One of the wonders of our new, technology-infused age is the prevalence of remote and at-home workers. Freelance writers, editors, researchers, marketers, and graphic designers often don’t even need to come into the office.
Full-time freelancers can often make a living purely from working at home. In such a scenario, it’d be understandable to think Social Security disability benefits are beyond the realm of possibility. If you generally don’t have to leave home to perform your work tasks, you may question whether any disability would be severe enough to keep you from doing your remote work.
In other words: if you work at home, can you still qualify for disability benefits?
Fortunately, the answer in this case is yes, as long as you meet the Social Security Administration’s requirements for disabilities.
Are You Earning Too Much?
One of the first things the Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at when investigating your application is your monthly income. Everyone keeps a close eye on their monthly income, especially at-home or freelance workers.
To be eligible for SSD benefits, you must earn less than the income limit for the year. In 2021, you must make less than $1,310 per month doing substantial gainful activity (SGA). This is how the SSA determines whether or not the work you’re doing can provide the income necessary for living expenses.
If you make less than the income limit, continue filling out your disability benefits application. However, making more than the income limit will mean an automatic disqualification.
The SSA also has a list of conditions that can qualify you automatically in their Blue Book. If you don’t have an automatically qualifying condition, then the SSA will look at how much your condition prevents you from doing normal activities, and how long your condition is expected to last.
For the sake of this scenario, let’s assume your remote work involves sedentary work at a computer at home. Even if you don’t have to leave your house or commute via car or public transit, the SSA still lays out guidelines for freelance workers to be able to receive disability benefits.
Say you have to have major knee reconstruction after an accident, and though the reconstruction is successful, the medical professional in charge of your care says you’ll need 12 months or more to regain most of your movement ability.
Even though you can do your work from the couch, you can’t walk without assistance. Your inability to navigate public places without assistance, plus your extended recovery period, would likely qualify you for disability benefits.
If a pelvic injury or operation keeps you from sitting or standing, and will keep you from doing so for at least another 12 months, then the SSA may consider you disabled as well. Consider how much your job productivity and self-provision would suffer if you couldn’t sit for an extended period!
The SSA also considers issues pertaining to fine motor skills. If you have problems performing minute tasks like typing on a laptop or gripping things with your hands, you would likely qualify for benefits.
However, even with these examples, we must stress the importance of medical documentation.
When it comes to applying for disability benefits, you must prove the longevity and severity of your condition.
Consulting your doctors and attaining proper medical records to establish your condition’s restrictions isn’t only important, it’s the only surefire way to making sure you’ve done everything you can to give your application the best chance of approval.
Did the surgeon performing your knee reconstruction take careful notes of your consultations, as well as the operation itself? Does your physical therapist track your progress as you recover, even if it’s not as quick as you’d like? Get those records. The SSA will scrutinize every piece of evidence to prove the severity of your condition and establish the parameters of your limitations.
Help from a Muncie Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyer
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to have the same options for benefits as office workers. If you or someone you know suffers a disability that prevents performing everyday tasks like working or walking, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.