Returning To Work While Receiving SSDI Benefits

Returning to work is different if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits rather than Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits. Yesterday we discussed SSI benefits and work. SSDI benefits, unlike SSI ones, are based on your work history and not your income level, so the transition back into the work force is a bit different.

Trial work period

The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) permits SSDI beneficiaries to work a trial work period, which is a period of nine months during which you can earn any amount of wages while still receiving your full SSDI benefits as long as you are disabled and report your work to the SSA. The nine months do not have to be in a row – you can work the nine months over a total of five years.

After the nine months is up, if you are earning more than $1,000 a month (or $1,640 if you are blind), you will no longer be eligible for SSDI benefits. However, in the event that your disability makes it impossible to work again, you can restart your SSDI benefits without having to go through the SSDI application process again. If you are not yet earning over the applicable amount (the SSA refers to this as “substantial earnings”), you have three years during which you can continue to receive SSDI benefits while working.

Other help from the Social Security Administration

Other help that the SSA provides for SSDI beneficiaries trying to return to work includes:

  • Continued eligibility for Medicare
  • The ability to deduct disability-related expenses from monthly income
  • SSDI reinstatement eligibility if you lose your job

Have you successfully returned to work after receiving SSDI benefits? What advice do you have for other beneficiaries hoping to do the same?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys


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