doctors have told me that i have severe emphysema and COPD is that even reason enough to get disability and if so what is it that i need to do to get my disability started and what should i do in order to just survive intill im able to get disability, any of your advise would be greatly appreciated thank you for your time with this matter, sincerely, D Castle…….

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Donovan,

      You can apply for benefits while you are still working if you are earning less than $1,090 gross per month. It takes two to five months for a claim to be processed. If your entire work history for the last fifteen or twenty years has been heavy work, you might be eligible. If you have worked in light or sedentary work in the past, you might not be considered disabled if you have the ability to work is less physically demanding work. The only way to know for sure is to file a claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • cat says:

        hi kay,

        I am so impressed how responsive you are to everyone here. thanks for doing this.

        I wanted to let you know that you are using the 2015 figure. in 2016, it is $1,130.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Cat,

          Yes, thank you. I just became aware of that. Looking back many years, SGA has not gone up when there has been no cost-of-living increase (as this year); and, in fact, the non-blind SGA did not go up in 2016. However, I researched and a different regulation provides a complex formula for determining SGA for non-blind individuals. Circumstances aligned this year for it to go up even though there was no COLA. The figure will soon be changed in the articles on the site.

          While some of the Social Security information you gave was correct, not all wa, and while your ideas on obtaining medical care, etc., which you posted in other comments are helpful, this site is not set up for individuals to give advice to other individuals. Accordingly, I did not approve posting your other comments. I did read them and will suggest resources that you suggested that I have not thought of (care from teaching hospitals, for example.)

          Thank you for caring enough to want to help others.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  75. Steve says:

    Hi Kay

    I was diagnosed with Mrsa jan 2015. I switched jobs to better my situation in may 2015. Unfortunately a month later another mrsa outbreak hit me and i was fired. I filed with eeoc and everything but i guess my question is this. I have mrsa for life. I was getting outbreaks every 2 months for a stretch. I am working now but that is only because they do not know i have it. Im too afraid if i let people know the same thing that happened with my previous employer will happen again. If i god forbid have another outbreak i may not be able to hide it. Do i file now even though i make way more a month than what is allowed or wait till what i know will eventually happen? I will have an outbreak, be treated again like i have aids and be fired. This “super bug” is ruining my life

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      You will be denied if you are working and earning more than $1,090 gross per month. If you become unable to hold a job because of your medical and don’t work in a job more than three months or so, when you apply, claim the last date you were in a job longer than six months and list all work after that as unsuccessful work attempts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  76. Sheba Bruton says:

    I was wondering if I could apply for disability why I’m still working. I was in special when I was in school. I only finish to the 7th grade I’ve had 3 mini strokes and I’m on medication for anxiety and I work part time I make probably about 900 month. I’m 53 yes old Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sheba,

      With gross earnings of less than $1,090, you can apply for disability benefits while working.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • caren helmich says:

        I am thirty eight. Ive done heavy lifting my whole life. My back is gone to the point my back locks up sometimes when i walk. I am having internal issues possible cancer involing my collin or pancrease three months ago i was getting into my car and my feet both unhinged on me and i had a grade three sprain on both feet. Ive been out of work three months now. I also have mental issues ive been in three abusive relationships in my life. And chiodhood trama. I am at the point i feel like my body is betraying me and my mind isnt far behind. I am in the process of applying for disability. I want to know how long will my process take for disability. Can i work part time hours. My feet are so bad i cant work the long hours i used to. I really dont know what i can handle anymore. Can you offer some advise kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Caren,

          After you submit all paperwork for your claim, it can take from two to five months for the claim to be processed. You can work part time and still be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) if your work earnings are less than $1,090 gross per month. If you start work while your claim is pending, be sure to report the work to Social Security.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  77. Pink says:

    Hi Kay,

    I’m 31y/o and was approved in the 1st month. I have HS in my down south region (scrotum) and I’ve had multiple back surgeries and go see a pain dr regularly to get nerve blocks and such, also I have Learning disabilities so office jobs aren’t so easy…all that combined is why I feel I was approved.
    So my question is they said they would review me after 1yr and I will loose my job in that time frame (I make about 50k year) my down south region has flare ups but nothing is able to determine when this will happen except it happens more in the heated months. If my dr releases me can I stay on disability to help keep this under control or are my odds of them denying me after a review greater even tho I do have back problems? I’m so afraid of loosing my job and not being able to get one to compensate what I’m used to again but honestly I can’t handle my job anymore due to the scrotum pain and the sever back pain I’m in
    I need help and guidance and my dr suggested I just stick with the disability but doesn’t understand I will loose my job if I stay out that long just to be denied continuance after the intital year I was given

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pink,

      I need more information to respond.

      1.What date did Social Security establish as your date of disability?
      2. When were you approved?
      3. Does your doctor anticipate releasing you to return to work or are you requesting release?
      4. Am I correct in understanding that you are on a leave of absence that will end on a certain date? If so, what is the date?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Pink says:

        I was established june, 15 and approved in November, 15
        I go to a wound clinic so the dr will be releasing me from there
        My work said if I’m not back by the 1st of the year they will let me go
        I don’t want to loose my job and not find one comparable again, but my pain levels due to a previous back surgery are horrible and I’m lost as to if I would be approved for a renewal of SSDI or if I need to fight to be released back to work and try my hardest to deal with the pain

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Pink,

          You have a hard decision to make. I suggest that you talk with your doctors and get their opinion on your ability to work now and their opinion on how much you might improve within a year. The information they provide might help you with the decision.

          I can give you some general information:

          1. If your symptoms haven’t improved appreciably since June and are about the same in a year, your benefits are likely to continue.
          2. If you return to work in January, you will not be eligible for any benefits because you must be disabled for a year to be eligible for any benefits.
          3. If you return to work and cannot continue because of pain levels and work less than three months–in some cases, lees than six and you stop work because of your same medical condition, you could apply again claiming the June date and listing the January return to work as an unsuccessful work attempt.
          4. If you also have a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim and have already been paid, you likely will have to refund what you have received.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  78. Mandy says:

    I am a 44 yo teacher & this is my 10th yr. I had surgery 3x in 2009 with all kinds of hardware. I have constant pain and have several epidurals a year to numb the pain. I pulled something in my back the week before we got out for thanksgiving. I love my job, but I’m worried about messing up my back even worse. What are my options with disability? I do have disability insurance.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mandy,

      Your insurance policy probably initially requires that you only be disabled from your teaching occupation. You can get a copy of the policy and read the definition of disability. Social Security requires that you be disabled from all occupations that you could perform if you did not have medical limitations and that the disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year. You need to decide whether either of those situations applies. You might also talk with your doctor to see if he or she supports temporary disability from teaching or permanent disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Crystal says:

        Dear Kay, I’m 25 years old and am in severe pain everyday I just found out I have a hole in my heart and on top of that my arteries are extremely hardened the way a older persons would be that has been smoking their entire life and yet I don’t smore or ever did because of this I have severe pain in my legs I work part time in the Walmart deli and have went to the er 2 times this past week and I had to go home early because my body could not keep up with my work load now even when I walk short distances I am out of breath and have to take a break so my question to you is if whatever is going on with my arteries is still undiagnosed but it is confirmed that I have the hole in my heart can I qualify for social security I have two young kids and I’m worried I will loose my job and won’t be able to provide for them. I have had these issues for the last 4 months

        • Crystal says:

          I forgot to mention I started working in August of this year

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Crystal,

          I suggest that you talk with your cardiologist and inquire how long they think you might continue to have the symptoms you have now. If they don’t know or say it could be a year from when the symptoms started, you might qualify for Social Security or SSI disability if you are not now grossing $1,090 a month in your job. You might also consider trying to find a job that you can perform seated that is not so exerting.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  79. Jennifer sexton says:

    i am 52 years old and have been diagnosed with advanced cirrhosis of the liver from alcoholism. I have been on Unpaid FMLA leave for the past 3 months. After my family doctor and GI doctor said I should cease working, my liver transplant doctor said that I could TRY to work 3 hours a day/3 days a week while I am awaiting a transplant. (I admit, I pleaded with him to allow me to work for financial reasons even though I wasn’t sure I would be able to perform my job) My HR director said that it is not enough hours to do my job adequately and gave me the choice of resigning or being terminated. If I resign will it affect my applications for STD, LDT, SSDI or Medicare? My work history has always been good but I feel as though my employer is trying to coerce me to resign. Please note that I have no plans on filing for unemployment, simply because I cannot foresee me being able to work until I get a transplant and recover sufficiently enough to be able to work. Additionally, does Cirrhosis of the liver qualify for SSDi compassion exemption? (Not sure is compassion exemption is correct terminology)

    Thanks,
    Jen

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      If you became disabled while insured for short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD), your eligibility for those benefits will not be affected by resignation or termination. Termination or resignation will not affect a Social Security Disability claim (SSDI) or eligibility for Medicare, but you have to receive twenty-four months of SSDI benefits before you will be eligible for Medicare. Cirrhosis of the liver is not on the compassionate allowance list. However, it might be expedited as a TERI (terminal illness) claim because you are awaiting a transplant.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tjh says:

        Kay:
        Am I wrong on this or not?
        Under Fmla protection she cannot be terminated or asked to resign?
        If she had Fmla hours available that day, she could have utilized them & went home & rested instead of being discriminated against !!!???

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear TJH,

          I cannot post advice from one visitor on the site to another. Also, I am not an expert on FMLA. Some general information, though, is that her employer may not be subject to FMLA laws depending on the number of employees the company has. Also, if she was in a critical position that has to be filled in her absence, her employment could be terminated based on an exception even if she did apply for FMLA.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  80. Kim says:

    Dear Kay, I was working full time but had to back down to part time. I have many disabilities from back pain , Hypothyroidism, ptsd, pcos, depression, anxiety, diabetes and the list goes on. I struggle daily to even move out of bed. If I do work someone’s shift of 40 hrs I normally end up extremely sick and miss days of work. Some months I make over 1099.00 aND some I don’t make that. I need to apply for disability, but I’m scared of being turned away. I cant remember much of yesterday and that affects my job. I’ve been told I’m out to much and that’s why I’m PRN. I want to work full time but my body just can’t do it. Would I even have half a chance at getting disability benefits. I’m a mother of three and stepmother to 4. I have to provide for my family.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      I cannot predict whether or not you will be approved. Probably the best way to find out is to keep your earnings below $1,090 and not take shifts that then cause you to miss work later. Once you decide to stay below $1,090 gross, file an application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  81. Kerri says:

    Dear Kay,

    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2007 and Epilepsy in 2013. I also have PTSD from being attacked by an inmate, in 2011, at work. Obviously, I work in a prison. It has come to a point that I can no longer physically or mentally do my job effectively. I make over the1,090 so I assume I would have to quit in order to apply for benefits. What kind of timeframe would I be looking at for approval? Or denial, I guess?

    Thank you, Kerri

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kerri,

      If you are able to work at all, you can apply for benefits if you reduce your hours to earning less than $1,090 gross per month. To be eligible, you have to be unable to perform other occupations that you could perform if you did not have the conditions you have. If you are in your fifties or sixties, your age is considered in evaluating your ability.

      It takes two to five months for a new claim decision and no Social Security benefits are paid for the first five full calendar months of disability. If your income and assets are below the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limits, benefits begin to accrue the month after application except if you apply on the first of the month in which case benefits begin with the month of application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  82. I am 46 years old and have recently been diagnosed with lesions on my brain that are affecting my memory, balance and speech. My doctor wants me to stop working because my symptoms are deteriorating rapidly and affecting my work and home life. I don’t have any disability or 401K through work. Can I continue to work while applying? If so, is there an amount that I can’t go over? Trying to get this done before I can’t do it.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angela,

      You can apply for benefits while working if your gross wages each month are less than $1,099. (Note that if you are paid weekly or bi-weekly, you will have an extra paycheck either every three months or every six months and you need to be below the limit those months, too.) If you apply while working, claim your first day of reduced hours as your disability date. Social Security does not pay the first five full-calendar months of disability and the five months will start the month after you drop your hours. If you have to stop work while your claim is pending and have income and assets below the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limits, when you stop work, file an application for SSI right away because it pays from the month after application.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  83. john says:

    Dear kay,

    I have recently had my disability hearing. An EOD was determined just minutes before the hearing of 24 months, and I agreed to that versus a full hearing and possibly a better or worse outcome. It has been 28 months since I filed, so I guess 24 months retro pay is very good. My concern now is getting some work that I can physically do and bring in 5 or 6 hundred a month to cover my bills. Can I do some work well under the SGA and not compromise the judges decision? They say it takes 2-4 months after the hearing to get the judges final decision and process the paperwork. But I don’t want to screw things up and yet I need some monies to cover my expenses. Any thoughts?
    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      What you decide to do is a judgement call. If you had an attorney, I recommend discussing possible work with the attorney. My input is that, in theory a small amount of work after being disabled for twelve months should not affect the approval; however, you can not be sure how the judge would regard it. If it were my claim I would wait until you have the written approval. Again, if you had attorney assistance, it would be best to discuss the matter with your attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • john says:

        Dear Kay,
        Thanks for answering my question. Also, given that the SSA holds the first 5 months of a SSDI claim; will I receive an SSI payment for those 5 withheld months of SSDI? I did file for SSI as well as SSDI. My attorney mentioned that I MAY receive those five months of SSI, but I would like to hear it from a second knowledgeable source as well. Provided I am eventually approved of course.
        Thanks, John

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear John,

          SSI does not pay retroactive benefits for months before application. If any of the five months occur after the month of your SSI application and your income and assets are below the limits in those months, you will be paid SSI for those months.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  84. Laura says:

    Hello I am curious on disability I recently fell down the stairs and I broke my right ankle and four spots and had a plate and eight pins put in it and I have a pin on each side of my ankle holding my ankle together I also broke my left foot and my little toe and I have a ride in a pin holding it together I am in so much pain all the time swelling and it’s always discolored I’m going in for A nerve conduction test but I cannot afford to quit my job and I do work 40 hours but at the end of the day I have to sit with ice and heat because I could no longer walk and I need to do this to pay my bills and my able to keep my job until disability lets me know if I can get it because if not I wouldn’t be able to live and the doctors are thinking I have a blood flow problem and nerve damage because there was so much damage done to my foot and my ankles and like I said at the end of the day I can’t walk curious on the disability aspects of this thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      You will be denied disability as long as you are working and earning $1,090 gross per month or more. If you stop work and apply, to be approved, depending on your age, you have to be unable to work in other occupations, not just the one you are in now. For example, if you have the ability to work in a sedentary occupation that requires little or no standing, you might not be approved. If you do have to stop work, check to see whether your employer or state has short-term disability insurance that would cover you during the time it takes to get a Social Security Disability (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim processed, which is two to five months. Also, Social Security benefits are not paid for the first five full calendar months of disability.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  85. SHERRIE says:

    I am still working full time and make over $1090, but I am unable to keep up with the demands of my job. My employer has not reduced my workload, but cusses me out for not getting it done. I have a late stage Non Small Cell Lung cancer with metastases to the lymph nodes diagnosis. does it really matter that I am still working? It is only a matter of time before my employer fires me for being so far behind.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sherrie,

      You can apply for benefits at the point you stop working or your earnings drop below $1,090 gross per month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  86. Crystal says:

    i am working full time right now I was part time but my employer put me back to full time because I was told she didn’t need part time people I don’t make 1090.00 even with working full time. I have been suffering with bad depression and anxiety for more then 2 years and want to go back to part time. I cry at least once a day at work and have trouble getting my job done I have been on a lot of different medicine and nothing has helped can I get help through disability for depression and anxiety

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Crystal,

      Disability means the inability to perform substantial gainful activity, which is usually $1,090 gross wages (wages before taxes) or net self-employment per month. Working full time and earning less than $1,090 gross wages creates an unclear situation because it raises the question of whether you have the physical and mental ability to work full time in another occupation or for a different employer and earn more than $1,090. Whether or not you file an application to get a claim decision, I suggest that you get counseling since medications aren’t helping you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Stephen jones says:

        Hi my name is Stephen I wanted to find out if I make less than 1,090 and I also I have epilepsy And have seizures would I qualify for disability

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Stephen,

          You may be eligible for benefits. It will depend on how much your seizures limit you. I suggest that you apply if you are earning less than $1,090 gross wages because of your health. You need to be prepared to explain how your seizures keep you from being able to work more.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  87. Alyssa Greek says:

    Hello Kay,

    My husband has been diagnosed with End Stage Degenerative Joint Disease and needs a new hip but we can’t afford the copay, even though he does have insurance. The Doctor told him that without a new hip he won’t be walking much longer. He is currently working, and does make more than the qualifying amount, but we don’t know how much longer he will be able to keep his job as he is in imminent danger of losing it because of his reduced mobility. We are literally one step away from public assistance. We have no savings and no way to come up with money for a new hip, and without it, he will be confined to a wheelchair in the near future, not to mention the constant and chronic pain associated with the condition. Do you have any advice? He certainly can provide medical documentation supporting his claim. If he loses his job will he qualify for disability? He was told that he would have to be unemployed for a year to qualify. There is no way our family could survive w/o his income… please advise.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alyssa,

      To be eligible for Social Security, a person has to be disabled or be expected to be disabled for a year. The first five months of disability are not paid. If the claim has been processed in time and the person is expected to be disabled for a year, benefits can start as early as the sixth full-calendar month after disability began. The Social Security Administration also administers Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If medically disabled benefits begin to accrue with the first month after application; however it can take two to five months for the medical evaluation and decision to be completed.

      I am not aware of a source that would pay your husband’s co-pay, but you could try contacting the Easter Seal Foundation to see if they have any ideas. The only other idea I have is perhaps your family can gradually save up the co-pay.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  88. Gary says:

    Hello Kay,
    While I was applying for disability, due to loss of my eye from cancer, (as well as getting laid off from my former job) I did light freelance work from home to try and make ends meet. I was awarded disability, and just after I received the award letter, I received a check that was for work done in July and August. It was a single check for two invoices, and combined was 1370.00. I have the paperwork that shows that the single check is actually for 2 invoices. Will I have a problem going forward, as this looks like it exceeds the 1090.00 rule? The work was intermittent, and the single check does not equal a single months work. I am not working at all now. I am thinking of returning the check, as I don’t want to have a problem.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gary,

      Report the work to the Social Security Administration. Show the check and the two invoices for two months work. Also write a statement about the kind of work you did and that you did it from home and also about the work’s being earned in two different months.There should not be a problem; the two months should count toward your nine-month trial work period.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  89. Lenkia says:

    I have had ms for about 17 years. Now it is starting to take a toll on me . I am supposed to work 40 hours a week, but every week I end up missing at least 2 days out the week or more because of the pains in my body and mentally I cry all the time. I work in a customer service type job. Will I qualify for disability if my boss cut me part time to 2 or 3 days a week

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lenkia,

      If you are only able to work part-time and earn less than $1,090 per month gross per month, you can file an application while you are still working. Whether or not you are approved will depend on whether the evidence you submit supports you cannot work and earn more than part-time of less than $1,090.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  90. Chad says:

    I stopped working and applied for SSD in November of 2014 due to complications from Fibromyalgia. I was denied at initial and reconsideration, and am waiting on appeal. In the meantime I had to go back to work part time due to financial issues. I’m making more than $1090/month; however, I was just diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, which qualifies as a compassionate allowance.

    How do you think my situation will play out?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chad,

      You do not say when you returned to work or how long you have worked or whether you have to (or had to) stop due to your apparently worsening symptoms. The part-time work will be treated as an unsuccessful work attempt if it lasts (or lasted) less than three months. In some cases working lasting less than six months is treated as an unsuccessful work attempt. If it is, it is possible that your claim could be approved with the November 2014 onset date.

      If your work doesn’t qualify as an unsuccessful work attempt or it it is determined that you were not disabled in November 2014 and that your condition worsened and you became disabled at some later date, your claim will be based and paid on that later date. Be sure to get the new medical information to the hearing office. Also, if you had the condition all along and it wasn’t diagnosed, see if you can get your doctor to write up a statement to that effect.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  91. jen says:

    My husband has ESRD. He continued to work for one year after starting dialysis, but ended up in the hospital after having a heart attack and mini stokes. He applied for disability at this point 12-14. We were just told, a week ago, he has been approved for disablity. So when can he try to resume working? We were thinking one or two days a week. He is a CNA and he needs to work a certain amount of time to keep his license, plus his medical leave is up in the end of October, so he could lose his employer. I am worried though that he will lose his disability, which we have not even received first payment for, because he is also on a transplant list and when that happens he will be unable to work at all for a few months.
    Am I reading it correctly, that he could work one day a week and continue with his disability even though it is just starting?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jen,

      As long as your husband’s gross earnings are less than $1,090 a month, his starting to work should not affect his benefits ongoing. He should explain the physical requirements (lifting, etc.) for his job and ask his doctor about returning to work before doing so.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  92. Kaitlin says:

    I have Charcott Marie Tooth disease. I wear leg braces on both legs and the disease is now affecting my hands. Working full time even at my desk job is incredibly painful. My doctor has said she would fill out any paperwork needed and would write me a letter recommending disability benefits. I’m wondering if I cut back to part time work while I’m going through the application process if it will hurt my changes of getting approved? I would be making less that $1,090 a month. I just can’t handle working anymore due to pain and fatigue but my family can’t survive if I don’t have any money coming in while I’m going through the approval process.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kaitlin,

      You can potentially be approved while working and earning less than $1,090 gross per month. On the application, say that you dropped to part-time because of your pain levels and your inability to work more hours and that it is very difficult for you and you don’t know how long you will be able to keep it up, which, if I understand you correctly, is the situation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Yes I had a lumbar fusion in 2010 I returned to work and I feel I really did not recover properly the back surgeon did not want to see me after a 28000 operation day surgery and incapacitated for 3 month with this a roll of car accident returned to work a week later in 2013 I don’t know I am a diabetic type 2 insulin dependence for 8 years I just got on a plan at work but lifting groceries and on my feet for 8 hours

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Darleen,

          If you have a question, let me know and I will try to respond.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Lenny says:

            I worked for a township DPW for 33 years and had a accident while pulling on a winch on a chipper it kicked in reverse and I went about 10 hitting the back of my head the result 3 separate cervical fusions and the Dr gave me a few restrictions and with that I was terminated from my job I’m 53 years old can I approved for SS Disability

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Lenny,

            Given that you have been in the same occupation for the past thirty-three years and you are in your fifties, there is a possibility that you could be approved. I suggest that you file a claim to get a formal determination. Submit the restrictions statement from your physician and anything else that was submitted for your workers compensation claim.

            Oh, one other detail, you have to be insured for Social Security; some public employers opted out of Social Security. So, check your pay stubs to see if you were paying FICA taxes for Social Security coverage.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  93. Tony says:

    If I’m currently waiting on my disability can I work a 10 day outage job for $5000 without getting a denial on my ssdi claim

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tony,

      There is no clear-cut answer to your question. Ordinarily, work limited in duration that ends because of a person’s disability is treated as an unsuccessful work attempt. What you are describing is a situation in which you will stop working only because the job itself was limited in duration. If you can work ten days and earn $5,000, it may be determined that you are not disabled. However, if you have a very severe condition (extreme examples are total blindness or paraplegia), you may be considered disabled anytime you are not actually working.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  94. tom barnett says:

    hello. i have been collecting ssdi since 2008. i received a letter saying i may not be considered disabled anymore becaused i made too much money working parttime as a school bus driver. i am 65. can i apply for social security while i’m on ssdi waiting for a decision as to if i’m still disabled. i figure i might as well collect social security seems i may lose my disability payments.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tom,

      If you have not yet been notified in writing that your benefits will be terminated or suspended with a specific termination or suspension date, there is no need to apply for retirement benefits. If on the other hand benefits have been or are in the future terminated or suspended because you are performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is usually earning $1,090 gross per month, then applying for slightly reduced Social Security could be a good idea. (Information about how earnings affect disability eligibility and about Social Security’s work incentives can be found in the Red Book online at http://www.ssa.gov or at your local Social Security office.)

      Full, unreduced Social Security Retirement is paid at full retirement age, which for you would be age sixty-six. At full retirement, you can earn any amount. Prior to full retirement the current annual earnings limit is $15,720 gross per year. If you exceed that amount, then your annual retirement benefits will be reduced one dollar for each two dollars you are over the limit. Also, special rules apply for the first year of retirement

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  95. Jeanette says:

    Hi,

    I need advice, please.

    I’m 28 years old. I quit my full-time cleaning job abruptly last month and applied for disability. I found out I’m only eligible for SSI. I quit due to (chronic) major depression and severe general/social anxiety, though thats not the extent of my mental illness. I have a history of calling out of work and eventually quitting jobs due to my problems.

    I live with my mom. Already I’m beginning to look for work again because there has been some relief, however, not contributing and being dependent on my family is quite depressing and anxiety inducing in itself.

    I would like to try to find a small part-time job (making well under $1,090), but I am concerned with how it will affect my claim, especially since I haven’t yet received a decision from SSA.

    I am also confused as to how working a similar job I have previously worked (retail or cleaning) may hurt me, even if now it would be part-time… ??

    Currently I am waiting on my medical assistance card so I can get into treatment and eventually find a lawyer. In addition I’m looking for a job with little social interaction, short hours, and fewer days to keep from overwhelming me.

    Any advice is appreciated. Thank you so much

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jeanette,

      Your question does not have a simple answer because many things are weighed when work after a claimed disability date is evaluated. Your going back to working in the same field, though reduced hours, could have more impact than trying to work in a new field. So, I can’t give you advice on whether to give it a try or not.

      I will provide a bit of general information. First is that substantial gainful activity (SGA) is usually considered to be $1,090 a month gross wages or net self-employment; and if a person is performing SGA, the person is not disabled. SSI also considers income. For example A person earning $800 a month who is approved for SSI and has no other income will have a reduction of about $357 from the maximum $733 benefit paid to individuals with no other countable income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  96. SHERRIE says:

    I was diagnosed with stage IIIB-4 (Drs. disagree), inoperable, metastatic lung cancer, May 6, 2013. I have worked the whole time and the cancer is stable and has been for 9 months, but I find I physically and particularly mentally cannot keep up with the pace of my job any longer. I cannot afford to just quit. My question is; I know I possibly qualify because of a Compassionate Allowance, due to the “terminal” nature of my condition, but could I qualify while still working. As I said, I cannot afford to just quit and have no income, so I’d like to qualify for my disability for sure before I quit my job. And yes, I make over $1090 per month.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sherrie,

      As long as you are working and earning $1,090 gross wages or more, you are not considered disabled and a claim would be denied. You might check with your employer to find out whether you are covered by a short-term disability policy that would provide income while you pursue a Social Security Disability claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  97. Eric says:

    Ok, I’ve got Depression and Anxiety and recently been diagnosed with Degenerative Arthritis in my left knee as the result of improperly healed Meniscus surgery.

    The job I have right now I’ve been there for coming up on 4 months. My highest pay month was alittle over $600 and they will only get smaller. Small company with, honestly, too many employees. So the orders are getting done quicker and quicker. Unfortunately the job requires ALOT of kneeling, which has become a large part of the problem and a contributing factor in my knee not healing right. Cleared to return to work too soon. Between that, and my wages being garnished has started to make my depression worse. Worse to the point I’ve physically gotten sick at the thought of going to work.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Eric,

      If you think you are working at full capacity, you can file for disability benefits while still working because your gross earnings are below $1,090. However, you must be disabled not only from the occupation you are doing now but also other occupations you have done in the past and any new occupations that you are qualified for. (If you are age fifty or over, your age in taken into consideration in determining whether you can transition to a new occupation.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Michelle says:

        I was in a major car accident 12 years ago, I flew out of my car and hit the pavement at 40 mps, I have not worked since. My family has been paying my living expenses but money is getting tight as they get older. So I’m going to apply, if I try to work from home, considering I’m sensitive to light and noise would I still be eligible. I don’t have enough work credits as this happened when I was very young. All I have is the original hospital records of the accident and I see my regular primary physician for my medication. Do I have a chance, I can’t survive if I don’t and my short term memory is pretty much gone.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Michelle,

          I suggest that you ask your primary care doctor to assess or refer you for assessment of whatever is causing the symptoms that you believe keep you from working and earning at least $1,090 gross wages or net self-employment per month. A cognitive evaluation could be especially helpful if your memory problems are keeping you from working. As far as working from home, any earnings will be considered the same as if you were working on the employer’s job site.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  98. Tony Rhodes says:

    ok, long story short. 60 years old, 40% disabled from VA, retired National Guard. I am a clinical nurse manager for large in-patient hospital unit. My hearing is assisted with hearing aids but my hearing is so bad that I cannot understand a lot of what is said. My employer is getting tired of having a manager that can’t hear and makes mistakes. I want to apply for SS disability but can’t afford to quit and lose what I have. Can I file for SS with the issues laid out while working? I make about 74K a year at work.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tony,

      While you continue to work and earn $1,090 gross or more per month, any claim for Social Security Disability would be denied. Given that you work for a large entity, there is a reasonable possibility that you are covered by a short-term disability (STD) insurance policy, which would pay benefits during the time Social Security processes your claim and during Social Security’s unpaid waiting period, which is the first five, full calendar months of disability. Your employer may also have a long-term disability (LTD) policy that would pick up where the STD ended. (If you live in California, New York or Hawaii, your state has short-term state disability insurance (SDI).

      If you cease or reduce work and file an STD and/or Social Security claim, ask your employer to write up a statement about what he has observed on the job about your hearing and the mistakes you have made that led to your stopping work. When you file your Social Security claim, you need to also state why you can’t do any type of work that you have done in the past.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  99. Rick says:

    I am 58 years old will be 59 in February of 2016. I have worked for 39 years plus as a mechanic and now as a service advisor in the service department of a local auto dealership. I make around 35K per year but they have recently added an extra hour to my schedule per day and started to schedule vehicles in every 15 mintues which requires me to be on my feet much more. I have osteoarthritis with severe pain in my hips, knees, and ankles and swelling in my lower legs and feet that increases as the day wears on. I take medication for gout that somethimes gets so painfull if feels like a broken bone and I am on blood pressure meds with a diruetic every day. I have several discs out of place in my back and neck with pinched nerves that causes numbness and pain in my hands and arms. So my question is, can I still work as long as possible and still aplly for disability. Its getting increasingly harder to stay at my job with increasing visits to the doctor due to the pain involved. I really don’t know what to do and do need an income to make ends meet, but don’t know how long I can keep up the pace. Any advise ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rick,

      You will be denied if you file a claim while you are earning $1,090 gross or more per month. You might check to see if your employer has a short-term disability policy that could provide income while a Social Security claim is being processed (two to five months typically) and during the unpaid five calendar-month waiting perio. Or, if you live in California, Hawaii, or New York, you could apply for state disability insurance. Otherwise, you might consider dropping the extra hour a day that requires you to be on your feet more or ask your employer for a tall stool to sit on and/or a cushioned pad under your work station to see if you can continue to tolerate work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  100. Tee Willis says:

    Dear Kay,

    I left my last full-time job at age 55 in April 2013 due to discrimination and retaliation. I had worked or 25 years as a mid-level research grant manager but could not continue while my EEOC case was pending, because the situation was becoming dangerous. Also at this same time, I began to wake up with morning stiffness all over my body and periodic severe swelling in both legs and feet. While looking for a comparable position, I accepted a part-time coordinator position for a nonprofit prenatal education program at my church. As a self-employed contractor, I worked 15-20 hrs per week for almost 2 years ($1,250/mo stipend). My physical health continuously deteriorated over the last 2 years, and I was diagnosed a year ago with an autoimmune disease (ankylosing spondylitis.…a form of inflammatory arthritis) and lymphedema in both legs. I also have severe osteoarthritis in both knees in and one hip. Even though I was allowed to do most of my work at home and got volunteers to do the physical duties over the last year, I finally had to resign from the part-time position 3-1/2 months ago. I am unable to walk without a cane and cannot stand or sit for long periods of time. I have numb and tingling fingers that prevent me from typing on the computer and chronic pain that is not controlled with medications. I am now preparing to file for SSDI but am not sure if I can use an earlier onset date since my self-employed stipend is very close to the $1,090 income limit. In other words, are there any allowances for self-employed people that could reduce the $1,290/mo? My physical disabilities over the last year certainly reduced the work that I could do without help. I’m confused about the income limits for self-employed individuals. Thanks for any info.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tee,

      The evaluation to determine whether self-employment is substantial gainful activity (SGA) is more complex than for wages in that work hours and how critical your duties were to your business are considered in addition to earnings. Also, earnings are counted differently. SGA is evaluated based on net profit from self-employment. That means that if you filed Schedule C forms for your tax returns and deducted your self-employment business expenses, your profit, not your gross stipend would be compared to the $1,090. (Usually depreciation expenses are not allowed in this evaluation.) The fact that you were using volunteers to do some of the physical work you would otherwise have been responsible for would also be considered.and get a corroborating statement from the church.

      In short, I suggest that you file the claim with the earlier date of disability and declare the intervening self-employment with the explanation you gave me and with a corroborating statement from the church. Note that to be approved with the earlier date, you will also have to have medical documentation that your condition was disabling back in 2013, not just that your self-employment was not SGA.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  101. vicki says:

    Hi I had a question. I had my hearing two days ago to appeal my denial. I was offered a job only two hours a day. I wouldn’t make more than $600 a month. I’m afraid to take the job because I don’t want to get denied ssi due to work after my hearing. Or to look further into my case I I need benefits badly. Its so difficult to get by with no income. I have no idea what to do

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vicki,

      If you have an attorney, discuss the matter with him or her. In the event you do not have an attorney, I can provide this general information: Typically gross earnings of $600 a month do not have any effect on a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD). The amount is too low to even use up one a Trial Work Period (TWP) month and is well below the Substantial Gainful Activity level of $1,090.

      If your application is for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), again, the earnings are low enough that they typically would not affect being medically approved. Part of the earnings–$257.50–would reduce the amount of SSI you are eligible for in the months that you had work earnings.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  102. Hrsolar says:

    (Female 52 years old) I received a first denial letter and explain: The evidence in your case shows that you fill the requirements for the Social Security Disability purpose until December 31, 2014. At this date your conditions or limitations was affecting your capacity to realize some task related to job. However, those limitations allowed you to perform your previous job as a secretary. I am interest to obtain tips, to fill the form SSA 561 U2, because my last job as secretary was in 2009. Approximately, 2 consecutive years I received unemployment benefits. I have the sufficient credits because I worked for more 20 years. What suggestions can help me to be accurate in my reconsideration request? In the past year I only work from my home with income less $900

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Hsolar,

      I recommend that you request a copy of your claim file so you can see the exact reasons for the examiner arriving at the decision to deny. I also recommend that you hire an experienced Social Security attorney to help you file your appeal. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  103. David says:

    Hi Kay,
    I was fired from my position in June of 2014. I learned, after the fact, that the incident that led to my termination was largely, if not entirely, the result of my depression and other ailments from which I was suffering. I am now in the process of filing for both state and SS Disability but am unsure how to proceed.

    I have multiple diagnoses that individually might not be sufficient for disability but in combination have prevented me from finding work for over a year. See below.
    Depression – unable to maintain appropriate workplace attitude/composure when dealing with personal or professional stresses, extreme fatigue & emotional instability
    Type 1 Diabetes w/hypoglycemic unawareness – unexpected blood sugar fluctuations lead to extreme fatigue, emotional instability, loss of balance, coordination, emotional stability & even consciousness
    Sleep apnea – fatigue
    All of the Above combine to require no less than 3 visits to medical/mental health professionals monthly & often multiple visits in a single week
    Please provide your thoughts on my case & how I should proceed.
    Thanks,
    Dave

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear David,

      I suggest that you read the articles under the “Apply SSD” and “Claim Process” tabs on the navigation bar of this website for tips on filing the claim. It could be helpful to get a statement from your former employer regarding reasons for your termination, especially if it had to due with attitude and frequent absences to the doctor.

      If you are denied, appeal with an experienced Social Security attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mildred says:

        Hi Kay
        I’m a 53 years old I have back pain for some years already. I had stopped working in 2011 and returned to work in 2014 ,but was able to keep that job for only 7 months and after 3 months got another but only lasted 2 weeks because developed another problem on a foot that can’t be standing or walking for long period of time it hurts and gets swollen. Is there a possibility I can qualify for disability?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mildred,

          Whether or not you are disabled as defined by Social Security law is based in part on your past work history. If you can perform an occupation you have performed in the past, you will not be approved. At your age, age and educational level will be considered in whether you can, given your physical limitations, work in a new occupation. I cannot predict whether you will be approved; the only way to find out is to file a claim. You can find tips on filing a claim and learn about the claim evaluation process under the “Apply SSD” and “Claim Process” tabs on the navigation bar of this site.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  104. Christian Eubanks says:

    Dear Kay,

    I have been Diagnosed with PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety/panic disorder, and depression. I was assaulted at my last full-time job and it triggered serious PTSD symptoms from my childhood, and now I’m having an awful chain reaction, including mental and physical problems. As a result of my current state, I have difficulty leaving the house, being in public places. I have very sensitive triggers, which cause me to get anxiety and panic attacks. I’m applying for disability through social security, but I know the process takes months before I can receive an answer. I have to work because I have to pay bills and support my soon-to-be wife, but I’m also, despite trying to figure out how to maintain a job without having a complete breakdown, trying to figure out if even earning less than $1000 will harm my chances of being approved for disability benefits. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christian,

      If your capacity to work is limited to the amount you earn and your earnings are less than $1,090 gross monthly, your work will not have a direct impact on your claim. However, it may cast some doubt on your statement that you have difficulty leaving the house and being in public places. I suggest that you discuss your claim with an experienced Social Security attorney and/or explain how you manage to work, whether you have panic attacks on the job, etc.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  105. Dustin campbell says:

    Hi, I am 20 years old and I have had 19 operations and on the 22nd of this month I am going to be getting surgery for cancer in my thyroid. Which will be surgery #20. I have Postural Orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). And its ruining my life. I’ve been denied twice for disability and I am having trouble working at all especially when my job requires 40 hours and sometimes 13hr shifts. I am getting a lawyer involved for my disability but am not sure what route to go because I make more than $1090 a month. Should n I reduce my hours and go for disability again? Scared to try because I need to pay bills n rent and the process takes a long time I hear. . I’d like to hear your feedback. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dustin,

      If you are earning $1,090 or more gross per month, you are not disabled as defined by Social Security law. Regarding processing times, new claims are running two to five months and, regardless of processing time, the first five full calendar months of disability are not paid and the sixth month’s benefits are paid in the 7th month, so there is a big gap of time before benefits start.

      If you were off work or earning less than $1,090 ($1,070 in 2014) for a period of twelve months, you might be eligible for a closed period of disability. The twelve months can be broken up by unsuccessful work attempts, which means working less than three to six months and stopping due to the same disabling condition. Your attorney can review the specifics of your claim and provide options to help you make the decision about what to pursue.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • robert herroon says:

        I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in Oct of 2011. I had an esophagectomy in April 2012. I experience complications from chemo radiation and surgIery. I had a leak and they had to cut me again. I am nearly cut all the way around. I have had constant pain since my surgery. I also had cardio tampenade requiring heart surgery. I returned to work with the help of narcotic pain meds. In October of 2012. I am having extreme difficulty working. I am taking way too many pills to be able to work. My employer has been very good to me but I cannot do this anymore. What should the process look like for me. I assume I need to see if one of my doctors will deem me disabled and then stop working. Can I collect sick pay insurance through my employer? I would really like to level with my human resource person at work, since they have been good to me. I am not sure if I would shoot myself in the foot if I tell my hr person my intentions. Is short term disability from ones job normally part of the process. Will this cause my employer to get out their poker cards. Is short term disability insurance being collected any skin off their back? Should I try to collect short term disability through my employer during the permanent ssi disability application process?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Robert,

          Your employer has paid a premium for a short-term disability (STD) policy to cover employees in the case of disability, so there should be no objection to your applying for STD benefits and it will not cause them any harm. (If a company had many disability claims, the premiums could go up; but the occasional claim has little or no effect on the employer.) If you stop work, do apply for both the STD and Social Security right away. And, yes, do talk with your doctors about the problems you are having and why you feel you cannot continue working due to pain and pain-medication side effects to see if they will support your claim. Be sure that they know you are being treated by more than one doctor for more than one condition and that the combination of conditions is limiting.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  106. Noel says:

    Hi! I was diagnosed with SEL in December 2014. I was having symptoms since 2013. I am very fatigue and in pain. The lupus has caused neuropathy in my hands and feet and the medications don’t seem to be helping. I have burning pain in my hands and feet no matter if I’m sitting, standing, walking, working or not working. I currently work part time and can’t even do that. I haven’t worked my whole schedule in the month of June and beginning of July. Should I lesson my hours to make under $1090 or is it too soon? Do I need more tests done? I see a neurologist in August for the neuropathy. But I know I can’t continue on the way I am. Everyday is a struggle no matter if I have work or not.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Noel,

      You are the only one who can decide whether and when it is right for you to reduce your work income to less than $1,090 so that you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI). I suggest that you discuss the matter with the physician who is overseeing your care and with the neurologist you are about to see. Ask them whether the testing done thus far makes your condition clear and, if not, whether there are other tests that would document your medical conditions and limitations more clearly. In the discussion, describe the problems that you are having on the job that are causing you to miss work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  107. Michael says:

    Hi IM michael im 31
    Three years ago i was at a nursing home with an anxiety. after i left the nursing home to go to shelter, and back to streets, i work for few months then i quit, and then couple months and quit, then four months then i quit again. i had alchol problems.
    if i apply for SSI would my work history affect my eliglibily. for the first time in three in half years i am seeking treatments, but i can work, but cant keep a job.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michael,

      No Social Security or Supplemental Security Income disability benefits are payable for drug dependence or alcoholism. If you have a medical or mental condition other than alcohol dependence that is disabling, you could be eligible. If you are quitting your jobs due to anxiety or other non-addiction conditions,listing all the short-term jobs could help your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  108. Chad says:

    I was injured on my job 2 times over a 12 year period. First I was hit on top my of head with a metal rack that caused hearing loss and ringing in both ears. Then I sustained a bad right shoulder tear. The company fired me because I was unable to perform the duties of the job after my shoulder injury. I live in Nevada and apparently they can get away with it in this state. Both conditions have gotten worse and there is nothing that can be done for them. Also I am seriously depressed. I am working a job now but it is becoming unbearable. I cant sleep because of the ringing my ears and the pain in my shoulder. And my depression is causing me other serious problems. On top of all this I am a truck driver and behind the wheel of a semi truck. Can I apply for disability benefits.

    Thank You

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chad,

      If you are earning less than $1,090 gross per month. Otherwise, you have to either stop working or reduce your work to below $1,090 to have a possibility of approval. If you were off work because of your injuries on the first job for a while before you started your current job and the current job ends in less that three to six months because of your health, claim your first cease work date when you file a claim. Also, check to see if either of the employers has a short-term disability policy under which you could file a claim while waiting for a Social Security decision or in the case of the first employer, which you were off between jobs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  109. Alex says:

    Hi, I have a question about disability. I suffer from major depression and I’m taking several meds to try to control it, but feel like killing myself would be the right answer. I have been working for the last 13 years and have been on short term disability 3 times for 6 months at a time and also taken 2 months off to regroup. I would cry going to and from work. Just not finding that spot where I could just be happy and not cry. Anyways I was recently laid off so now being unemployed, more depression, I applied for disability but someone offered me a job full-time. I’m not sure if I can do it or if I should accept it. I just had my medical ss disability appt and have the mental ss disability appt the end of july. Please help or advise me what would be the right thing to do.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alex,

      I cannot make the decision for you. I can provide some information. To be approved for Social Security Disability, you have to be disabled or expected to be disabled for twelve months. If you return to work in less than that time, your claim is likely to be denied. If you attempt to work and cannot sustain the work, you can reapply.

      If you have been off work for more than twelve months and return to work, you can attempt work and receive full Social Security benefits during a nine-month Trial Work Period, which is followed by some other return-to-work incentives. Note that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not offer a trial work period and if you return to work before being off twelve months and you gross $1,090 or more, your SSI claim will be denied.

      Lastly, I recommend that you get counseling and medication if necessary as soon as possible because of your suicidal thoughts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  110. connie allspach says:

    Dear Kay,
    I was diagnosed with spondolythesis at age 32…..I had been suffering with it since age 22. I was diagnosed with grade 4 back in 2006. I have recently put myself through school to become.e a medical assistant knowing that my previous work as a self employed childcare provider was causing me pain and was not a good job with my condition. Since finding employment and finally having health insurance(which makes my take home income lower thus can’t make ends meet) I have been to the spinal surgeon and he has diagnosed me with grade 5 + spindly…..meaning my vertebrae has completely slipped off. I have always been a hard worker and just dealt with the pain. My doctors have told me the least I do the better…for my back…to preserve it so I do not become paralyzed. I work 28-30hrs/week @$15.50 an hour before taxes. I barely make it now paying bills and have pain consistently…..I’m concerned that if I continue he with this I will become paralyzed like the doctors say and then not be able to provide for myself at all. I’m single and cannot afford to not work. Any suggestions on how/what I could do would be appreciated. I have no clue on how to get government help. And sounds like I would most likely be denied from reading posts on your site.
    Than you for any input, Connie

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Connie,

      To have a chance of being approved for Social Security Disability, you have to reduce your gross earned income to less than $1,090. If you live in a state, such as California, that has state disability insurance, you could have that income to tide you over while your claim is being processed (two to five months); or possibly your employer has a short-term disability (STD) policy that would cover you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  111. Chandra Parker says:

    My husband and I are not together and more butstill mmarried he is 56 and I am 51 he is getting ssi can I receive some of his ssi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chandra,

      If your husband is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), no benefits are payable to you. If he is receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI), you can receive benefits if you have a child of his under age sixteen in your care. If not, your can apply for reduced spouse’s benefits when you reach age sixty-two.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  112. Sabiya says:

    Dear Kay,

    I have moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears (although it feels more severe than moderate). I live in a state where the majority of the jobs are communication and hearing-centric. I’ve tried to find jobs over the years but am having a hard time keeping them.

    I have been fired before due to my disability and my accent. I have tried getting office jobs but there are barely any openings. My hearing aids are getting worse because it’s getting old. My last hearing aids were 9 years old and it made it impossible for me to go to interviews, these current ones are 5 years old.

    I do not have an income, my husband works but only makes $13,000 a year so we barely have the income necessary for new hearing aids. In addition to my hearing loss, I have severe depression, and PTSD, I also suspect I have some form of anxiety as well. I do purposefully try to avoid situations or jobs that are noisy or requires phone work as I fear that I am not able to understand.

    The SSI requirements state that I need to have 60dB or worse in the better ear which I do in both ears (without hearing aids) but a air conduction loss of 90dB. Since I have sensorineural hearing loss, I am never tested for air conduction loss but rather bone conduction. My bone conduction is between 56 and 62 dB. There’s nothing wrong with my hearing per se, I just have nerve damage from the ear to the brain (literally), my left side of the body is numb on some parts because of it as well.

    People have told me that because I was able to hold down jobs before, I’m not completely disabled. While I somewhat agreed with them, most jobs I’ve held were short term. It’s almost impossible for me to hold down jobs, even good jobs due to my depression. I always talk myself out of it and end up quitting. It’s like I have a mental burn out forever. The thought of working on a job for more than a year, even a job that I’ll really love, makes me sick to my stomach.

    What do you think? Do I have a case to apply for SS Disability?
    I already applied four months ago, but I’m afraid of them throwing it out and saying that I’m able to work.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sabiya,

      You may be eligible for benefits based on a combination of symptoms. Be sure that you listed all your conditions including your mental health symptoms. If you are not getting treatment for your mental health issues, it could help you claim to do so. If you are denied, try appealing. Sometimes it takes going to a hearing to get approved on a combination of conditions. If you appeal get legal assistance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  113. Jennifer says:

    Hi! I was turned down in January by the ALJ. I now have to wait between 3 and 20 months. I fired one lawyer and hired another one. Is there any chance that I can make over the $1090 per month to still have a chance of getting Social Security Disability? It has been three years since I have been out of a full-time job, and my finances are not good. Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      I recommend that you discuss your possible return to work with your attorney to see whether he thinks, given the specific facts of your claim, a return to work would jeopardize the approval of your claim. If he thinks not and you return to work earning more than $1,090 gross per month, your claim could potentially be approved in two ways: your claim could be approved with a closed period of disability that paid you up to your return-to-work date or you could be approved for ongoing benefits with the work considered part of a nine-month Trial Work Period, assuming that you have not already worked part-time and used up the Trial Work Period months.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jennifer says:

        Thank you! I also have gotten my congressman involved. I think they call it a congressional inquiry. In your experience, does that help move things along? I just need either LTD or SSD to come through soon. Thank you again! You are a wealth of information!

        Jennifer

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jennifer,

          A congressional inquiry sometimes will speed up processing but not always. It may not make a great deal of difference at the Appeals Council level, especially since your appeal was just received recently.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  114. kim says:

    hello,
    A year ago I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my neck, I few months later, I was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease, osteoarthritis and most recently with fibromyalgia. Through the last year i have continued to work but have missed a lot of days. Because of the pain and muscle stiffness my job has become more difficult to do. I have decided to put in my resignation because I cant do the qualifications for my job( I manage a greenhouse and gardens , its very physical) Should I wait till I am no longer employed to apply for disability? I had not considered disability until someone mentioned I might be able to get it. I will get a very small retirement so disability benefits would definitely help financially.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      If you are earning $1,090 gross per month or more, you have to wait until you stop working to apply. As an aside, before you resign, check to see if your employer short-term and/or long-term disability policies under which you might be covered. A short-term disability policy could help tide you over while your Social Security claim is being processed. Also, Social Security does not pay the first five calendar months of disability. You might also check to see whether your employer is big enough to be governed by the Family Medical Leave Act, which might allow employer benefits, if you have any, to continue for a period of time.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  115. Jennifer says:

    I need help. Long story short I was advised by my dr to apply for disability. I am currently getting treatment but am struggling with work due to my illness ( it is mental not pysical) My question is lets say I am approved for disability ( my goal is to work, i do not want to not work at all even if it is only for a few hours) and my treatment works and I can go back to work full time and don;t need disability anymore HOWever what if I am working and treatment for some reason does NOT work anymore and I am unable to work again, will i be penalised and not be able to get disability again? I hope I worded this correctly.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      If you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI), there are several return to work incentives. If after being disabled for twelve months, you attempt work, there is a nine-month trial work period during which benefits continue in the full amount. After that if you were able to do substantial work (earn $1,090 or more gross per month), your benefits would stop. If you had to stop work again within thirty-six months due to your illness, benefits would start up again without a new application. If you did substantial work longer than thirty-six months, but less than sixty, you could apply for Expedited Reinstatement.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • john says:

        hi i would like to know ive been working full-time and getting paid bi weely for 6 month now and i didnt know i had to let the social security know. ive been getting my check sinces i was 16 years old so i really dont know anything about the policy. will i get in trouble for not knowing

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear John,

          You need to report your work earnings immediately. If you are receiving Social Security Disabled Adult Child benefits, you may be granted a Trial Work Period during which benefits are payable or it may be determined that you are no longer medically disabled and you are overpaid. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you are overpaid and possibly entirely ineligible and will have an overpayment to repay. The faster you report, the better. (If you are receiving SSI, you would have had a redetermination of financial eligibility each year including a reminder of the reporting requirements.)

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  116. Andrew says:

    Hi, I am 18years old and I applied for SSI. I have a number of physical disabilities that severely affect my ability to work. I just had a f=couple of questions: I applied in September I believe or October and since then I’ve been to a few exams. The last one was a neurology exam. I just wanted to know first, how long it usually takes for an SSI decision to be made after the exams. I also have been considering getting a job at a small place so that I don’t ave to do too much walking and I wanted to know if I got a job while waiting on a decision and I leave after the decision is made will that affect the amount of my SSI when it comes?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Andrew,

      It can take a few weeks to a couple of months to get a decision after the last consultative examination. If you work and earn more than $65 a month gross ($85 if you have no other income including free shelter or food), your SSI will be reduced one dollar for each two dollars you are over the limit in the months you are paid wages. (If you are also a student, the limites are higher.) If you start to work while you are waiting for a decision, you must report the work to Social Security so they can consider the work you are doing when they make the decision about whether or not you are disabled. If you will be earning $1,090 or more, the work will be considered substantial and could cause your claim to be limited or denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  117. Ronnie says:

    Hello I have recently been unable to work for several weeks due to a progressive back and nerve issue spanning the last 10 years or so. The time has come to apply for my ssdi but I have taken leave from my job using FMLA (family medical leave act) for the next 12 weeks. Can I apply for my ssdi while on my FMLA or will I be denied for technicaly not quitting my employment. Stuck at a crossroads because my doctor hasn’t given me much info concerning the future of my conditions and my employer is getting anxious for me to get it fixed and return even though we have tried explaining that it is a life long progressive illness and returning this time may not be an option so to be on the safe side rather than just quitting outright and losing my job before I know what ssdi will say , I’m using FMLA but I’m being told I still need to apply for my ssdi. What should I do ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ronnie,

      It can take from two to five months to get a Social Security Disability decision, so by all means apply now. If you are receiving sick or vacation pay while you are off work, be sure to put that on your application so that Social Security will recognize that the compensation is not for current work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  118. vram says:

    HI,

    I’m 36 years old, i’ve had 3 kidney transplants, last one in march 2013, and getting a hip replacement due to prednisone in march of 2015. I’m currently working, but due to so many issues with my health, i keep calling out sick, i would like to apply for SSI at least for a while to not have the pressure of work. do I qualify or what can I do to qualify?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vram,

      If you are unable to continue working earning $1,090 or more gross per month and the inability has lasted or will last more than twelve months, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. If you will send me the dates you were off work since you started to have transplants and the reasons you stopped work each time, I can give you an idea of whether you can claim a disability onset date in the past. It would also be helpful to know why you are missing work now.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  119. Claudia says:

    Hello, I needed an advise for getting dissability. My daughter was killed by hit and run and she was only 17 years old.it’s only about 2 years ago. I took off from work for 7 months because I wanted to kill myself. My doctor and therapist advice me to go back to work so mind will be busy. I tried going back but everything is not the same for me. I am a server and there are times that I cry. I stammer and can’t breath. My boss told me that sometimes she catches me just staring and not smiling ot interacting with the guest.my co workers stop talking to me because they said they are tired of helping me and if I can’t help myself , there is nothing they can do for me .my doctor put me on,.diazapan. trzadone , and zolpedem oand was diagnosed with uncomplicated grief sleeplessness ,chronic depression, stress and among other things. Ii don’t want to get off my bed and I wish I was dead I can!t contoll when I have my episode so I get sent home.i am tired , stress, I feel isolated from everybody.am I better off quitting my job and apply for dissability or let them fire me , then get disability . How long will it take?what do you think my chances are gettin it?please help me before I harm myself. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Claudia,

      If you are grossing less than $1,090 per month including tips, you can apply for disability while working and claim your last day of work seven months ago as your disability date. If you are grossing more than that, you might try to reduce your hours to below that earnings level to see if that helps with problems on the job, and the lower income would allow you to apply while working. If you have been earning $1,090 or more and you stop work or drop below $1,090 before working six months, you can still claim the day after you stopped work seven months ago as your disability date and say that the work over $1,090 was an unsuccessful work attempt. When you file the claim, you can make a request for expedited processing, stating that you are having thoughts of suicide worsened by the stress of disability-related problems at work. You can get support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week through the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  120. frank says:

    had mri done this was the finding L2 L3 there is facet hypertrophy minimal fluid present thier is a broad based disc bulge and small annular tear results in mild bilateral neural for a min al stenosis.L3 L4 facet hypertrophy broad based disc bulge mild bilateral neural fa min al stenosis. L4 L5 Facet hypertrophy and mild disc bulge no significant stenosis.L5 S1 facet hypertrophy and mild disc bulge.’impression, degenerative disc disease I was wanting to know how hard it would be to get social security disability with seventh grade education and what I wrote above at age 44 thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Frank,

      Many people start to have abnormal spinal findings in middle age. Whether or not you qualify for disability benefits with your age and educational level will depend on how much you are limited by your back and on your work history. If your work was all heavy or medium level, you might qualify. The only way to find out is to file a claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  121. Roxanne says:

    It seems as though I have been jumping through nothing but hoops while trying to get my disability! They keep telling me that “50” is the magic number and I will be 50 in April, but in the mean time, I have started back to work and it is absolutely killing my joints! My question is this: Even though my disability claim has been filed and turned down over and over again, will my starting back to work have a disadvantage on the decision? Right now, I am awaiting the final court hearing date and I am torn on what to do about my employment! Any suggestions?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Roxanne,

      If you were off work for more than twelve months before you went back to work, the judge may look at the work as a Trial Work Period and the work would not negatively affect your claim. Alternatively, the judge could look at the work together with the medical information and determine that you had recovered and approve only a close period of disability. If you have an attorney, be sure to let the attorney know that you are working.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  122. Troy Campbell says:

    My question is in reference to having to work for legal purposes, i.e., child support obligations, but have been declared disabled and told by my psychiatrist that I should no longer work because I suffer from severe PTSD and can be considered a liability in any profession that I am working. My work performance is not where it used to be and suffers more everyday, but because I have legal obligations that could land me in jail if I don’t comply, I must continue to work, despite all of the difficulties that I experience on an everyday basis. I am so torn because I know that I should apply for SSDI or SSI, but I can’t quit because if I do, well you know what I’m going to say. This alone contributes to my condition and sometimes I’d rather end it all rather than to continue to work or quit while I apply for disability. Is there any special circumstance or rule that can assist in situations like this?

    • Troy Campbell says:

      By the way, my disability was diagnosed over 8 years ago.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Troy,

      I suggest that you talk with a family law attorney. It is possible that you may be able to have your obligation changed or suspended if you are disabled and not working. If you are approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and your family maximum benefit is more than your own primary insurance (your benefit) amount, your children could receive Social Security dependent benefits to help support them.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  123. Diana Autry says:

    Hello, I have been disabled with MS, Bipolar and various other issues. I officially stopped working June 2011. I reapplied for disability in Sept 2013 I was denied and have appealed with a lawyer and am waiting on my court date. Our finances have become so tight we desperately need extra cash. I cant do much but I was thinking I could drive a bus for the schools temporarily, since effectively all I have to do is sit, to help out but am unsure how this will affect my case when we are so close to a court date.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Diana,

      Usually work earnings below $1,090 gross monthly will not have a negative effect on a claim; however, before you try working you should talk with your attorney and get his clearance because there could be aspects of the argument he plans to make on your behalf that would be affected by your starting to work. If you are in danger of losing housing, you can ask the attorney to file a dire needs statement, which might speed up the court date a bit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  124. Margaret E Shafer says:

    Hello – My husband has end stage renal disease and is on home hemo-dialysis 5x week. He also slow moving prostate cancer (seed implantation); needs an aortic valve replacement and is being diagnosed for some sort of liver issue. He also needs a hip replacement as he can hardly move. All of that being said, he is a high school teacher. It’s gotten to the point where we have pretty much realized that he can’t keep working like this. Our question is this – can he apply for SS disability while still teaching (until the end of the school year, which is June 30th) or does he have to quit and then apply?

    • Margaret E Shafer says:

      I should also mention that his dialysis started August 2012.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Margaret,

      Assuming that he isn’t going to work over the summer, he could apply as soon as school’s out and claim the day after the last day he works grading, etc. (not necessarily June 30) as his disability date. Possibly the claim would be processed over the summer so he would have a decision before school starts, but if not maybe he could go out on sick leave or short-term disability in the fall. (The first five full-calendar months of disability are not paid, so he would not be paid for July through November and the December benefit would be paid in January.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  125. Janice says:

    Dear Kay,

    I have had seizures since I was in 6th grade, I am now in my 40’s and they are getting much more frequent and easily brought on as I get older. I am on medication and under a doctors care. I have been trying to hide them and live a normal life, but with the seizures becoming more frequent, my world is becoming smaller. I can no longer drive, swim, shop alone, etc. It’s seriously effecting my work (I work for a car dealership). My employer has tried to work with me, changing my job around from sales, to internet coordinator, back to sales, etc, however not being able to drive, and not being able to use the computers is a problem. I am on the verge of losing my drivers license. If I continue on, I will get fired for lack of performance. I have worked the same job for ten years, and I would much prefer to go out gracefully. Can I apply for disability first, then quit? My seizures are well documented at work.

    Sincerely,
    Janice

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Janice,

      As long as you are grossing $1,090 or more, a disability claim likely would be denied. If you aren’t doing your job, you might be able to make a case that you are not earning what you are being paid, that is, not performing substantial gainful activity; but it is a really long shot. If you drop to part time with earnings below $1,090, you could then apply. It takes two to five months for the claim to be processed.

      If you file a claim, submit a copy of the documentation of seizures at work. Also, get a statement from your employer of the accommodations they have tried to make and any ways in which that has not worked. If there are any duties that are essential to the positions you have held with the car dealership that you have not been able to perform, have your employer list those. Start keeping a log of seizures that occur in other places and also list the types of activities you no longer perform because of the seizures. And, of course, a statement of restrictions from your physician.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  126. Jennifer says:

    Hi; I applied for disability in 2012, I have fybromialgia. I just received an appointment for an interview. I have been working full time for the past 7 months, my gross is $2400 monthly. I had to go back to work because I almost lost my house because I couldn’t live on a part time job. Nonetheless, I am struggling to keep my job now. I am going to therapy and they keep telling me I need to rest but I can’t with this full time job, so now that I have that interview I am stressed out of my mind, I’m scared it will get denied because I went back to work. can you clarify where I stand?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      If you applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI), you may be granted a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP)because you didn’t increase your work to a substantial level until more than twelve months after you initially became disabled. If so, SSDI benefits will be paid during the TWP. If this is the case, be sure you get information from Social Security about the Extended Period of Eligibility rules that apply after the Trial Work Period ends. If you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will not be eligible in months you were earning $2,400.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  127. Ms. BMW says:

    I was diagnosed with a rare cancer 5 years ago, it’s treated with an oral chemotherapy drug I have to take daily the rest of my life. I suffer from debilitating side effects that has changed my quality of life. I had an ADA accommodation at work that helped for 2 years but my employer took it away. I’ve worked all my life fulltime for 42 years and I’m 58 years old, have a degree also. I can’t keep up anymore and the sad thing is the average life expectancy for my rare cancer is 10-12 years. Im 5 years into it. When I was diagnosed the cancer had already metastasized, surgery got 90% and the drug has dissipated what was left, I was rehospitalized after I began treatment with a life threatening side effect at one point. What are my chances of getting SSDI? I basically go to work & come home & go to bed, I can’t do things I use to. I force & push myself everyday just to get by. Even self care of myself has progressively gotten worse. I qualify for a reduced pension from my employer but its not enough to survive on. My cancer drug thats keeping me alive is on patent and is very expensive so I need health coverage since I am required to have 3 – 4 ct scans annually & blood tests every 2 months. Because of all the problems with my employer of 25 years (for the past year & a half) I now am suffering with a psychological disorder filled with anxiety & sleep problems.. I feel completely exhausted and just don’t know what to do. Friends & family have suggested I might get SSDI. My cancer is on SSA’s compassionate allowances list but I’ve been recurrent free 4 years.What would be my chances of getting approved?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ms. BMW,

      I understand from what you wrote that you are now working without accommodations. You will not be approved as long as you are working and earning above $1,090 gross monthly. Given what you describe, you probably wouldn’t qualify for the compassionate (expedited) approval, but if you stop work or drop to part time and earn below the substantial earnings level and your side effects are very severe and limiting, you might be approved after a normal evaluation. I suggest that you discuss your situation with your doctor. Describe your symptoms and the physical and mental demands of your current occupation to see if he would support an SSDI claim.

      Something else you might consider is talking to your state’s employment office to find out whether your work experience would transfer to an occupation that was less demanding.

      If you lose your health insurance, for thirty days after losing it, you can apply for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). With just the pension, you might qualify for a government subsidy to pay the premiums.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  128. Kheriyah says:

    Hello there. This is my situation. In December 2012, I was diagnosed with Reccurent Major Depressive Disorder w/Psychotic features, PTSD and Borderline personality disorder. I was on FMLA and returned to work with reasonable accommodations. However, the employer refused to make the accommodations and lost job due to “threatening behavior toward another employee” which is not true but I was in the process of losing my job before this allegation due to excessive absences. I lost my job in May 2013. In July 2013 filed for disability and was denied. Got a job 12/2013. Lost that job 02/14 due to an emotional outburst on the job and attendance issues. So I applied for disability again May 2014. Denied again. Filed an appeal. Got a job 07/14 making over SGA but receive reasonable accommodation s but still have excessive absences and currently in the threat of losing my job due to attendance issues. As of today, I still have not recieved a hearing date

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kheriyah,

      To be eligible for benefits, you must be disabled for twelve months. Your job that began in December 2013 will probably be treated as an unsuccessful work attempt and not interrupt the twelve-month period. You have now been working almost six months. That work may be considered SGA or might not depending on the accommodations you have been receiving. When you started the job, you had been off work (except for the one month) for more than twelve months, so there is still a possibility that could be approved either for a closed period of disability (one back-pay check) or for ongoing benefits with your current work applied to a nine-month Trial Work Period, during which benefits are payable.

      If you are on your first appeal, then your appeal is likely a reconsideration file review, not a hearing with a judge. You may need legal assistance to be successful. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time it sends your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  129. samantha says:

    hello i am 25 years old i was hospitalized in aug 12 that is date listed as my disabled date for disability i have had have tried to work since then had 7 jobs none lasted more than a week i have bipolar deppression boreder line personality disorder and paranoia will jobs i tried to work hurt my chance of approval. didnt make close to $1000

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Samantha,

      Your attempts to work should not hurt your claim. Do make a list of the jobs and state that you didn’t last a week in any of them and the specific reasons you left each. The information could even help your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  130. ziona says:

    Hi Kay,
    My husband is 65 and has been on SSD since about 2004. We have two children under 16 who receive benefits as well. We are having trouble making ends meet financially and he is considering taking a stab at working “very p/t” to supplement our income. The jobs he is likely to be hired for aren’t in his previous occupation and he will probably not be able to earn over the SGA. If he is successful in working and/or working for over 9 mo, my concern is: (1) would we be subject to losing his retirement benefit at age 66 at his current disability payout by default to his regular retirement amount and (2) would he be subject to a full reevaluation of his disability in the event that he doesn’t?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ziona,

      Attempting part-time work will not necessarily trigger a medical review, especially if your husband’s earnings are below Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Once he has completed the nine-month Trial Work Period, if he has not recovered medically, he will be eligible for a 36-calendar-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). During that time, he will receive benefits for any month his gross earnings are not SGA. Conversely, he will not be paid for any months he performs SGA. Before he completes the EPE, he will be full retirement age. At that time he no longer has to be disabled to receive benefits. Currently, an individual who has reached full retirement age can work any amount and not lose benefits. When your husband starts to work, he should report to Social Security that he has begun work and give them a statement of his expected hours and wages per month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • ziona says:

        “At that time he no longer has to be disabled to receive benefits.”

        Hi Kaye,

        Thanks for your reply. Just trying to understand a bit better about the excerpt quoted above. Under my husband’s situation were he to successfully complete EWP, would the benefit he’d receive at full retirement (66) be his disability check “continued” or the lower amount he’d receive had he never become disabled but stopped contributing to social security when he was in his 50s (in other words does disability amount vest through retirement regardless of then current or future ability to work)?

        Thanks,

        Ziona

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Ziona,

          Your husband’s Social Security retirement benefit would be the same amount as his disability benefit was the month before he reached full retirement age. No reduction.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Jim says:

            i was denied disability now I have to wait 18 months I do have a attorney I am being treated for head injury since 2013 unable to work but waiting for the appeal is very rough surviving on my wife’s income we can’t make it anymore what can I do

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Jim,

            I suggest contacting your local social services office to see whether you qualify for SNAP assistance (formerly called food stamps). You might also consider renting out a room if you have the space. Some power companies offer energy assistance in cold winter months. Lastly, research to see whether you can find less expensive telephone services that will still meet your basic communication needs.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  131. Richard Pollock says:

    I have just been diagnosed with ALS… Must I quit working prior to applying for SS disability benefits? I would not be able to financially survive without an income…

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Richard,

      If you are earning $1,070 ($1,090 in 2015) gross per month, you are not eligible for Social Security or SSI disability benefits. You might check with your company’s benefits office to see whether you are covered by short-term or long-term disability policies that could tide you over until Social Security starts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  132. S M P says:

    Hello,
    My fiancé is waiting for a hearing about SSI benefits. This hearing is expected to take place early 2015. Unfortunately he was incarcerated on November 1, 2014. He is currently waiting for trial so he hasn’t been convicted of any crime as of yet. My question is how will this affect him at this stage of the process with SSI? His disability case worker called to discuss his case and I’m working on having the prison allow him to make this phone call, but another concern is that the case will be closed because he is in prison? He’s waited 4 years for this hearing and it would be such a shame to lose the opportunity due to a setback with the law. Is there any thing he can do? Any advice you can give us?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear S M P,

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are not paid to someone who is incarcerated. Your fiance can continue to pursue his claim. If he is approved medically approved for benefits, his back pay will not be paid until he is released from jail and he will not be paid for the time in jail if it exceeds thirty days or is a full calendar month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  133. Colena says:

    Hi Kay,
    My 18 year old son has adhd among other severe learning disabilities. He can barely read and cannot write. (along with a long list of other disorders) He has a part-time job working on a chicken farm. The chicken dust is making him ill. He’s currently under a Doctor’s care.
    He lives at home with his step-father and I. Step-dad makes approx. $50,000 a year but is retiring soon.
    Son doesn’t have enough work credits for SSDI.
    I’m lost as to what to do at this point.

    Thank you so much, Colena

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Colena,

      Because your son is now an adult, his parents income is no considered in determining financial eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability. If your son stops working or his earnings are low (below $1,070 gross), he may qualify for SSI payments. When his father receives Social Security retirement benefits when he retires, you son can apply for disabled adult child benefits on his father’s earnings record.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  134. Mary says:

    I have been out of work for more than 2 years due to the Epidural shot when I had my baby, since then the pain is there and its very painful 24/7 I can not sit or walk for more than 30 minutes , I can not find a job that can be flexible with my pain ,so I applied for SSD but I need to work I have 6 kids , and all the bills are behind, is that going to denied my SSD. I went to physical Therapy it didnt help at all. but I need money for my kids

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary,

      I am not sure what your question is. Could you please clarify. If you have not already done so, I suggest that you contact your state’s health and human services department to see if you are eligible for aid to families with dependent children and/or food stamps to help tide you over.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  135. AJ says:

    I have polycystic Liver and kidney disease and have a helluva time getting up to even go to work at all and can’t just stop work 100% and apply. …. does anybody have any suggestions about a good time frame for applying??

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear AJ,

      It takes two to five months for a new claim decision and longer if you have to appeal. You must reduce your earnings to $1,070 gross monthly or less to be considered disabled. You might check to see whether you have short-term disability coverage through your employer that would tide you over while your Social Security claim is pending.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  136. john says:

    hhi, i was just diagnosed with fibromylogia and osteoarthritis , my pain level is from 8 to 10, i walk with a cane, my jointys hurts so much that i cry with so much pain , i have benn taking hydrcodo,gabapentine,motrin,cyblozapentine also taking pristiq,escitalopram and mirtazapinefor mental disorder, i can’t sleep very well, i have pain if 14 out of 18 trigger points, i can sit for too long nor stand or walk for too long , i forget about things very easy, have difficulties in concentrating, i use to help my wife and kids do the yard now i had to hire a gardener to do the work, all of the medications makes me sleep, and nausea, i have to take nap in the morning and afternoon, im very fatigue, sometime i don’t hear good as i use to, and sometime my vision gets bluddy, i have applied to ssdi through advocator group and have been denied twice, lt just stopped paying me because they used mental disorder as the injury so it pays only for two years, now they are asking for more medical records for my physical injury, which i will provide them with.im 52years old and worked for a company for 31 year i was a plant manager for the last 15 years once they find out i was getting sick they let me go. should i hire an attorney to deal with ltd if they deny my claim and an attorney for the ssdi although i have the advocator group working on it, they don’t use attorneys, only if it gets to the hearing they will hire a local attorney to help me.any help will be appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear John,

      It sounds as if you need an attorney to appeal the closure of your long-term disability (LTD) claim. With regard to your Social Security claim, it sounds as you are already at the hearing level and are waiting for a hearing date. I suggest that you talk with your advocate and ask how they will select an attorney. Also ask about their percentages of approval in your area. That information may help you to decide about your ongoing representation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  137. Trudy says:

    I am 58 with RA. I am still working and am making over the $1070 per month. I can barely make it through the day at work and when I come home cannot do anything. I am receiving medical care from a RA specialist. My question: Can I get state disability while I apply for Social security disability? I have to have some kind of income as I am single.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Trudy,

      Some states have disability insurance and some do not. I suggest contacting your state’s health and human services department to find out what is available. If you have little or no income, you will likely also qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called food stamps.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  138. Laria says:

    Hi Kay,

    I have a unique situation.
    I’m 57. I have worked 2 jobs until the age of 40 (1998).
    Since the year 2000 I have at the same job part time, never earning over $2400/yr.

    Additionally, I tried doing real estate 2008-2010 (never earned any money). Not my personality. It was costing me money, so I got out).
    In 2011 I looked for additional work, BUT my back gave out on me….So I have a bad back. I can’t sit, stand, or walk for more than 15 at a time. I need to lay down during the day. I had to stop looking, but still kept my part time job.

    In August 2014 I had been in a MVA. Now my symptoms are even worse, with my peeing being an issue, so working more hours is NOT possible….I don’t need to go into details. Suffice to say that I AM disabled.

    Bottom line: Since the year 2000, I have never made over $1000/month. In fact, my income per month has been under $300/month for 14 years.

    1)Do I qualify for SSD?
    2)How are working credits assigned?
    3) Is there minimum that SSD pays?
    4)What is the formula that SSD uses for payments?

    I don’t know anything about SSD because THAT was never the plan. The plan was for me to work more because my husband is older (12yrs) and retired. Unfortunately due to my horrid back I am disabled.

    Thank you in advance. M

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laria,

      The maximum number of quarters of coverage (work credits) that can be earned in one year is four. The amount of earnings required for one quarter has increased over the years. The amounts required since 2000 are shown below. You must have twenty quarters of coverage in the ten years before you became disabled. You might have enough earnings to be insured for a low benefit (based on your low earnings). Benefits are calculated based on your total earnings if you have less than thirty-five years work. I have not heard of a minimum benefit.

      Year Earnings for one quarter of coverage
      2000 780
      2001 830
      2002 870
      2003 890
      2004 900
      2005 920
      2006 970
      2007 1,000
      2008 $1,050
      2009 1,090
      2010 1,120
      2011 1,120
      2012 1,130
      2013 1,160
      2014 1,200

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  139. frank says:

    I am 44 years old with sartic nerve pain in lower back for the last 3 years have not quite working earn about 2600 a month but the pain is just getting worse some morning hard to get out of bed I just have a seventh grade education I do construction work driving a truck have to do heavy lifting at times don’t no how much longer I can do it what’s my chances of getting social security disability .very hard to find a better job

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Frank,

      How long have you been doing work that requires heaving lifting? Have you done lighter work? If so, for how long? The information will help me answer your question.

      Thanks,
      Kay

      • frank says:

        I drove a rearloader trash truck for 14 years jumping in and out around 400 to 500 times a day I have not had no easy jobs at all I now drive a concrete truck were I got to put on shoots weigh about 30 pounds each 3 to 4 of them at times.

      • frank says:

        I have had hard jobs sense I was 18 started out trimming trees for 9 years then picking up trash for 14 years jumping in and out of truck 400 to 500 times a day now drive a concrete truck were I got to put on shoots weigh about 30 pounds each 3 to 4 of them like I said just have seventh grade education.have sartic nerve problems in lower back

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Frank,

          If you stop work or reduce your gross earnings to less than $1,070 a month, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI). Another option would be to talk to your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation to see if you could qualify for retraining into a lighter job or for job placement into a lighter job.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  140. Iris says:

    Hi Kay,

    I was so relieved to find your site and that you respond to questions so promptly. I read through many of the questions you answered but I didn’t see anyone in my exact situation. I am 52 years old, working 38 years of my life. For 15 years I’ve been working at a healthcare facility with great health insurance and great pay earning about $48,000 annually. I have been living with lupus nephritis since 1995. At that time, I was disabled for 7 months, applied for social security, was denied, went back to work part-time and became disabled again in less than a year. I probably should have appealed the denial but I was so sick, that the last thing I wanted was to retain an attorney and answer questions. Eventually, I returned to work and somehow I have managed to stay working all of these years. As a result of receiving chemotherapy for 3 years, I became infertile and I went into early menopause at age 37. In 2005 I moved 70 miles away from my job to purchase my first home with my husband and daughter. Fast forward, in 2009, my husband became permanently disabled, and was awarded SSD. I commute a total of about 6 1/2 hours round trip to work, and more depending on traffic, or the weather. I continue to work here because we depend on my health insurance, and also my salary. I’m afraid to get a job closer to home because they pay a lot less upstate, and I worry I may get laid off (last one hired, first one fired). I was recently diagnosed with chronic hives which I was prescribed Atarax and I take 2 pills every night, and during the day I take Claritan and carry an Epi pen. About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism which I took Synthroid, but it was recently changed to Armour because my labs show I am low on DHEA. I suffer from swelling in my body specifically my legs. I hurt my back on the bus about 3 years ago and it caused bulging discs in my back lumbar areas 2,3,4,5. Because of the steriod usage, I also have osteonecrosis in my left shoulder. Being in menopause has caused osteopenia in my lower spine, and hips. I have high cholesterol which is disease related but since I’m getting older, my doctors would like to see it lower or I will be put on cholesterol medications, I also have allergic conjunctivitis. Because I am so exhausted from my health issues, plus side effects from my medications and my long commute, it is a struggle to get up for work because I am so exhausted. It is also difficult to focus on my work since I also suffer from “lupus fog” or “menopause forgetfulness.” The long commute takes a toll on my body, I cannot sit on the bus for long hours because my back hurts, and my legs swell up for standing and sitting for too long. Since I get home so tired and my legs are swollen, I don’t exercise as much as I would like to although I try everyday. Lack of exercise is hurting my bones, and I need to do weight training to strengthen them. I had joined a gym but I cancelled since I could never make it to the gym due to no time and fatigue. I suffer from migraines which get worse when I am sleep deprived (I average 4-5 hours per night). I am really struggling not knowing what to do, I want to quit right now but I need the money and health insurance. I know that as I get older, I will become sicker. I wish I could change my work location but it’s too risky. I have job security and don’t want to lose my job but sometimes I want to throw in the towel. Do you think I would be approved if I applied for Social Security Disability? Should I continue to work until I become sick and cannot work anymore and then apply? Since my husband is collecting SSD, would that affect the decision when computing monthly gross income? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Iris,

      You cannot be approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) while you are working and earning more than $1,070 gross per month. I suggest that you check to see whether you are covered under a disability policy sponsored by your employer. If you are, you could have income during the Social Security claim processing and the five month unpaid waiting period. Also, if you receive benefits from an employer disability policy, you might be eligible for continued health insurance.

      If you are approved, your and your husband’s SSD claims will have no effect on each other.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  141. Jennifer says:

    Hi! I am a 44 yr old woman from TN. I was born with a hole in my heart. I have been a patient of Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville since I had my I my first surgery in 1972 when they went through my back to attempt some repair work. In 1974 I had the major open heart surgery. I did experience delays and all and have continued on with life although physically they put me on no restrictions, I have always known when I was getting too tired and needed to rest. After I turned 40, I had a stent placed and then just about a month ago, I had another stent placed behind that one to open it up and I had another small hole repaired. Before this last surgery, I had a job which not very strenuous and then I was permanently laid off. After that, I took a job working 3rd shift but only worked one night due to experiencing feeling of anxiety. I had also for the last couple of months before experiencing shortness of breath, anxiety, and dizziness. When I contacted my doctor about this, that is when testing was done and I was scheduled for surgery. In fear of loosing everything, I took a job working 30 hours a week for a good friend of mine at a daycare who understood my situation of being off for the surgery. I was working 6 hours a day with toddlers and because of the physical part of it being too much, I transferred to a room where I now work with infants to about 6-8 month olds. If I continue to work in this capacity, will it be impossible for me to get disability? I only work 25 hours a week now and I only make about $8/hr.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      If you are working at maximum capacity, that is, you can’t work more hours, your work may not keep you from being considered disabled. The best way to find out is to file a claim. If possible, have your doctor write up any limitations and restrictions you have. Also, indicate that you reduced your hours and the strength requirements of your job because of your health.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  142. Joseph Walton says:

    Hi I am currently on disability and had forgotten that I had applied for the same condition at 18, I’m 26 now so that was years ago but I’ve been suffering with the same condition the entire time. I never applied for an appeal and when I signed up for disability I had forgotten about my previous claim in doing some research I have realized I may be able to get my past benefits is this true and if so how do I go about it?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joseph,

      It is unlikely that you can get benefits from your first claim because you did not appeal the denial.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  143. karen k says:

    I had back surgery and have nerve damage and I was a cna do youthink iI can get disability.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Karen,

      If you are expected to be disabled from your CNA occupation for more than twelve months and you are age fifty or over, it’s possible you could be approved. If you are under age fifty and there are no other occupations that you can physically

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  144. tan smith says:

    Hi Kay I got a knee replacement in I been off work since 2008 everytime I apply I get turned down I can’t use my left hand anymore and my can’t stand no more that 20 mins at time walking is hard I have artistic in my back and other knee I worked on the same job for 19yrs until I got my knee replacement why can’t I get ssi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tan,

      If you are under age fifty, you must be disabled not only from jobs you have done in the past, but also other occupations that you could otherwise perform. May jobs do not require standing, so your left hand limitations may be important to your claim.

      I suggest that you talk with your doctor about what your limitations and restrictions are and see whether he or she will make a statement about your limitations or at least record them in your medical chart. Then file an application and claim disability on the date right after the last denial letter you got. (You might still be able be able to get Social Security Disability (SSDI) based on your earnings record.) If you are denied, talk with a knowledgeable Social Security attorney. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  145. Michelle says:

    Question: If someone gets self-employment like a home business as MLM, will he/she keep their benefits lower than $1070 per month? If over $1070 per month, what will happen to this person’s benefits? Ex: one person earns benefits of $900 SSDI and $1000 home business? How does it works?

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      If the person receives Social Security Disability (SSDI), not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the law includes several return-to-work incentives that allow continuation of benefits while working. However, they apply to people who have not recovered from their disabilities.
      If earnings are being held down when the person has the capacity to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which usually means earnings over $1,070 gross per month, then the person has recovered and needs to report that. In such a case, he or she wouldn’t necessarily be eligible for the work incentives and continuing benefits.

      If the person is trying to work and may not have recovered enough to sustain SGA, there is a nine-month Trial Work Period during which benefits continue even if earnings are above SGA. At the end of that period, there can be a thirty-six month Extended Period of Disability, during which benefits are paid only in months that earnings are below SGA. After that, benefits and eligibility will stop the first month the person is over SGA although Medicare may continue for an additional period. You can read about these incentives by going to http://www.socialsecurity.gov and searching for the “Red Book.”

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  146. Terry says:

    Kay, I have Psoriatic Arthritis and Osteoarthritis, I’ve had this sence 2009 and have worked full time with it. But with taking all the medication and just over the years it’s taken it toll on my body. I’m 50 and I’m going to try going part time, this will take me under the $1070 a mo number. My first question is if my husband is still working making a good pay will this hurt my chance on getting SSD? My second question is what would be better to fully quite my job or see if I can go part time, does it look better with SSD if you stay working or if you stop working?

    Thank you
    Terry

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Terry,

      Your husband’s income is not considered in determining your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. I can’t predict how a determiner might subjectively look at complete cease work versus cutting hours. However, objectively, if the medical evidence supports the need to drop to part time and you are below the substantial gainful activity level, you qualify for benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  147. Ben says:

    I’m 48 and work as a warehouse manager. (The job requires heavy lifting 30-40% of the time) I had low back surgery and have been on employer paid short term disability for about five months now. I’m still not 100% and can receive long term disability benefits when the STD runs out. My question is- Should I try to return to work with restrictions from my doctor? (no lifting, bending, ect) If I do try it and find that I’m in too much pain, will I need to reapply for ST/LT disability benefits, reopen my existing claim, SSDI or be denied all together?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ben,

      There is not easy answer to your question because there are several possible scenarios.

      Your short-term disability (STD) policy and (LTD) policy have provisions that govern payment based on second periods of disability. Each policy probably has a provision called “recurrent disability” or something similar. It will tell you, based on how long you were back to work before you had to stop again due to the same condition, whether or not your prior claim will be reopened or you will have to file a new claim. Of course, either way, you would have to present medical evidence that you were not able to continue working. Therefore, you should stay under the care of a physician and visit a physician periodically for examination and to report any continuing problems, pain levels, etc.

      A second possibility is that if your return to work with restrictions causes you to be working in a different occupation, your STD and LTD policies may require you to become disabled from the new, more recent occupation. And a final consideration regarding LTD is that most policies pay benefits for a limited period of time–often two years–for being disabled from the occupation being performed at the time disability began; then for payments to continue, you are required to be disabled from all occupations.

      As far as Social Security Disability (SSDI) goes, if you return to work and have to stop again due to the same condition and you worked less than six months, it is possible that Social Security will treat the work as an unsuccessful work attempt and accept your first cease work date as the beginning of your disability. Note that if you are age fifty or older, you must be disabled from all occupations you have done in the past. If you are under age fifty, you must also be disabled from all other occupations for which you have transferable skills.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  148. Theo says:

    Hi kay have a question we come from Netherlands early next year we are going to emigrate to America have won the green card my question is. Can I also get obamacare medicaid I can’t work have a disability benefit from the Netherlands of $ 1800 per month There am I entitled to up to 67 years We are a family with 1 child and cannot pay $ 500/700 a month for health insurance or more

  149. Sue says:

    My husband has been out of work since January 2014. He filed for SSDI at his doctors advise. Of course he was denied in less thank 6 weeks. SSA sent him to a Chiro, and a Physch. Both doctors spent less thank 5 minutes with him. We have wrapped up over 20,000 in medical bills for testing and treatments. He has DDD, with Bulging Discs, Major Depressive Disorder, Prior Broken Back and Spinal Fusion over 10 years ago. We did get an Attorney, SSA did an auto re-determination and denied again within a week. We are waiting for a hearing in NC. Currently we have lost our vehicles and are a few days from the Bank starting to Foreclose, We have applied for everything…. except for 109 a month in FS we have been told all is good but will need to wait for the hearing. From I have read if someone is willing to hire him part-time, this will not affect his out come if he is only making 200 per week… Does it really take 2 years to get a hearing??? and up to three to get paid..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sue,

      As long as your husband is earning less than $1,070 gross per month and isn’t capable of earning more, part-time work should not adversely affect his claim. I would, however, recommend that he discuss his plan to work with his attorney. It usually takes about a year to get a hearing date and sixty days or more to get a decision after the hearing and another thirty to ninety days for benefits to begin.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  150. chi says:

    Hello
    I am legally blind and I’m ssdi. If I get a job and i earn 1700 each month, how will it affect my medicare? If I go for hospital visits, will be paying the bill myself?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chi,

      If Social Security has found you to be legally blind, you can earn up to $1,800 gross per month and still be considered disabled and receive benefits and keep your Medicare. I suggest that you contact Social Security to be sure you are on their records as legally blind and not as just having low vision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  151. Robin says:

    Hi Kay,
    My younger brother (40ish) recently obtained a kidney transplant. He has been on dialysis and receiving SSD for several years. I know that he will not lose his Medicare for 3 years, but at what point will he lose his disability? It takes time to finish all those transplant center appointments, adjust to the side effects of the anti-rejection medication, and heal sufficiently to jump back into the job market after so long away. He has had a difficult road to recovery after kidney transplant and he is concerned about this.
    Thanks,
    Robin

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robin,

      Your brother’s Social Security should continue through his recovery and stabilization period. He may also be eligible for Social Security’s return-to-work incentives. I suggest that when he is a bit stronger he ask for a Social Security Ticket to Work, which will show his intent to try to work. He may then be eligible for a nine-month trial work period during which benefits will continue.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  152. Lori says:

    Hello, I was trying to apply for Social Security Disability for my husband who is still currently working. But with his multiple ailments, he won’t be able to work much longer. I wanted to get a head start on this, but I got no farther than “date last worked” on the online application. What should I put in that section just to get this started? If he doesn’t work, we don’t eat. or live in our home. Thanks for any advice.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lori,

      If your husband is earning more than $1,070 gross per month, unless he is not really doing his job and is receiving subsidized pay from his employer (which can be hard to prove), he is not considered disabled by Social Security. This means that he either has to stop work or reduce his work hours and earnings to less than $1,070 to have the possibility of being approved. If he is earning less than $1,070 gross, you can apply and enter the date that his earnings dropped below that amount. Then explain in the remarks section that he continues to work below $1,070.

      It takes two to five months for a Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability claim to be processed. SSDI is not paid for the first five full calendar months of disability. SSI benefits usually begin to accrue the month after the month of application.

      Because of the processing time, you may wish to investigate what assistance would be available if your husband had to stop work. Perhaps his employer has a short-term disability policy. Also you might check with the state or county social services about utility assistance and food stamps.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  153. Dana says:

    I applied for SSD about 4 years ago and since then I was able to find a temp on call job when called to work.I make very good money for the time I work, well over 1400 that month but only work a few weeks a year.If I make 16,000.00 in a 6 week period,would I be able to collect SSD the other 10 months a year?This is a job that is will never become a full time position.
    Thanks,Dana

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dana,

      If you have already been approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) and you have not recovered from your disability, there is a possibility that your earnings could be treated as earnings during a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). For example, if the six weeks in your example is spread over two months, then you would be using two months of your TWP. If the six weeks stretch over three months and you earn at least $770 in each of the three months, you would be using up three of the nine TWP months. After the nine months, which do not have to be consecutive, there is a thirty-six-month period of extended disability during which you can receive benefits in all months that your work is not substantial. (The thirty-six months are consecutive calendar months.) Substantial work is usually $1,070 gross earnings per month. After the thirty-six months, your eligibility terminates. Whether your claim is pending in appeals or you have been approved, you need to report this work activity as soon as possible. Provide proof of earnings and the start and end dates of the work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  154. pamela says:

    I have Lupus, If my doctor fills out the papers, And sends it in as he said he will on my next visit, Will having the Doctor send them in the papers, What are my odds of it getting approved,,, And if they do approve it, I do not have all the credits in, SSD told me how much I will get, its like a little over 400 dollars, Why I did not get enough points is because I worked at a school, So if its approved can I draw off my husband to get more money to help me, So ya lots of questions, But if anyone has the answers i have asked would be a gift, An a blessing to get them answered,,,

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pamela,

      It is good that your doctor is completing the claim papers for you; attending physicians’ opinions are carefully considered in making a decision about whether you are disabled according to Social Security law.

      If you are under age thirty-one, you must have earned half of the possible work credits you could earn between ages twenty-one and when you became disabled. The minimum is six credits and the minimum applies if you are under age twenty-one. If you are age thirty-one or older, you must have earned twenty credits in the five years before becoming disabled.

      You can only receive dependent benefits on your husband’s record if you have a child of his under age sixteen in your care or you are age sixty-two or older.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  155. Carol says:

    Hi,
    I have been on short term disability since 4/13/14. I’m 61 years of age and was planning to retire at 62.
    My company does not offer LTD for me as I’m an hourly worker.

    I did apply for SSD and I’m waiting for a response. I can no longer perform my job function as I have chronic radiation enteritis and have just been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, arthritis and a bulging disk in my lower back.

    I want to tell my company that I have applied for SSD and that I won’t be returning to work and I am retiring. Is this the right thing to do, or should I wait until the 26 weeks are finished and they separate me from the company? I can go on my husbands medical coverage where he works, but it will cost me much more than what I’m paying on my employer’s plan.

    Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Carol,

      You will have to make your own decision; however, it appears that it would be to your advantage to wait to resign until your short-term disability benefits end and you are no longer eligible for health insurance. Also, you have not yet been approved SSD and your conditions could improve.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  156. Gary Farrall says:

    Hello,
    I have been on state disability for 12 months and the Dr has me out of work for another 7-10 more months. Is there anyway that I can get any type of income from the state or feds until I can go back to work? if anyone knows a good answer please let me know or reply to my email as well.
    Thank you,
    Gary

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gary,

      You can apply for Social Security Disability. If you are age fifty or over, you must be disabled from occupations you have performed in the past. If you are under age fifty, you must also be disabled from all other occupations you could perform. (Note: I removed your email address from your post to protect your privacy. For assistance while your Social Security claim is pending, contact your state or county social services agency to see if they have disability assistance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  157. Marie says:

    If I allow my spouse to get disability from my SS because she didn’t qualify, can I later retract that decision?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marie,

      Spouse’s benefits are not paid based on disability. You have to be receiving benefits for a spouse to get benefits, and your spouse has to either have a child of yours under age sixteen in her care or she has to be at least sixty-two years of age. Eligibility is governed by law, not your choice, so if she meets the qualifications and you are getting benefits, she can apply for and receive benefits without your approval. Her getting benefits would not reduce your benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  158. Ivy says:

    Hi, Im 38 year old I work in a Medical field,I have Major Depression Desorder How do I Know if I cann apply ssd?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ivy,

      At age thirty-eight you must be unable to work in any occupation. If you think that is true, the only way to find out if you will approved is to apply. It sounds as if you are still working. You either need to stop working or drop your earnings below $1,070 gross per month; otherwise, your claim will be denied.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  159. Bruce Rooney says:

    Hello Kay,
    I was diagnosed may20th 2010 with stage three Multiple Myeloma. I had a stem cell transplant april 22nd 2011. and relapsed in the spring of 2013. I also have multiple bone issues and fractures common with this cancer. in addition I have a blood clot in my caradid artery with disection that is being monitored. I am on chemotheropy indefinitly.

    Kay I am still working believe it or not, but I do not know how long I can hold out. My issue is like everyone I have a family,morgage and collage tuition. stopping work with no income is not possible. Also I am 53 years old. What course of action should I take with regards to appling for disability.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Bruce,

      You will be denied if you are working earning more than $1,070 gross per month. It can take two to five months for a decision and Social Security Disability has an unpaid, five calendar-month waiting period before benefits begin to accrue.That said, if you gather your medical records that confirm your diagnosis and the severity of complications you have because of it and submit it immediate with the application forms, there is a possibility the claim would be expedited because the claim file has everything needed to make the decision without further investigation. It is a long shot but not impossible.

      Some companies have short-term or long-term disability policies that will take less time to process and could have shorter waiting periods. Also, some states have financial assistance for disabled individuals while waiting for a disability decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  160. Jennifer says:

    I had to stop working due to RA in 2008. I filed for SSD then, was denied, appealed, and finally got a hearing almost 4 years later in 2011 – and I was denied. I still couldn’t work. My condition has worsened and I cannot work, but we are in danger of losing our home so I applied again. However, it says that I don’t qualify because I haven’t worked enough credits in the past 10 years, but I worked full time for the 20 years before that. Is there anything I can do?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      When you applied this last time, what date of disability did you claim? You can claim any date after the hearing denial. If the hearing denial occurred while you were still insured, which could be until sometime in 2013, you can claim a date while still insured. You might be able to do this in an appeal; that is, appeal saying that you claimed the wrong date and correct it to a date before your insured status ran out.

      Also, did you apply for both Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? If you haven’t been able to pay your mortgage, maybe your family income is low enough for you to qualify for SSI, which does not have a work credit requirement for citizens and some aliens. If you did apply for both, the SSI claim may still be pending.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  161. Angela Rogers says:

    Hello there,
    I have been working since I was 16 I am now 43. I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome about eight years ago I have continue to work part time. The last year has been very difficult I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, mixed connective tissue disorder and peri nous anemia . What I qualify for the disability with these conditions?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angela,

      You might qualify for disability benefits. It will depend on how severely you are limited by your medical conditions.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  162. Daniel says:

    Hi … Back in 1986 I was approved for SSI because I was born profound deafness ..went to rehabilitation school for about a year to see what kind of job I can do….found a job full time at a ceramic shop…my SSI was dropped due to making money over the limit…, then sadly ,they closed it business but few days later a friend help me get on Kohl s department store ..I’ve been at this store for 17 years full time as dept. supervisor..but now ..my hearing has gotten worse and I cant understand a customer’s question very well. And my boss do understand my problem but the complaints customer made affect my job a lot harder..I am thinking of going part time but since I have been approved before..can they put me back on SSI without waiting for 5 months for my check ? My boss wants to keep me on part time for truck unload and no contact to customers.
    Am I still on SSA file after 28 years ? What do I need to do to help make this work quickly as possible ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Daniel,

      If you file an application, file for both Social Security Disability (SSDI) based on your work earnings and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Do mention that you received SSI in the 1980s; however, your current eligibility will be based on your current medical condition, education, training, and work history. If you are under age fifty, you must be disabled from all occupations that you could perform if you did not have your medical condition. If you are age fifty or older, you only have to be disabled from the kind of work you have done in the past. If you work part-time you will not be eligible while working if your gross earnings are substantial. The earnings threshold for substantial earnings is currently $1,070.

      The five-month, unpaid waiting period applies to Social Security. SSI benefits begin the month after application. Claims currently take two to five months for a decision plus additional processing time for payment to start.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  163. Kat D says:

    I am currently on temporary disability. I will be needing to go on permanent disability but I am planning a move in the next month. Do I apply in my current state or wait until I move and pursue this?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kat,

      Wait until you move. However, if you have been disabled seventeen months or more, be sure to at least start your application in the month of August.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  164. Kris says:

    Hi, my husband has had to quit his job a little over a month ago due to not being able to continue to do the work that is required. He had back surgery in 2004 which resulted in foot drop. He did r cover to about 80% with physical therapy and a TENS unit, his surgeon told him then to apply and he wouldn’t. He wanted to go back to work. He had his second back surgery October 2013 and he just can not continue to do his job due to the weakness and pain in his left leg. His surgeon is no longer in our insurance network so we are seeing a new surgeon on monday to see if there is anything else they can do (which I don’t think there is) his mri reads like a horror story. I’ve been reading that back issues are the hardest to get put through. Is there anything at all I can do to help his case? I have started filing online but haven’t submitted yet until we see what the dr says tomorrow. I feel so bad for him. He can’t sit, stand or walk for any given amount of time due to his pain. He’s depressed, won’t eat, won’t venture outside the house much. He says he feels like a failure because he isn’t contributing. I’m afraid he’s spiraling downhill and there isn’t a return if we can’t get this through. He’s 53 and has been doing the same job for 17 years. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kris,

      Continue to file the claim and be sure to list the mental health issues as well as the physical. Because he is over fifty, he will be approved if he can’t do the occupations he has done in the past. I suggest that you get all records that show all his surgeries including the records of the prior surgeon. If he isn’t getting care for the depression, he could help his claim (and himself) by seeing a doctor about it. You can read tips about filing a disability application under the “File for SSD” tab at http://www.disabilityadvisor.com.

      If he is denied, I suggest that he appeal with a good Social Security lawyer. He does not have to pay any legal fees up front and he will pay attorney fees only if he is approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount his attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to him. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  165. Mark says:

    Hi, I’m 61 with moderate to severe nerve root compression, neuropathy in both legs, moderate to severe hearing loss, and kerotuconus in both eyes, I’ve been off work since December 3rd 2013, at my age sugery is very risky for my back…will ssdi require me to have the sugery in order to be approved…? I filed in January, my onset date is December 3rd, no decision yet.

  166. erica says:

    Hello kay ! So glad to find this website. okay so heres my problem well, actually two! it’s for my inlaws. My mother in law has been out of work since 97. She has a brain tumor and recently been having heart problems she just had heart surgery this past holiday season. She still has seizures but not as much. She’s never applied for d.i but decided this year to do so, but she went right with a lawyer instead of just applying by herself and seeing the end results. Should she continue with the lawyer or just do it on her own? Next question(s). My father inlaw has worked for the same company since 95. he was terminated in 2012. Was approved for U.I but was turned over to disability he had D.I for 2 years and then cut him off. Should he get a lawyer to fight his case? My fatehr inlaw is 61 and my mother in law is 54 years. Thanks in advance

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Erica,

      There is no reason for your mother-in-law not to continue with an attorney. I am not sure what you mean by “D.I.” but regardless whether you mean Social Security Disability or disability insurance under an employer or private party, if your father-in-law is still disabled, yes, he should get an attorney and appeal. If your father-in-law is not receiving Social Security Disability by the time he reaches age sixty-two, he can apply for reduced Social Security Retirement benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  167. Julie monroe says:

    My husband is on std which will be over next month, his employer sId he is not able to give him his job back when he is able to return to work. Will my husband be able to collect unemployment after the disability runs out?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Julie,

      Your husband needs to check with the unemployment bureau of his state to find out about specific laws, but I would think that if your husband becomes able to return to work and there is no work for him, he could be eligible for unemployment.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  168. Ellen says:

    If a woman got hurt and unemployed after the injury… applied for disability then got a full time job making 40,000 a year… several months into the job received a notice of approval of total disability claim… worked for a year then was fired or quit for reasons not related to disability… can she just automatic be fully disabled again? (and brag about being able to quit whenever her boss makes her mad because she makes more money on disability)
    Or is this fraud?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ellen,

      I don’t know whether the person you are talking about has committed fraud or not; sometimes things look different from the outside than they actually are. Social Security does allow trial work periods under some circumstances during which benefits continue to be paid. If you think that the person is not disabled, you can report your observations to Social Security and let them know that she stopped working for non-disability related reasons. They will then investigate to see if the person is still disabled.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  169. Jami says:

    Dear Kay
    My mother is only 57 however has multiple medical issues. She only has 33 credits when we attempted to apply for disability for her its states she need 36. She is a widow so she was hoping to receive her deceased husbands ss once she reached 60. She makes less than 1000 a month since her job only allows part time and she has no insurance to see a dr. She lives with me and my family. We saw that she could get her deceased husbands ss at 50 if she was disabled. Is this true and do I need to take her down to ss office to start the process?
    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jami,

      I disabled widow can begin to receive benefits at age fifty. The benefit is reduced more than it is reduced at age sixty. Full widow’s benefits begin at full retirement age. The reduction is permanent. If your mother is still working and continues to work, she will have earned enough credits within another year to be insured for disability benefits, assuming that twenty of the credits are from the last ten years.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  170. I am currently working for the Federal Government and I have been suffering for years with Bipolar Disorder and Degenerative Disk Disease. Lately my bipolar episodes have been getting worse with stress and I have been missing work because I am afraid I will hurt someone. I want to retire but I am only 47 and early retirement I would have to be 57. Last year I took off for a month due to an earlier episode and they said I could have file workers comp but since I had the leave and my shrink wrote them a letter they didn’t have a problem allow me to take the time off. Should I consider filing SSI Disability? I do not want to be fired because of my anger issues due to my mental illness, but I am not sure I can control my outburst.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laura,

      I suggest that you discuss your condition with your psychiatrist and get his or her opinion about whether to apply. If your control problem would occur in any work environment and there is not something about this particular workplace that is triggering it, then it could be appropriate to apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI). You should also find out whether your government employer has a short-term disability program that would provide income during the first five months of disability that Social Security does not cover.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

    • Angela Goff says:

      I have the same disorder, as far as the degenerative and buldging disc, and pain, but my son has had bipolar, and the pain as well, the same and other issues since he was a teen.He, is now 25. I really think we both need help, but can’t afford it. I would like to ask if you might have any numbers we could call. I would also like to say if we can be of help we are here, and, we understand. I hope it all works out for ya! God bless yall!

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Angela,

        Discuss your situation and your son’s situation with an attorney. Whether or not you file a claim using an attorney, you should provide as much information (including medical records) to either to Social Security or to your attorney if you have one. Social Security will request information and records, but you cannot count on their getting everything you might want considered. I suggest discussing the need for MRIs with your physicians and any attorney you consult with.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  171. Mark says:

    Dear Kay,
    I am just about to the point of no longer being able to work because of pain associated with a spinal fracture earlier in life. I have always worked through the pain by taking many advil during my shift and while not working as well. Over the years the pain has gotten to the point of being intolerable. now advil no longer works and I’ve started getting headaches very frequently. Causing me to take more and more days off work. Yet if I don’t work I will become homeless . I’m lost and feel hopeless with nowhere to turn .I have no insurance to see a doctor but I really need to do something quick.I need help now.my mind is starting to slip with memory loss.and its affecting my ability to do my job. What should I do?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mark,

      Check with your employer to find out whether you are covered by a short-term or long-term disability policy that would pay you benefits while you are waiting for a Social Security decision. If you don’t have employer-sponsored benefits, check with your state or county’s health and human resources department to find out whether they have temporary cash assistance for disabled individuals who apply for Social Security Disability. Also inquire about any free or low cost clinics where you could get medical care. Lastly, you might inventory your possessions to see if you have anything of value to sell that would cover your living expenses during the five-month unpaid period before Social Security begins to accrue.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  172. Kay says:

    I am bit confused about trial work during receive SSDI. If I earned $900 dollars for next 9 months. What will it happen after that?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kay,

      The following describes work incentives for Social Security Disability. It does not apply to Supplemental Security Income. A thirty-six month Extended Period of Eligibility follows the nine-month Trial Work Period (the nine months may not be consecutive months). During those thirty-six months, you can receive benefits for each month in which your work is not substantial. (Currently, $1,070 gross wages or net profit in self-employment is considered substantial.) At the end of the thirty-six calendar-month period, your benefits and eligibility terminate in the first month in which your earnings are substantial. The Red Book, which can be found at http://www.ssa.gov describes Social Security’s work incentives in more detail.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  173. Vicky says:

    I am currently receiving income from ssdi and my ltdi company. My ltdi company said I had to file for ssdi within a certain period of time for my benefits to continue. I did because I didn’t know any better. Although I’m getting the same amount of money each month, I will now be responsible for taxes on the ssdi portion. If I didn’t have ssdi, my ltdi benefits would be tax free money. Because of ssdi, only the ltdi portion is tax free. The difference is significant.

    Do all ltdi companies force you to file for ssdi to receive their benefits? Or does it matter what state you live in? I’m in the process of obtaining a copy of my ltdi policy. Am I on the right track?

    Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vicky,

      Most long-term disability insurance (LTD) policies do require application for Social Security Disability and reduce the LTD benefit by the Social Security. This should be described in your policy. Depending on your overall income not all of Social Security is taxable and if your income is under a certain level, none of it is. You can find a Social Security tax worksheet at http://www.irs.gov.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  174. Melissa says:

    Hi about 5 years ago I was on SSA and SSI I started a part time job because theysaid it was cheaper to live in Ct than in Ca so I had no choice to be able to psy bills.They. said I made to much so they stopped my benefits . My disabilities have started flaring back up plus now I have a herniated disk. Between this and pain meds I have a hard time functioning. My question is since I’ve been on it already will I be able to get it back and will it be easier this time?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melissa,

      You have to file new SSI applications. Whether or not you have to file a new Social Security Disabilty (SSDI) application depends on timing. If less than five years pass between the last date you were eligible for benefits and when you cease work again or drop your earnings below $1,070 gross per month and apply for reinstatement, you may be eligible for expedited reinstatement. Expedited reinstatement does not require a full new application and provides for temporary benefits while awaiting a medical decision. You can read more about expedited reinstatement at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook/eng/ssdi-and-ssi-employments-supports.htm#7=&a0=9.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  175. Gary says:

    Hello, I am a profound deaf since birth. I am still working a full time job. I am 49 and single.

    I am wondering if there is possible to qualify SSDI or something the benefits for my deaf from birth. That won’t affect my salary from work.

    I know people from Social Security Administration won’t tell me about this. I need to find out if there is possible to get the benefits on my hard of hearing without any affect to my work.

    Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gary,

      If you are earning $1,070 gross or more per month, you are not disabled according to Social Security law. You would have to stop working or reduce your work to below that level before applying. Then Social Security would evaluate whether your hearing disables you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  176. Mady says:

    Hello Kay,
    My doctor just fill out a residual capacity form for my denial (reconsideration).
    on the question number 22. How you expect the patients / disability to change over time?. she answer- one year and on the question number 23. when you expect the patient to be able to return to work?
    she answer- 3-4 month with lifting restrictions. I was diagnose with fibromialgya and a slight disc space narrowing.I’m suffering from neck, spine and back pain. is this going to be a problem to be denied again?
    Thank you , Mady

  177. Mady says:

    Hello Kay,
    My doctor just fill out a residual capacity form for my denial (reconsideration).
    on the question number 22. How you expect the patients / disability to change over time?. she answer- one year and on the question number 23. when you expect the patient to be able to return to work?
    she answer- 3-4 month with lifting restrictions. I was diagnose with fibromialgya and a slight disc space narrowing.I’m suffering from neck, spine and back pain. is this going to be a problem to be denied again?
    Thank you , Mady

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mady,

      There is a problem with the doctor’s statement. First there is an inconsistency within the statement. If the doctor is saying you can’t work now and a change will not occur for a year. If this is true, then logically you would not be able to work in three to four months. If the doctor thinks that you can work in three to four months with lifting restrictions, then she should also list what those restrictions are and correct the one year statement.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  178. Patricia says:

    Dear Kay,

    I have been on short term disability leave from work for the past 5 months. Due to severe depression and anxiety, I am not sure if I can return to the stress of my job and hostile working environment and scare tactics. My doctor referred me for possible job retraining in another field however, would I qualify for continued SSI, SSD or LTD if I were to be able to handle retraining? I have been paying into a private LTD plan for several years. I am not able to focus on many tasks and not ready to go to school yet. I have no idea how any of this works. I am 46. Thank you so much.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Patricia,

      Most long-term disability policies require you to be disabled only from your own occupation for the first year or two. Disability does have to be from the occupation and not just the employer. In other words, if you could do the same occupation for a different employer that didn’t have a hostile work environment, your LTD claim wouldn’t be approved. Since your doctor is recommending retraining, he must think you cannot do the occupation anywhere.

      Because you are under age fifty, Social Security requires that you be disabled from all occupations for which you are qualified, not just jobs you have done before. If you are disabled by their rules, getting retraining for an occupation would likely not cause your benefits to stop until you were actually retrained and able to do that other occupations. Even then, you might qualify for a nine-month trial work period during which benefits would continue.

      Overall, your best course of action is to apply for both Social Security and LTD. (You likely don’t qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which has income limits because you are receiving short-term disability (STD). Oh, also request a copy of your complete LTD insurance policy, which should provide information about any return-to-work incentives built into it.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  179. Heidi says:

    Hello, I left my job on 1/1/2013 due to bi-polar/depression and I also have Asthma/COPD. I am 46 years old. I received STD and then LTD 7/1/2013 and my LTD carrier said I had to file for SSD, which I did in Oct 2013. It is pending. LTD cut off my benefit on 2/1/2014 on the basis that I was not a full-time (30 hours a week) employee the 3 months prior to me leaving the job (Oct – Dec 2012). Now i have no income. My question is, can I look for part-time work or full-time work under the “Back to work Program”? I’m afraid I can’t work full time, since I have terrible side affects from the medications. ie: severe diarrhea, shortness of breath and can not stand or walk for more than 15 minutes at a time. But I need money to pay my bills. If I work and earn less than $750 do I report this to the SSD or only when it’s over that amount? I know that is 3 questions, but I eagerly await your response.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Heidi,

      You have already been off work for a year, so if you have not recovered from your disability, you will likely be allowed a Social Security trial work period, which is a part of Social Security’s return-to-work incentives. Any month that you earn $770 gross or more would count toward the nine-month trial work period. You should report all work to Social Security, even if it is under $770.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  180. Crystal says:

    My fmla expires on the 23rd of this month. I’m currently out of work on short term disability. My employer offers a long term disability insurance. Is it better to take the LTD and then apply for SSDI? Or do I have a better chance if I resign from my job for medical reasons and then apply for SSDI? Or perhaps have my employer let me go? If I choose to get the LTD through my work how will I know that I will be approved for it? Also it seems that with the LTD their main goal is to get you back to work which I don’t think I am able to do. I’ve been struggling though work for years only because we didn’t really have a choice financially and the only reason I haven’t been fired yet is because my boss is utterly fantastic and we have a great relationship. Any other job would have fired me years ago due to my absenteeism.

    I’ve continuously missed work over the past 6 years because I was always so sick. In 2011 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I also have raynauds, IBS, migraines, vasculitis, erosive esophagitis, Gastroparisis, interstitial cystitis, chronic uti, fibro, two failed knee surgeries, a hysterectomy for endometriosis, Some osteoarthritis, some disc herniations and DDD.

    I’m out on STD right now because I required a fusion of my right sacroiliac joint due to SIJD and sacroilitis. The surgery recovery is three months and then they want me to have my left side fused also. I do not have enough FMLA or STD to get the other surgery right now.

    My husband and I discussed that now may be the right time to apply for SSDI given all my problems but I am scared and the process seems confusing. Also I’m worried that my medical records don’t really document anything about my ability to work even though I’ve discussed how badly these problems affect my ability to make it through work everyday, mostly just symptoms and medications.

    Also I read that you need to get a protective filing date for SSDI and then you have to apply within 6 months of that date, is that correct?

    I apologize for the long winded post but I really would appreciate any advice you could give me that might make this decision easier for me.

    Thank you so much for listening.

    Crystal

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Crystal,

      If you cannot return to work, definitely apply for both long-term disability (LTD) and Social Security Disability (SSDI). Do not terminate your employment because other benefits such as continuation of health insurance may hinge on your being an employee. Of course, at some point your employer may decide to terminate you, but I wouldn’t initiate it yourself.

      LTD policies usually have a less strict definition of disability for the first year or two of benefits than Social Security has. You have already been approved for short-term disability; so if your health has not improved substantially, you have a good chance of being approved for LTD. List all your limiting conditions in your claim, including those you struggled with while working. The insurance company will consider all your conditions, including your upcoming need for another surgery.

      The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows up to six months to complete an application after starting the claim process but does not require you to take that long. I recommend that you start on your Social Security claim as soon as you complete your LTD claim application. If you have been off work a year, then do establish a protective filing date by starting the claim this month to avoid losing potential back benefits and then complete the application as soon as you can after the LTD application has been submitted.

      With regard to documentation how your multiple conditions affect your ability to work, you can make a statement that your employer has accommodated you by not firing you for absenteeism and also for tolerating deficits in work performance, if there were any. If the payroll department has a record of your absences, you could get a statement from them listing the absences if they are really excessive. For your SSDI application, also be sure to list all your medical conditions, when they began, when and where they were treated, and how they limit you individually and together. More information about filing claims can be found under the “Apply for SSD” tab on http://www.disabilityadvisor.com.

      When a person has multiple conditions, sometimes it is helpful to have Social Security attorney assistance even with the initial claim and certainly if you are denied. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  181. steven mullins says:

    I filled for disability in 2011 an was Denise twice it went to apiles judge an denied again lawyer soiled again an haven’t got verdict back was wondering if trying to go back to work to try to catch up on very for behind pills would affect the disition.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steven,

      I suggest that you discuss your claim and possible work with your attorney. A typographical error makes it unclear to me whether your attorney filed an appeal with the Appeals Council or helped you file a new claim. If you have an appeal pending, a current return to work could be treated as a trial work period and not affect your claim. Of course, there is always the possibility that it could be thought that if you can work now, you could have worked all along, but there is no way to know; it might be fine to try to work. If your work is not “substantial gainful activity,” that is you earn less than $1,070 gross per month, it is less likely work would have any impact on approval than if you earned more.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  182. lynn says:

    Hi, I am in kidney failure, I am not on dialysis just yet and I am working full time at the moment. I am more and more tired and not feeling very well everyday. I was on ssdi before and went back to work because my kidney was doing well. Now its doing bad and i will need a kidney transplant, its been a little over five years since i started working. Just wondering if i have to fill out all new paper work. Or could they possible pull the information from before ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lynn,

      When you cease work, you will have to file a new application. On the application, let them know that you were approved previously, received benefits, improved and went back to work, and are now relapsing. The information will provide needed background. If you are going to be receiving dialysis while you wait for a kidney transplant, you can become eligible for only Medicare to cover the dialysis, even while you are working, by filing a Medicare only application.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  183. Donna says:

    Hello I am 44 yrs old and have chronic venous insufficientcy. I have had all the surgeries I can have and have had this for the past 10 yrs. I have long term disability through work and want to know if I can use that while I’m waiting for disability. Also With Disability do you need a secondary insurance plan for medical?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Donna,

      You can receive long-term disability (LTD) insurance while waiting for your Social Security Disability (SSDI) application to be processed. If you are approved for SSDI for months for which you have already received LTD, your insurance company will most likely require that you use some of your SSDI back pay to repay the LTD that was not due. For example, if you received $2,000 LTD and were awarded $1,500 SSDI for the same month, you would need to repay $1,500 of the LTD for that month. After you have received twenty-four months of SSDI benefits, including back-pay months, you will be eligible for Medicare.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  184. esperanza says:

    I have been unable to work since may-2013 due to ankle pain due to different issues with my ankle. I did go back to work on a restriction of 5 hours a day I went the first day and my ankle swelled up where I could not return the next day I saw the first dr. and I tried the cam-walker orthodicts injections of cortisone he never said surgery so he wanted a second opinion. So I have been seeing the 2nd dr and he ordered richi brace and continue with cam-walker and orthodicts and the pain is so intense that I cant even be on my feet for long periods of time so I have been on state disability and is ending next month I did apply for ssdi back in jan now my dr said I need surgery to correct my ankle issues first he said recovery would be a year now he says 3 months and now I have no more medical coverage cobra to expensive. So now I don’t know what to expect cause I need surgery but how can I get surgery if I don’t have insurance Obamacare to expensive my husband job does not offer insurance temp. agency so how will that affect my application to ssdi.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Esperanza,

      Not having money for the surgery will not affect your claim for disability benefits.

      It sounds as if you have received new information about your condition after filing your claim. I suggest you get a copy of those newer records and get them to Social Security as fast as you can. Submit a letter saying that you do not know when you will be able to get the recommended surgery for lack of insurance and lack of funds to pay cash.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  185. Steven says:

    Hi my wife is trying to get disabliity and i wont be able to work much longer i have some weird issue with my nerves joints and a multitude of mental disorders i cant afford to stop working cause of child support what can i do i cant goto jail while waiting on disability

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steven,

      I suggest that you get some information about from the court that issued the support order support about what happens when your income decreases or stops. Does your responsibility change?

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  186. jen says:

    Dear Kay,
    My husband is considering going on disability, but now with everyone saying it can take five months! I do not know if it will be possible, we will lose everything, yet not sure if it is possible for him to keep working either.

    He got diabetes 25 years ago when he was 12. Now he just went into kidney failure. He has started dialysis 4 months ago. He has tried to keep working. But he is always calling in. He is always sick, tired, swollen. The last time he called in his blood pressure was 213/108.
    Before this happened he worked and I am a stay at home mom. We have six kids. I have thought of going back to work, but I can not count on him to watch the kids. He has fallen asleep while watching the youngest two. He even fell asleep driving the other day. He sleeps through his low blood sugars, Ihad to call an ambulance last month. How can I leave him alone with the kids.
    I just do not know what to do? I am afraid he won’t beable to work enough to support the family, worried we can not go long enough for disablility to kick in, worried to leave him alone with kids. . . worried to leave him alone by himself!
    So where do I go from here?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jen,

      First, if your husband has not already done so, he can apply for Medicare to cover some of the cost of the dialysis. He can do this even if he has insurance through his employer and is still working. When the application is filed, you might ask whether a later disability claim would be processed more quickly than average because he has already been approved for Medicare only.

      Even with a timely processing of his claim, you are correct that the first five full calendar months are not paid. If your husband can no longer work full-time, perhaps his employer would let him cut down to part-time earning less than $1,070 gross per month, which would allow the five-month unpaid waiting period to be served while he was still bringing in some money.

      With or without part-time work income from your husband, you might be able to patch together various kinds of public assistance to get you through should he have to stop work. You could apply for food stamps and Aid to Families with Dependent Children and free school lunches. Some utility companies and social service organizations offer energy assistance to help with heating costs. If the family loses health insurance, it would be a “qualifying event,” which would give you a short window (probably thirty days) to apply for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) even though the open enrollment period has closed for the year. If the family has little or no income, the government will subsidize the premiums so that you will pay little or even nothing for the premiums. For cash public assistance, you would have to explain why your husband cannot watch the children allowing you to work. Oh, I almost forgot, some states offer temporary disability assistance while a Social Security claim is pending.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  187. Brenda Marshall says:

    Dear Kay, I have been out of work for 10 months. I broke my back at work and I am waiting to go before a judge for disability. Now my lawyer wants additional paperwork from my Dr. My lawyer has already gotten paperwork from my dr but said not enough. The problem is I have no money to go to my dr and I owe him alot of money now because I’m fighting workmans comp and they wouldnt pay my dr. My brother has been paying my bills. This is the 3rd time I have broken my back in three different places. The 2 previous times was not work related. Will I still be able to see the judge? My lawyer is not the best at calling me back. I am 58 yrs old.
    Brenda

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brenda,

      You hired a lawyer for his legal expertise, so it is probably a good idea to follow his advice and get whatever it is that the attorney says is needed. Ask him to write down exactly what additional information is needed from or what evaluation needs to be done by the physician so you can take that information to the appointment. Perhaps your brother can make one more expenditure on your behalf to improve your claim.

      Even if you are not able to see your doctor to get the information the attorney wants, you will still be entitled to go to the hearing. You can explain to your attorney (in a letter if a call isn’t returned) that you can’t get the information because you don’t have the money and ask him to make that clear to the judge.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  188. James says:

    Hi Ive been out of work since May 17 2013 due to illness. I was approved for STD thru work and then LTD. Last month, I started working PT ie 4 to 8 hrs per week making $320 per month max. Im having some issues with these hours but trying to force myself to move forward. I was just offered another pt job ie 15 hrs per week making $1200 monthly. Im also going to apply for SSDI since it will be 1 yr out of work in May 2014 BUT will making $1520 per month(if I start the 2nd job after my 1 yr out) disqualify me OR be considered a trial period eventhough I didn’t get approved for SSDI? thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear James,

      Work during the first twelve months of disability does not count toward the trial work period. If Social Security finds that you became disabled on May 17, 2013 and you do not return to work until May 18, 2014, your first nine months should be considered a trial work period.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • James says:

        I suffer from panic disorder/agoraphobia(restricted but go out within my limits)/ocd/depression and black out during my attacks……I worked for 30 years in corporate America as a sr director making good money….now working 4 to 8hrs per week is a challenge since I have panic attacks. Im trying to work to build up to more hours and heal but now concerned that working these 4 to 8 hrs per week will make it seem like I can work…..is it worth risking SSDI forf $320 per month income from this job? Im trying to do the right thing by attempting to work and get better but at the same time, I would like to get SSDI if that doesn’t happen…very hard decision ie work or don’t work. LTD is only good for 2 yrs for mental disorders. Any ideas on how SSDI looks at mental disorders for disability ie is it harder to get for mental? Im also in my 50s

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear James,

          Gross wages of $320 a month are unlikely to have any impact on your claim. Mental disorders are evaluated the same as physical conditions. To be eligible for social Security Disability, you must be unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is defined in part by earnings of $1,040 or more. Given that you are over age fifty, you will be approved if the information submitted for your claim supports limitations that keep you from performing (at SGA leve) the occupations you have performed in the past.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  189. Deb says:

    Can I apply for social security disability while working? I have stage 4 breast cancer receiving chemo at this time, currently working. Due to my diagnosis, am I able to apply now?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Deb,

      The simple answer is that usually if you are earning more than $1,070 gross monthly, you are not considered disabled; however, individual circumstances don’t always fit the simple answer. If you have been on and off work for treatment or side effects of treatment, some of your work might be considered an unsuccessful work attempt, which could allow you to qualify. If that is your situation, I suggest that you gather your pay stubs and the dates you have been on and off work and make an appointment to talk to a claims representative about possibly filing a claim. You can request an appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  190. Scott says:

    Correction: Thank you in advance.

  191. Scott says:

    Dear Kay,

    I have low vision. I see 20/200 corrected with contact lenses and 20/600 without. I am currently employed and net approximately $1600 monthly. I am also 61. What benefits would be available to me? Would I be permitted to receive benefits while still employed (to augment my income) or must I reduce my hours to meet the guidelines? Thank you in advanced.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Scott,

      If you have 20/200 corrected vision in both eyes or a field of vision of less than 20 degrees in your best eye, you would be considered blind by Social Security standards; however, if you are earning more than $1,800 gross wages per month, you are not eligible because you are able to perform substantial gainful activity. You would have to reduce your earnings to below $1,800 gross to be eligible.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  192. Amber says:

    I’ve been out of work since April 2011. Due to three separate herniated discs in by lower lumbar/back that cause sever pain down my legs and into my feet, I also get horrible migraines that actually cause me to get ill, and since all this, I’ve fallen into depression issues. I was getting steroid injections into my spine on a pretty regular basis, went to PT, tried acupuncture, back stretching, chiropractors, wasn’t a good candidate for surgery. Was told “. I was on State disability until it ran out. Then I applied for SSD, got denied. I applied again, got denied. Then someone told me to get an attorney, so I did. I’ve been waiting for about a year (since I got the attorney). Since this time, I’ve racked up quite the credit card bills, not to mention I can’t afford medical insurance to get the treatment I needed… Being a mother of two I had no option but to power through the pain and get a part time job, working 20 hrs per week at $12.05hr, but it comes with health benefits which will come out of my paycheck pre-tax. Just days after getting the job. My attorney called to say we finally got a court date in July, 2014. I told them that I got a part time job, because I had not other options. How will all of this affect my disability claim?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Amber,

      It looks as if you are a tiny bit under the substantial gainful activity level of $1,070 per month gross earnings. If you have been under that amount ever since you sent back to work, your work may not affect your claim. If you have been over that amount, then how your work will be treated depends on whether you went back to work before or after April 2012.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Amber says:

        Hi Kay,

        I was out of work from May 2011 until March 2014. I’m only working part time, but I’ve already missed a few days and have had a hard time keeping up with their requirements. It’s a catch 22, because I need to work so I can get health benefits so I can go to the doctors so I can try to get better. However, it’s been extremely difficult on me and my pain is horrible. I’m in pain all the time and I can’t take my meds because I’m driving a car around and working with people. I’m trying to get my disability, but my attorney people want me to pay $750 to go to their doctor to get a second opinion. The only problem is, I don’t have $750 just laying around.

  193. Jenny says:

    Hi Kay,
    I have a unique issue. I applied for SSDI last September, I have Bipolar and Segmental Dystonia which affects my neck and right arm, I continued to work full time (I have been there for 3 years), my boss, doctor a social worker and I all decided that it would be beneficial to me to drop to part-time (this puts me under the SGA). My question is does the fact that I continued to work full time (or what I had been able, which wasn’t necessarily full time) from September to now, how will this hurt me. The AZ DDS asked me to report my income to the field office, this was a few days before I dropped hours. The field office has yet to return my call. I am worried that this will cause me significant issues. I have significant accommodations from my employer.
    Thank you,
    Jenny

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jenny,

      Be sure that the field office and the DDS receive

      1. A written statement from you that includes the date that you reduced your hours, the number of hours you now wor and the amount you now earn, and the specific reasons you had to drop to part-time.
      2. A written statement from your employer that lists the accommodations they provide and performance problems or other reasons the employer supported your dropping to part time. Have the employer also include any observations he or she may have about visible symptoms or other visible problems they see you having on the job.
      3. Statements from your doctor and social worker regarding why they supported your dropping to part-time.

      While you are gathering these statements, I would let the field office and the DDS know that you are going to submit these statements.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  194. Maria says:

    Also I only make around 680 so I am making less that SGA. Should I put yes?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Hi Maria,

      I didn’t see you second message. Yes, put “yes.” See my response of a minute ago to your first message.

      Kay

  195. Maria says:

    I want to apply for SSDI online but when I try and come to the question:
    During the last 14 months, has the applicant been unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions that have lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months or can be expected to result in death? I put no since I am still working, it says: You must answer “Yes” to being unable to work due to illness, injuries or other conditions to continue the application, but I am still working. What should I do?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Maria,

      You cannot file a Social Security Disability claim if you are working and earning $1,070 gross per month because that level of work means that you are not disabled as defined by Social Security law.
      If you are working and earning less than that amount, answer the question “yes” and then in the remarks section, declare that you are working and the amount of your gross earnings.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  196. Pat says:

    I quit my job due to an ill family member, this May will be three years. My plan was to return to work at after my Mom got better however, during that period I have become ill with a severe degenerative illness in my back. Would this gap in employment be a problem with applying/receiving benefits? Someone told me that I could not apply/receive benefits having not been employed for over two years.

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Pat,

      If you are over age thirty-one, you must have twenty work credits in the ten years prior to becoming disabled. A person can earn a maximum of four credits a year. If you were working fairly steadily in the years before the date that you stopped working three years ago, you may still be insured for Social Security Disability.If you are unable to work, I recommend filing an application.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  197. Neil says:

    Hi Kay,

    I am 62 years old and work part time in the retail field. I have arthritis of the knees and get regular injections every 6 months for the pain. The last 6 months or so, the results of the injections have diminished substantially. I’ve needed several additional injections just to make it manageable. I’m also on Warfarin for a blood disorder, so that limits the medicines I can take for my arthritis. I earn less than the 1070/month limit. I recently reduced my hours specifically because of the discomfort at the job. What would my chances of getting benefits be at this time, in your opinion. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Neil,

      There is a possibility that you could be approved. You definitely have nothing to loose in applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) because you don’t have to stop working or reduce your hours further because you are already earning less than $1,070. If your earnings dropped below $1,070 when you reduced your hours, claim that date as your date of disability.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  198. RLM says:

    I applied for SSI after losing yet another job due to my disabilities. I applied and tried to make it through the 2 year process but could not I ran out of reserves. I am the head of the household and my wife has never worked and she has lupus. She should be on SSI also but does not have enough quarters paid in. So I got another job but lost it due to not being able to produce, I am a sale person. I am not working now and finally got a court date in April 2014. I have an attorney but he was unaware of me going back to work. I worked F/T making a monthly salary of $2000 per month for 7 months. I was terminated and received another 2 months severance pay so I m not sure to say 9 months or not. Will this affect my approval and when should I left my attorney know that I worked? I read something about unsuccessful work attempt but not sure if that applies?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear RLM,

      Do let your attorney know as soon as possible that you worked. Give him or her copies of your pay stubs and the dates you actually worked. Also let him know that you received severance pay and the amount and dates it was intended to cover if dates were associated with it.

      You refer to “SSI,” but the information you provide seems to indicate that you mean Social Security Disability (SSDI) and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a disability program for individuals with low family income and countable assets. The comments that follow are based on the assumption that you applied for SSDI.

      If you were off work for more than twelve months prior to returning to work, your seven months of work may be counted toward the nine-month trial work period that Social Security offers as a return- to-work incentive. Benefits are payable during the trial work period. You do not say whether your failure to produce sales was related to your health problems. If it was, it is important to outline for your attorney the problems you were having on the job and how they interfered with you performing your duties.

      Now that you are not working and your savings are apparently depleted, your wife might be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which does not have work earnings requirement. If eligible, her SSI might continue even after your Social Security starts, depending on the amount of your monthly SSDI benefit and whether you are supporting minor children.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  199. Melissa says:

    Yes, I stopped working in November of 2012 because of severe arthritis in my hands feet and knees. I applied for SSD in September of 2013 because the pain in my knees and feet are so bad that it is hard for me to even walk a few steps. I have since went back to work in January of 2014 and want to know it I need to contact the disability office and inform them of my recent employment. I am working full-time hours even though I have informed my employer that I need to work part-time hours because it is extremely hard for me to stand and walk around on my feet after about four hours at work. I want to know if me working would affect my case.

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melissa,

      You do need to report your return to work right away. If your condition has not improved significantly since you ceased work originally, it would be wise to make a written statement to that effect along with the return-to-work report. Because you were off work for more than twelve months, there is a possibility that your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim could be approved either fully or partially. A partially favorable approval would find you disabled from November 2012 through December 2013 and you would be paid for a closed period of time (no ongoing benefits). In a full approval, your work starting in January 2014 would be treated as the beginning of a nine-month trial work period during which you would continue to receive Social Security disability benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Melissa says:

        What is a nine-month trial work period and what does it mean for my case?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Melissa,

          People who have been disabled for more than a year can try to return to work and continue to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits if they have not recovered medically. This attempt work is called a trial work period and is limited to nine months, whether continuous months or not. Any month $770 gross is earned is a trial work period month. This is one of the SSD work-incentive provisions. You can read about other work incentives by reading the return-to-work article under the “Approved” tab of the Disability Advisor website (www.disabilityadvisor.com) or by going to