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How to Explain Earnings After Your Disability Onset Date

If your earnings record shows salary earned after the date you say you became disabled, you can be sure that the judge in your Social Security disability hearing will ask for an explanation.

Example:  you say you became disabled on April 3, but your earnings record shows income in May, June and July.

In this video I explain  how I advise my clients to respond to questions about post-onset earnings in three common scenarios:

  • unsuccessful work attempts
  • accrued earnings or benefits that are paid after the last date you were physically present at work
  • part time work

No matter what the reason, always discuss with your lawyer work, work attempts or payments received after the date you claim that your disability began.

A Social Security Disability Insider Reveals How SSA Views Part Time Work

There is a social bookmarking site on the Internet called which offers fascinating insight about many topics, including Social Security disability.  Specifically, Reddit has a feature called “Ask Me Anything” where users who have “insider” status volunteer to answer questions from visitors.  For obvious reasons, most of these insiders appear anonymously.

If you search “Social Security disability” you will see that several Social Security adjudicators have volunteered to answer questions about their work. I have never before visited a site where such “no holds barred” information was available and I encourage you to check it out.

I ran across one conversational thread from an adjudicator regarding part time work. The anonymous adjudicator answered a question about how SSA evaluates claimants who show earnings at less than “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) during the time they claim to be disabled [1. In 2013 the SGA limits are $1,070 per month for a non-blind worker.  Since SSA defines “disability” as the inability to perform SGA level work, you could, in theory, be found disabled if you show earnings at less than SGA amounts.]. Continue reading →