Social Disability Lawyer Blog

Stay up to date with the latest news in the world of social disability law provided by the Los Angeles based Law Office of Irene Ruzin.

How the SSA would determine your SSDI eligibility if you are self employed

SSDI for employed

The Social Security Disability Insurance is a very vigorously awarded insurance claim program run directly under the Federal Rule. At the time of writing this article, the SSDI claims alone have helped lower the poverty levels in the US from 40% to under 6% since 1938. However, each year only 20% of the applications for social security are awarded the claims in the first attempt. That is not because the government is manipulating your SSDI taxes. That happens because most people either do not fit the disability criteria such as applying for SSDI with chronic back pain or they do not fit the income threshold set by the SSA. That said, owning a small business or being self employed would also affect your eligibility to the SSDI claims. Here is how the SSA would determine your eligibility if you run a small business or offer other services independently of an organization:

The Countable Income Test

The SSA determines your employment competitiveness through the amount of dollars you are able to earn in substantial gainful activity, SGA. If you are a business owner or do freelancing, the countable income will be the amount from the total salary which you have earned through your own productivity.

The Three Tests

If you started work as a freelancer after your disability payments started or whether you applied for SSDI after being disabled and earning through freelance or business, the SSA would use these three tests to determine whether you fit under SSDI:

  • The significant services and substantial income test;

The SSA would deny you disability claims if your income is below the SGA income $1180 but it is above the income you earned through other jobs before you became disabled.

  • The comparability test;

The SSA would compare the work activity through different means with that of an unimpaired person doing the same kind of work you do to see whether the amount of effort and time you put into that business or freelancing is parallel to a non-disabled person or not. This alone could be the basis of your disability claims to be accepted or rejected:

  1. The hours you work
  2. Your energy input
  3. Your efficiency
  4. Your skills
  5. Your responsibilities
  6. Your duties

  • Worth of Work Test

Even if you successfully qualify for disability by passing the other two tests by the SSA, the SSA would still consider your work to be in SGA if you:

  1. Clearly earn more than $1180 in terms of its value to the business, for instance free utility bills or medical insurance through it etc
  2. Your income is clearly more than the $1180 if it would cost you lesser to hire someone else to do the same job

Although it is possible for you to start a business or earn through freelancing during the trial work period (TWP) you can face grim consequences if the SSA decides that your work is SGA and cancels your benefits. Or it might be that your benefits have already been terminated due to your earning status. Whatever your case, you may hire a social security disability attorney at our office. 

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Saturday, 06 June 2020