SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS: Unsuccessful Work Attempts

Unsuccessful work attempts may not interfere with collecting disability benefits. But unsuccessful work can only occur AFTER the date you think you became disabled. If your work lasted 6 months or less because your disabling condition forced you to stop working OR the disabling condition forced you to reduce the amount of work so that the gross earnings from such work fall below the substantial gainful activity earnings described below, it may not be counted.

You should have a significant break in the continuity of work before SSA will consider that you began a work attempt that later proved unsuccessful. You must have stopped working or reduced your work and earnings below the substantial gainful activity earnings amounts (next page) because of your disabling condition or because of the removal of special conditions that allowed you to perform your work. Your prior work will be found to be “discontinued” for a significant period if you were out of work at least 30 consecutive days OR you were forced to change to another type of work or another employer.

If you worked for 6 months or less, it could be considered unsuccessful if employment ends or is reduced below substantial gainful activity earnings (i) because of your disabling impairment or (ii) because of the removal of special conditions which took into account your impairment and permitted you to work AND –

  1. you were frequently absent from work because of your impairment; or
  2. your work was unsatisfactory because of your impairment; or
  3. you worked during a period of temporary remission of your impairment; or
  4. you worked under special conditions that were essential to your performance and these conditions were removed.

If you worked more than 6 months, generally your work will not be considered unsuccessful. However, it is possible it may not be considered substantial and gainful activity.