I represent a 40 year old machinist with orthopedic impairments, diabetes, and sleep apnea who was just approved for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits without a hearing even though he is receiving an income.
The first question to be determined when reviewing an SSD application is whether the claimant is working. If the answer is yes, and the amount earned from working is substantial, then the application will be denied. Social Security normally investigates evidence of work activity after a claimant’s disability onset date by reviewing earnings information from the IRS. However, not all income is treated the same.
To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (“SGA”). The income must be derived from work activity. Income that is not related to work does not constitute SGA. Examples would include passive investment income, return of loan payments, gifts, and other types of disability benefits.
The claimant’s application was held up because Social Security said they had evidence of work activity after the onset date. The evidence was simply learning that the claimant had income, as opposed to any evidence of actual work activity. Once I established that the source of the income were long term disability benefits, SSD benefits were approved.