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Work Activity Report - Self Employed - How to Complete


Social Security Form SSA-820-BK (04-2012) is used for work performed by a claimant filing for benefits, or by an individual already on the rolls. If you work at all, the form helps Social Security determine whether you are engaged in "Substantial Gainful Activity" (SGA) - the performance of significant physical and/or mental activities in work for pay or profit.

The Work Activity Report asks for the following information (the numbers and letters match the form):

  1. The form will provide a start date for reporting work. You are expected to report all work from that date to the date that you complete and sign the form.
  2. Information about your business:
    1. Name and address of the business.
    2. Whether it is Farm or Non-Farm type of business.
    3. Primary product or service of the business.
  3. More business information:
    1. Structure of the business, if sole proprietorship or partnership.
    2. List by month the gross and net earnings of business. NOTE: The form doesn't ask you to itemize the deductions from Gross to arrive at Net. However, you need to keep documentation of those amounts in case Social Security wants to see them. This is especially important if you are deducting IRWE, in addition to regular business expenses.
    3. List all months you netted more than $200 or worked over 40 hours in your business. NOTE: Remember for self-employed people, any month in which you work over 40 hours will count as part of the Trial Work Period for SSDI.
  4. Your activities in the business:
    1. Describe the details of your activities in the business before the disability, including details of the management decisions you used to make. You'll be asked about how this has changed in the questions below.
    2. Whether you had earned a living from this type of business before.

Before you answer this question, look at question 5 so the answers can tie together.

  1. Your current activities in the business and any changes due to the disability. Include a detailed description of your self-employment duties, responsibilities, hours, and any changes from #4a above after your return such as fewer hours worked or more assistance required. This is used to compare your activities before and after the disability to see how close or far you are from full reemployment. Don't be shy about, or hint at, the differences. Explain so any reader would understand the changes.

Don't include management decisions: that is covered in the next question.

  1. This is about responsibilities and management decisions you make now as opposed to before your disability.
  2. Assistance with your business:
    1. Whether you used an agency or other assistance in setting up your self-employment business and if there is any continued assistance being provided.
    2. Is that help continuing?

Again, you may be a person who doesn't like to admit you've had assistance doing things. If so, this is the time to get past it -- at least for this document which will be kept confidential.

  1. Still looking to see how dependent you are on special assistance, the form asks you to list:
    1. Any business expenses, including supplies, you do not pay because they are furnished or provided without cost by another person or organization. Examples would be if you are provided subsidized transportation that is necessary for your work or ongoing consultation services by the organization that trained you.
    2. Any Impairment Related Work Expenses. Examples would be any special attendant care or equipment required because of your disability. (Also keep in mind these expenses may be tax deductible. See Tax.
  2. Details of additional help
    1. Number of Assistants.
    2. Time they spend helping you.
    3. What they do to help you.
    4. Are assistants paid or unpaid?
    5. How much are they paid?
    6. Are assistants related to you?
    7. What is the relationship?
    8. Why was the additional help needed?
  3. Additional space to elaborate on your answers. Be sure to note the question numbers you are answering.

This is also a good place to write any comments you may have that provide additional information to show why you should still be considered to be "disabled."

Then sign and date the form.

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