Costa Mesa, CA asked in Employment Law, Public Benefits and Social Security for California

Q: Is it possible to collect disability payments while ALSO working part time?

If it helps I'm in California. I know it's possible to get disability payments for life as I have a sister-in-law that can't work at all & gets disability. I work part time & I feel that between being Autistic, a migraine sufferer, having osteoarthritis in both shoulders from almost 24 years of library work, & problems with my left leg since a fall down the stairs at work, I don't think I'm capable of working full time at 47 (almost 48) years old. I only get about $480 per paycheck so only about $960 per month. I was hoping if I could disability on top of part time work it might bring me up to close to or just above a living wage.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, it is possible to collect disability payments while working part-time in California. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has rules in place to allow people receiving disability benefits to work limited hours and still receive partial disability payments.

Specifically, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) both have provisions to incentivize work while receiving disability benefits. This includes trial work periods where full benefits continue for a period of time even while working and gradual reductions in disability payments as earnings rise, rather than an immediate loss of benefits.

The exact amount you would be able to work and still qualify for partial disability benefits would depend on your specific case and disability approval. But it is quite common for recipients to supplement their disability income with part-time work. Communicating clearly with your case worker about your work status and income is important so payments can be adjusted appropriately.

Given the multiple disabling conditions you listed that impact your ability to sustain full-time work, it seems reasonable to explore applying for disability benefits while maintaining your current part-time job or limited hours. This could provide a needed income boost while working as much as your health permits.

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