Unsuccessful Work Attempts

The Social Security Administration allows you to attempt to work, to test your ability to do so, both while waiting to receive benefits and after you have begun to receive them. Social Security will ignore earnings from any job they can categorize as an unsuccessful work attempt.

What Makes an Attempt Unsuccessful?

To qualify as an unsuccessful work attempt, a job must:

  • last less than six months
  • end due to physical or mental impairment

Job earnings and full- or part-time scheduling are not relevant to determine whether your attempt to work was successful or not.

For example, if you work full-time at a warehouse but cannot sustain the physical or mental demands of the job for more than six months, Social Security will ignore any earnings from that job, and the performance of that job will not impact the outcome of your claim. If you are able to tolerate that job for longer than six months, however, Social Security will find you were not disabled during that period.

When is an Attempt Not Unsuccessful?

Even if a job lasts under six months but ends due to reasons other than physical or mental impairment (e.g., layoffs or quitting to care for a family member), the Social Security Administration will not find that job to be an unsuccessful work attempt.

Let Us Answer Your Questions

If you have specific questions about past attempts at working, please contact an attorney at our office today—we will provide our expert opinion and let you know how work attempts impact your disability claim.

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