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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 15 million people choose to be self-employed in the United States today. These Americans – who consist of business owners, independent contractors, subcontractors, freelancers, and entrepreneurs – often benefit from perks like working from home, bucking dress codes, and having more independence in the workplace. However, many worry about losing the benefits of working for a larger company or corporation, like health insurance and retirement funds. For example, can self-employed workers receive Social Security disability benefits if they suffer from an injury, illness, or chronic condition that leaves them unable to work?

To find out the answer, we have to ask a few more questions:

  • Have I paid my Social Security taxes? Those who aren’t self-employed automatically pay into Social Security (the money is taken out before their paycheck). Self-employed people must make sure that they pay Social Security taxes on their own.
  • Have you accurately reported your income? The self-employed are required to accurately report how much money they have made in their federal income taxes. If you do not accurately report your income, your Social Security payments may be affected.
  • Have you worked for a significant amount of time? All workers must pay in to the Social Security fund for a number of years before earning the ability to collect benefits in the event of a long-term disability.
  • Do I have a qualifying disability? Just like all people who seek SSDI benefits, you must prove that you have a long-term disability that is likely to last more than a year and that prevents you from continuing to work. 

If you do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance payments, there is still a chance that you qualify for Supplemental Security income (SSI) payments. This may be the case if your self-employment income is small and if you do not have significant assets.

Navigating the Social Security system can be difficult – doing so while also self-employed can be even more challenging. To learn more about whether or not you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits while being self-employed, contact a Dallas Social Security disability attorney at Morgan & Weisbrod today.

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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