Questions I and J, about your work activity ending. The questions are – when did you stop working, and why?

  • Are you working, YES or NO,
  • If not, when did you stop working,
  • And most importantly, WHY did you stop working?

Notice that the space allowed for why you stopped working is 3 1/2 lines. Don’t enter a one word answer here. Explain in detail what led up to your job ending.

Of course, if you were laid off before your disability began, then the two word answer “laid off” is appropriate. But not always. Some people get “laid off” when really the company wanted to get rid of them because they had health issues. If you were forced out of your job, go ahead and tell SSA what happened.

If your doctor told you to stop working, or to take some time off, say so. If you tried to keep working but just couldn’t do it, say so.

If you are still working

SSA has to evaluate whether or not you are performing “Substantial Gainful Activity”. Social Security Disability benefits are intended to help people who are unable to work. So if you are working, there’s a good chance your claim will be denied without ever having a medical evaluation. SSA looks at several factors in deciding whether or not your work is considered “Substantial Gainful Activity”. They consider how much you earn, in 2008 the earnings guideline is $940.00 a month. If your earnings average more than $940.00 a month, it is more difficult to get approved for benefits, but not impossible. If your earnings are below that amount, it will be easier to get approved, but SSA still has several steps to take before making a decision. They consider the hours you put in, whether or not your employer is making any accommodations for you, such as extra help or easier duties. It is possible for SSA to determine your work to be “not substantial” and for your case to be sent to the next step for a medical decision.