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How do subsidies and special conditions affect SSD benefits?

One important factor the Social Security Administration examines when determining whether to award Social Security disability benefits to an individual in Philadelphia is figuring out if the applicant's earnings exceed the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level. When calculating earnings, the SSA utilizes only the earnings that match the real value of the work the applicant does. However, sometimes an applicant's employer gives the applicant a special condition or subsidy in the workplace that could affect the person's earnings for the purposes of determining that individual's SGA.

Special conditions include the on-the-job assistance that an employer or someone else gives an individual that allows the worker to obtain more earnings that go above the actual value of the work the individual does.

One example is if an individual who performs his or her work with the assistance of a mentor or job coach, this may be a subsidy or a special condition. Another example is if an individual is given more supervision than other individuals performing the same work for the same pay. A third example is if an individual is allowed to take more or lengthier break periods for pay than other individuals performing the same work for the same pay. Finally, a subsidy or special condition may exist if the individual is given fewer or easier assignments than other individuals performing the same work for the same pay.

SSDI employment supports are an important component of calculating whether an individual's work goes above the SGA level. Those with questions about how a special condition or subsidy may affect their ability to receive SSD benefits may want to discuss their situation with an attorney.

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee