Can I Still Work While Applying for SSD?

Sometimes the hardest part about the Social Security Disability (SSD) process is not the application or the administrative hearing—it’s the waiting! Once an applicant sends in their request for benefits, it can be months before they hear anything back. In Florida, the wait times are particularly abysmal. The average wait time is 20 months in Tampa, 21 months in Jacksonville, and 19 months in Orlando.

Thanks to the long process, which is mainly caused by a backlog of applications, applicants must find ways to stay financially afloat. For some, this might mean having to take a part-time job. When people have to continue working while they wait to receive SSD benefits, it creates a complex dilemma. If SSD is meant to help people who cannot work, will having a part-time job disqualify someone from receiving benefits?

When someone has applied for SSD benefits, they can continue to work. However, if they want to still qualify for SSD, they have to work within set limitations. They are also still at a high risk of running into complications that might jeopardize their application.


For starters, the applicant must work in a job that is consistent with their injuries or health condition. For example, if someone applies with a back injury yet continues to work at their heavy-lifting job, this might cast doubts on their credibility. On the other hand, if a construction employee took up a desk job after hurting their back, that would be more consistent.

Income Limitations

If someone does choose to work while applying for SSD, they must also be mindful of their income. To qualify for SSD, applicants cannot make more than $1,180 per month. This is because one criteria for qualification is “substantial gainful activity” or SGA. SGA determines if an applicant is eligible for based on how much income they earn through significant and productive work. Other types of significant incomes, like an inheritance or assets, might also factor into an applicant’s qualifications. If someone makes more than $1,180 per month despite their health condition, they might not qualify for SSD.
These limitations leave applications with few options. Even if they do find suitable work, it could still negatively affect the outcome of their application. For example, the Social Security Administration might interpret a part-time job as an ability to do some kind of work. They could assume that someone is only applying for SSD because they can’t find a full-time job.

Help and Support

For people who need financial assistance but do not want to jeopardize their application, there are some other options. Federal assistance programs, like Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program help low-income people make ends meet. Some states also have short term disability benefits. Applicants might also be able to take out a loan or borrow money from a friend or relative until they are able to thrive on their own. The options are not always easy or ideal, but they can be a big help, even if it’s just temporary.

If you are applying for SSD and have questions about if you should continue working, consult with an experienced SSD attorney. They know the complexities of the system and can help you make the decision that is best for you and your family. Though the process is complicated and full of potential pitfalls, you do not have to face it alone.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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