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Can I Challenge the IRS Over Disability Income and Workplace Discrimination?

Question from Nikki, Can I Challenge the IRS Over Disability Income and Workplace Discrimination?

Answer from AI:

If you’re facing a situation where the IRS is asking for repayment due to allegedly exceeding your income limit during a trial work period while receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and you believe workplace discrimination contributed to this scenario, it’s essential to understand your rights and the steps you can take. This situation involves navigating both tax obligations and employment rights, which can be complex. Here’s a general guide to help you understand your options.

Understanding Your SSDI Trial Work Period

First, it’s crucial to grasp what the SSDI trial work period entails:

  • The trial work period allows individuals receiving SSDI to test their ability to work for at least nine months within a rolling 60-month period.
  • During these months, you can receive full SSDI benefits regardless of your earnings, as long as you report your work activity and you have a disabling impairment.
  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a specific threshold to determine what constitutes a trial work month. In 2022, this was earning more than $970 in a month.

If the IRS claims you’ve exceeded your trial work period by earning above the limit, it’s important to verify this with your SSDI paperwork and earnings records.

Addressing Workplace Discrimination

Your experience at Kroger raises concerns about workplace discrimination and unfair labor practices, which could potentially impact your case:

  • Discrimination based on disability, age, or any other protected characteristic is illegal under federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, which might include allowing for breaks as needed.
  • If you were forced to work more hours than your part-time status allowed, without reasonable accommodation for your disability, this could be a violation of your rights.

Steps to Take

1. Review and Organize Your Documentation: Gather all relevant paperwork, including your SSDI documents, pay stubs from Kroger, and any records of communication regarding your work hours and accommodations.

2. Consult with a Legal Professional: Given the complexity of your situation, consulting with an attorney who specializes in disability rights or employment law can provide personalized advice. They can help you understand if you have a case for discrimination and how it might affect your SSDI and tax situation.

3. Contact the SSA: Clarify the discrepancy between your SSDI paperwork and the IRS’s claims. The SSA can provide guidance on how your trial work period is calculated and what steps you can take if there’s been an error.

4. Consider Filing a Discrimination Complaint: If you believe you were discriminated against by your employer, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Visit the EEOC’s website for more information on how to file a charge.

5. Address the IRS Notice: Respond to the IRS notice with any evidence that supports your case, including discrepancies in income reporting or circumstances that led to involuntary excess earnings. The IRS provides guidelines for disputing a notice or bill, which you can find on their official website.


Facing a demand for repayment from the IRS while dealing with the aftermath of workplace discrimination can be overwhelming. However, by understanding your rights, gathering evidence, and seeking professional advice, you can navigate this challenging situation more effectively. Remember, each case is unique, so it’s important to consult with legal and tax professionals to get advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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