- Last Updated: 20 November 2015 20 November 2015
Working while applying for Social Security Disability
Many people who have no other income or resources ask, "How can I meet my expenses while I wait for Social Security? Can't I work just a few hours a week?"
In general, any work during the application period is viewed suspiciously by Social Security as possible "substantial gainful activity". (This phrase means you are not disabled.)
The best advice is not to work at all while applying for Social Security. Any more than 3 hours a week can put your application in some jeopardy. Even the 3 hours may be questioned.
After you've been accepted, the rules change, and you are allowed to work a certain amount without immediately jeopardizing your benefits. (The rules for this system are complex, and if you are granted benefits you must learn them thoroughly before doing any work, so that you will know what can happen to your benefits under various conditions of work/earnings).
If you have to work a few hours a week to make ends meet, you should consult an advocate or attorney who knows about Social Security disability for an opinion about how your work will affect your application.