Generally speaking, you cannot work while at the same time apply for social Security
disability (SSD). Social Security calls work "substantial gainful activity" (SGA) which is
defined, for 2023, as grossing more than $1,470.00 a month. For 2022, the amount was
$1,350.00, and is adjusted upward annually for a cost-of-living adjustment(COLA.) Note that
SGA is computed on gross earnings (before taxes are deducted), and not take-home or net pay.
The reason SGA is such a small amount is that SSD is an all or nothing proposition: either one
can work, or one is disabled and cannot work. Therefore, if you are working but your gross
earnings are below the SGA amount, you can apply for disability. SGA is the first step in the
five-step sequential evaluation process Social Security uses to determine if you are disabled.
Under the Social Security Act, "disability" is defined as an impairment (medical
condition) that has lasted or is expected to last 12 or more consecutive months. Note that you do
not have to wait a year to file for disability alter you stop working since the law contemplates
impairments that are"expected" to last 12 months. Social Security determines if you are
disabled by using a five-step sequential evaluation process. Those steps are: