Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
Your ability to get Social Security Disability (SSD) payments in Arkansas or anywhere in the US is based on your ability to work. If you are truly “disabled,” under the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s definition, then you are unable to go to work. The SSA judges your inability to work, in part, based on how much money you are making. If you can still provide yourself with a living wage, then the SSA may not consider you “disabled.” Each year, the SSA may change the income limits for disability. Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak will explain the different income limits that control who is eligible for disability payments.
Receiving Disability While Working in Arkansas
The SSA does not make disability payments to everyone who applies. First, you must go through different rounds of qualifications to show the SSA you meet their definition of “disabled.” While having a condition that is on the Social Security Disability list of conditions is important, the more important factor is that the disability is “severe.” For the SSA to accept your condition as “disabling,” it must be severe enough that you cannot work. The SSA may allow exceptions for applicants who have disorders not found on their list, as long as the condition is equally as severe as one of the accepted conditions.
In determining whether a condition is “severe,” the SSA looks at whether you can work. If you cannot get out of bed or transport yourself, you likely cannot work. Similarly, if you cannot physically perform a task like completing the application without help, you will likely qualify for SSD. The SSA will look at what job tasks you are able to perform, and whether your prior experience will permit you to perform another job. For instance, if you worked for a few years at a desk job, then became a construction worker, you may be too disabled to perform construction, but may be able to return to desk work. If you are completely unable to work because of a condition, you will likely qualify for SSD.
If you are able to perform some work-related tasks, you may still be able to apply for SSD. The SSA does not see things as black and white, disabled or abled, unable to work, or able to work. They recognize that some jobs and some disabilities might be more compatible than others. Because of this, you are not automatically rejected for disability benefits if you can work to some extent. Instead, the SSA looks at how much money you can make, then determines eligibility.
2020 SSD Income Limits
The SSA provides monthly disability benefits to over 8 million disabled workers in the United States. Many people rely on these benefits to deal with serious conditions that may require expensive and frequent medical expenses. With a new year often comes increased income thresholds for individuals that work while receiving disability benefits.
Due to some jobs only requiring very little physical or mental activity, there are some jobs that you might still be able to work, even with a severe disability. The SSA’s limit as to what is “disabled” ultimately deals with how much money you can make in a month. If you can work a few hours every week, but cannot achieve a living wage on these hours, you may still be able to claim disability payments. Alternatively, if your injury is severe, but does not prevent you from working for a living wage, you are not “disabled.”
In determining whether you can work or not, the Social Security Administration looks at your ability to perform a substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person is capable of engaging in SGA if they can meet a certain threshold of earnings every month. If you make over a certain threshold, then you are still “able” enough to work and will be denied SSD. If you cannot work for a living wage, you cannot engage in SGA and may qualify as “disabled.”
The SSA changes the income threshold for SSA disability benefits periodically. While they may keep the income amount the same for a few years, the limit does generally go up over time. In 2019, the income limit was $1,220 per month. In 2020, the SSA increased the limit to $1,260 per month. This means that if you make at least $1,260 per month (approximately $14,040 per year), you likely will not qualify for Social Security Disability.
This Social Security income limit for 2020 is $1,260 only for non-blind workers. Since blind workers already have difficulties with their sight, alongside other potential disabilities, their SGA limit is higher. This means they can make more money each month and still qualify for disability. For 2015 and 2016, the SGA limit for earnings did not budge as SSD was unavailable to blind people who made more than $1,820 per month.
However, in recent years, the SSA has annually increased the limit for blind workers. In 2020, the SSA increased the SGA limit to $2,110 for blind workers. This means that a blind worker can earn up to $2,110 in the current year without fear of losing their disability benefits.
Our firm can help you if you are concerned that your wages may exceed the threshold limit for disability benefits.
Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you are wondering whether you qualify for Social Security Disability, looking at these income limits may help. If you need help with your application, or you have been denied disability payments, talk to Arkansas social security lawyer Ken Kieklak today. For a free consultation on your disability application, call Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 today.
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