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The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr.

Effects of an Unsuccessful Work Attempt on Your Disability Benefits

Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Car accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney serving Staten Island and Brooklyn New York.

An unsuccessful work attempt refers to a period of time in which you attempted to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) but had to reduce your hours or stop working completely because of your disability. This period of work can be used to determine various aspects of your Social Security disability benefits.

What is considered an unsuccessful work attempt?

Any period of work at the SGA level that lasts 6 months or less and ends as a result of your disability or the removal of conditions that allow you to engage in SGA is considered an unsuccessful work attempt.

The "removal of conditions" refers to the elimination of any special conditions-such as additional equipment or specific work hours-that allow you to perform your job.

Substantial Gainful Activity Decision

A substantial gainful activity decision is part of the approval process for your Social Security disability benefits. SGA is used as an initial factor in determining eligibility for disability benefits and can later play a role if you return to work and complete a trial work period.

SGA is only a factor during the initial application phase of your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits claim. Once you are past the initial claim stage, any unsuccessful work attempt is not considered in figuring your SSI payments.

An SGA decision may apply at any time your SSDI benefits are evaluated.

Benefits of an Unsuccessful Work Attempt

There is no harm to your Social Security disability benefits if you attempt SGA and result in an unsuccessful work attempt. The wages you earn during an unsuccessful work attempt are not counted in your SGA decision.

If you are in an extended period of eligibility, an unsuccessful work attempt is considered as part of your SGA decision for the months up to and including the month in which your disability payments cease.

Contacting a New York Social Security Disability Lawyer 

Before you file your Social Security disability claim, be sure to take advantage of this free consumer's guide: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Social Security Disability Claim, and then contact a New York disability lawyer at The Law Offices of Frank J. Dito, Jr., for help in building a strong disability claim 800-310-5520.