Social Security Lawyer | Dr. Bill LaTour

How Do Disability Benefits Work for the Self-Employed?

Even the mildest disabilities can put you out of work for extended periods of time, causing you to lose out on important income. Unfortunately, if you are self-employed, this time off can be devastating. It is therefore very important that you get in touch with a disability benefits lawyer if you think you are entitled to some compensation. For Southern California residents, this means calling the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour.

With many years of experience getting people the benefits they deserve, our team can tell you all about receiving disability despite self-employment status.

How is Disability Defined?

When it comes to disability benefits, it is obviously important to understand how the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability in terms of financial benefits. Put simply, disability benefits are typically determined using a metric known as “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). In 2016, for example, SGA is defined as earning more than $1,130 a month, or $1,820 if you are blind.

However, it is important to know that SGA is not just an arbitrary number, and substantial gainful activity can include anything from criminal activity to volunteerism to self-employment. In short, substantial work means you are performing legitimate mental or physical tasks, while gainful activity is one in which you get paid. These can be complicated terms, and you would definitely benefit from discussing them more with a disability benefits lawyer.

How Does SGA Affect Self-Employed Workers?

SGA can be tricky enough to deal with for most people, but when it comes to self-employed individuals, whether that means contractors, freelance, or self-starters, SGA can be particularly difficult. The SSA will usually administer a number of tests to determine if your work could be considered at SGA level. The specific test used will depend on the exact nature of your employment.

Generally speaking, if you have been paying self-employment taxes (SECA) for several years, you will typically be eligible for SSDI benefits. However, if you are able to continue running the business or work in some capacity, you might not be able to receive any compensation, having fallen back into SGA.

What is Not Considered SGA?

There are a number of activities that the SSA will not typically consider substantial gainful activity. These include the following list:

  • Personal grooming and anything else you do to take care of yourself
  • Chores around the house
  • Any form of mental, physical, or occupational therapy
  • Attending school and other social activities

You should still keep in mind that the SSA can still use these elements to determine whether or not you are actually disabled.

Learn More from a Disability Benefits Lawyer

Most of us would much rather be on our feet and working than out due to disability. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and you deserve to have a disability benefits lawyer on your side who can guarantee that you get the compensation you require. Remember as well that the claims process can be particularly arduous, and without trained legal counsel, you could be in for a difficult time.

For additional information on how a professional attorney could help you, contact a representative of the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour today to learn more.

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