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Michael Lawrence Varon, PLLC Michael Lawrence Varon, PLLC
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Can You Volunteer While Collecting Social Security Disability Benefits?


When you’re disabled and cannot work, staying at home can be boring. But if you receive Social Security Disability benefits, you may be concerned about being outside the home. The good news is that if you’re bored and looking for something to do, volunteering is an option.

When you were at work, you had a sense of purpose. You got to go out and socialize and make friends. That doesn’t have to end simply because you cannot work anymore. If you are still mobile to some degree and want to get out and do something good, consider volunteering.

If you heard you are not allowed to volunteer while receiving Social Security Disability benefits, that is a myth. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind so you don’t draw too much attention to yourself and lose out on your benefits.

Choose a Nonprofit Organization

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will be less likely to scrutinize your volunteer work if you choose a nonprofit. That’s because you’re less likely to get paid for working for a nonprofit. Whereas, if you’re volunteering for a job that you could get paid to do, like bookkeeping for a friend’s business, that’s likely to arouse suspicion from the SSA.

Choose the Right Role

You want to choose a volunteer role that will utilize your skills and talents without making your condition worse. If you have a mobility issue, for example, you want to avoid a position that requires a lot of activity.

Volunteer for the Right Companies

Certain types of volunteer work may be considered “substantial gainful activity,” which means you could get paid for the work and not need Social Security Disability benefits at all. To avoid this, consider volunteering for certain organizations. If you volunteer for the following, any services you perform or money you earn will not be considered substantial gainful activity, allowing you to keep your benefits:

  • Active Corps of Executives
  • Foster Grandparent Program
  • Retired Senior Volunteer Program
  • Service Corps of Retired Executives
  • Special Volunteer Programs
  • University Year for ACTION
  • Volunteers in Service to America

Limit Your Hours

You may enjoy your new volunteer position, but doing it 35-40 hours a week is the equivalent of a full-time job. If you can work that many hours at a volunteer position, what is stopping you from working that many hours in a paid position? If the SSA finds out, they may question your need for Social Security Disability benefits. Therefore, if you want to volunteer, limit your hours to no more than 10 per week.

Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits

Just because you receive Social Security Disability benefits doesn’t mean you have to sit at home and do nothing. Volunteering is a great way to get out of the house and boost your self-esteem.

White Plains Social Security disability attorney Michael Lawrence Varon can help you understand what you can and cannot do while receiving benefits. Make sure you know the limitations so you don’t risk losing your benefits. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling 914-294-2145.


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