A claim for Social Security Disability benefits is a claim for benefits because the applicant is unable to work. The claimant is literally telling the Social Security Administration [SSA] that because of medical impairments [mental or physical] the person cannot work any job that exists in the United States and expects to be unable to work for at least 12 continuous months. As a result, any excess level of earned income that a claimant receives after their AOD, may lead a Social Security case examiner or adjudicator to determine that they are not disabled. In short, it is highly unlikely that an applicant is unable work under normal conditions and continues to acquire a large sum of income.
The types of "income" that may show Social Security that you have the ability to work include wages from temporary or part time jobs, and self employment income [see our blog entry regarding unemployment benefits as another type of income affecting disability claims]. For further details please visit the official website of the Social Security Administration in regards to the relationship between work activity and benefits.
Working even part time or temporarily can be used as proof that you have the ability to continue to work and/or that you have the ability work fulltime. Contrary to what a lot of people believe it is not staying under a certain maximum income that solely determines their eligibility. The question for Social Security is always the claimant's ability to work. If a claimant is able to work, that person should work. Working is emotionally and usually financially better than drawing disability pay. Social Security is not designed to discouraged claimants from working but rather intended to pay only those persons who are unable to work.