Can I Work While Receiving Disability Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has incentives and programs that help disability beneficiaries return to work. Returning to work is often in the best interest of a beneficiary too – provided he or she is not suffering so much as to be unable to work – as work wages are generally higher than disability benefits. Beneficiaries can transition back into the workforce at their own pace, but they need to be aware that how much they work and how much they earn can have an impact on their disability benefits.

Receiving SSDI Benefits While Working

The SSA provides Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) beneficiaries with assistance in several ways as they attempt to return to work:

  • A trial work period permits beneficiaries to work for at least nine months without their income (no matter how much it is) affecting their benefits as long as they tell the SSA about their work
  • After the trial work period, your income affects the level of your benefits (you lose benefits generally once you make over $1,000 a month), but if you find that your condition makes it impossible to continue working, you can start receiving your benefits again without having to go through the application process a second time.
  • Other benefits are available like the continuation of Medicare and the ability to deduct disability-related expenses from your monthly income (for example, if you have to pay for a taxi to get around)

Receiving SSI Benefits While Working

Because Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits are for lower income Americans, you may lose your eligibility for SSI benefits if you exceed the income levels at which you qualify for SSI benefits. However, like SSDI benefits, if you find yourself unable to work after trying to return to work, you can begin receiving benefits again without a new application. Also, you can deduct disability-related expenses from your monthly earnings that are used to determine your eligibility for SSI.

Have you successfully transitioned back into the workforce after receiving disability benefits? We would like to hear about your story below.

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

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