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Unsuccessful Work Attempts and Social Security Disability or SSI

What happens if a Social Security Disability or SSI claimant works at Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) levels during the application or appeals process? Generally, if the claimant's impairments force her to stop working in six months or less, then the work will not be viewed as an ability to work at SGA and will be viewed as an Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA). First, there must be a significant break (stop working or reduced work below SGA because of impairments for at least 30 consecutive days) in the continuity of the claimant's work before SSA can consider a later work attempt to be unsuccessful.

Second, the SSA will consider work of three months or less to be an UWA if the claimant stopped working or reduced work and earnings below SGA level, because of her impairment or because of the removal of special impairment related conditions or accommodations that previously allowed the claimant to work.

Third, the SSA will consider work lasting between three and six months to be an UWA if the claimant stopped working or reduced work and earnings below SGA level, because of her impairment or because of the removal of special impairment related conditions or accommodations that previously allowed the claimant to work AND:

  1. The claimant was frequently absent from work because of her impairment;
  2. The claimant's work was unsatisfactory because of her impairment;
  3. The claimant worked during a period of temporary remission of her impairment; OR
  4. The claimant work under special conditions that were essential to her performance and those conditions were removed.

Once SGA level work continues for more than six months, the SSA will not consider the work to be UWA no matter what the reason for the cessation or reduction of work.

If you need more information about a Social Security Disability or SSI matter, personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), EEOICPA claim, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611, or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.

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The Law Offices of
Tony Farmer & John Dreiser

1356 Papermill Pointe Way
Knoxville, TN 37909

Toll Free: 888-861-1472
Phone: 865-223-6291
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