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What you Should Know About Work Activity Reports

By Christina July 14, 2017

It’s no secret that the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process can be lengthy, as there are hundreds of thousands of open claims nationwide. While we take pride in our job as your Social Security disability advocate to take as much of the work off of you as possible, it is important for you to know that your involvement with your SSDI claim does not end after you have completed your initial application with our office. To help educate you on a key part of the process, last month we published a blog post covering “What you should know about Work History Reports” as part of our series of posts focusing on several types of questionnaires you could receive from the SSA during the application process. This post is our final installment in this series, and as we conclude it by reviewing one additional questionnaire, we want to encourage you not to hesitate to reach out to us, or do some research if you ever receive documentation that you don’t understand from Social Security.

Although most questionnaires are sent to you by your disability examiner, there is one that is the exception: the SSA 821, or Work Activity Report. The Work Activity Report is sent to you by the Social Security Administration (SSA) if there are any earnings appearing on your record with the Social Security Administration after the date you allege that you became disabled. One of the requirements to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is that you have been, or expect to be, unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least one calendar year. In 2017, earnings for non-blind individuals is $1,170 per month (and $1,950 for statutorily blind individuals) are not considered substantial gainful activity.  However, work activity may be considered substantial even if earnings are under these thresholds depending on the amount of work done.  Any level of work activity will be considered by the Social Security Administration as they consider whether you are disabled.

If you have not worked since filing for SSDI, you may be asking why you were sent the Work Activity Report. If you received sick pay, vacation pay, or Short-Term Disability, these benefit amounts will be listed on your Social Security statement as earnings. The SSA sends out the Work Activity Report to give you the opportunity to explain these earnings and provide proof such as paystubs that indicate you did not receive these funds from working.

It is very important that you return your Work Activity Report as soon as possible, as Social Security may deny your claim without an explanation of your earnings.  If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed while trying to complete your Work Activity Report, please give The Advocator Group a call. One of our client advocates will be more than happy to answer any questions you have. We are also able to schedule an appointment to help you complete this and any other questionnaires over the phone.


This post was written by one of our Client Advocates, Kristen.


Nothing in this post is intended as advice or a suggestion to elect or not elect to claim benefits of any kind, including Social Security benefits, nor is it intended as financial advice in any way.  The decision to claim benefits is a personal one that is contingent upon each individual’s unique circumstances.


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