When someone suffers injuries on the job and finds that they cannot return to work after several months, they might qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance payments. These payments help to keep their finances afloat until recovery or until they find employment in a new field. 

U.S. News reminds workers that they might qualify for benefits even while working reduced hours. However, to apply they must make less than a specific figure that the relevant authorities adjust on an annual basis. The Social Security Administration classes anything beyond that line as a substantial gainful activity. 

How SGA affects benefits 

One professional explained to U.S. News that if someone can make substantial income, they are not truly disabled. This is not a medical judgment, but rather, a benefits-related one. There is a second threshold workers need to be mindful of. If they find part-time employment that makes more than roughly $880 per month, the benefits might continue but the SSA might also reduce the amount. This figure also gets adjusted on an annual basis. 

What to know about the medical aspect 

Whenever possible, workers should try to get their physicians involved. Doctors might substantiate claims of disability by writing reports or letters that detail the extent of the injuries and how this might affect the ability to keep working. Generally speaking, qualifying disabilities affect a worker’s ability to execute the following tasks: 

  • Walking 
  • Lifting 
  • Recalling 

What happens when people fail to report changes 

In 2019, New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper reported on one man convicted of SSDI fraud for failure to report income changes. The case involves alleged deliberate concealment of income data from the SSA, but it nonetheless serves as a reminder of how serious a crime it is to not report this data. 

Many workers might make up to the annual threshold for receiving benefits and realize that the income is still much less than they made before and what they need to make ends meet. Because of this, consider the tradeoffs of returning to work until fully recovered very carefully.