Question of the Month: “Can I Attend School While I Am Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits?”

June 6, 2023

The short answer is yes.

Attending school does not disqualify a person from applying for or receiving Social Security Disability benefits. However, Social Security can take school attendance into account when deciding a case.

The key qualification for disability benefits is being unable to work. Attending school may be evidence of an ability to function in a workplace setting, too.

Typically, you do not get paid to go to school. However, some facets of getting an education are like work activities. At a job or in school, you must be able to show up on time, organize tasks and complete assignments.

In determining whether you have an impairment that warrants disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will consider if your capabilities at school contradict your reasons for applying for disability.

For example, lectures by instructors typically require that you remain seated for long periods and if, in your disability application, you tell Social Security that you cannot work because you are unable to sit for too long, school attendance may raise a red flag.

This does not mean that you should forego your education. If you are applying for disability benefits (or have been awarded benefits) and you are enrolled in any school, you should get documentation of any accommodations the school or your instructors make for your disability such as a reduced course load, help in note taking, special seating, or extended time on exams.

Keep a written log of any problems you have with attention, concentration, and interacting with other students or faculty. Also, if you miss classes or exams due to your disability, write down the dates and times.

The rules regulating Social Security Disability are complicated and they change often. To successfully navigate the path to being awarded benefits it helps to have an experienced guide like a disability lawyer.

At Nash Disability Law in Chicago, Social Security Disability law is all we do, and we have the experience and training to help you as we have for thousands of disability applicants throughout the Chicago area.

Call or email us for a free evaluation of your claim. We only get paid if you win your case.