Many claimants are unaware that there are circumstances where a person has the right to collect Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits while working. I received a decision today that illustrates this point.
I represent a 41 year old with cerebral palsy, who applied for SSD benefits at his local Social Security office on September 25, 2009. Social Security assigned the claimant a disability onset date of August 27, 2009, which is when he stopped working.
The claimant retained me when his case was scheduled for a hearing. Although he had worked for many years, his cerebral palsy had progressed, which resulted in his working only part time starting in December 2007. At the hearing, I asked Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Joseph Faraguna to consider amending the claimant’s onset date to December 2007 because he had been earning less than $700 a month, which I contended was not substantial gainful activity (“SGA”). As of January 2010, SGA requires earning more than $1,000 per month, which generally precludes being found disabled.
ALJ Faraguna accepted the amended onset date, and found that the claimant became disabled in December 2007, instead of September 2009. By alerting the ALJ to the disability onset date error made by the Social Security employee, the claimant will receive more than a year and a half in additional SSD benefits.