Why You Shouldn't Work Under The Table

Pretty much everyone knows that working under the table can be illegal for an employee if he or she does it to avoid paying proper taxes and illegal for the employer if he or she does it to get out of paying payroll taxes, workers compensation premiums, or the like.  But employees working under the table or self-employed people need to consider that not only is failing to pay proper taxes illegal, but it can result in a big surprise if they become disabled and apply for Social Security Disability benefits.  Many workers think that once they have worked enough to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, that they will remain qualified until retirement age.  But that is not the case.  In order to be eligible, there is a complicated formula that must be met, but basically, a worker must have worked 5 of the last ten years (can be combined, doesn't have to be in a row and months can be broken up as well).  I have had so many people come to me who thought they were eligible for benefits only to find out that because they were paid under the table or are self-employed and didn't pay their taxes, their eligibility for disability benefits expired.  And at that point they cannot work and cannot get benefits. So before you consider not paying your taxes, don't just consider the possible criminal ramifications, consider the potential that if you are disabled later on, you may not be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.

NOTE: People who are not eligible for Social Security Disability benefits may alternatively qualify for SSI benefits which do not require a work history but require proof of diability and proof that family income and assets are below a certain level.  SSI usually pays significantly less than Social Security Disability and doesn't come with Medicare benefits like Social Security Disability benefits does.