Disability Benefits and Returning to Work – What is Legal?

As many of the fraud cases that we have looked at demonstrate, people often get in trouble while working and receiving disability benefits at the same time. These people we have discussed are knowingly breaking the law, though. We have seen cases of disability beneficiaries running a construction company, working for a plumbing business and even competing in bodybuilding contests all receiving benefits for supposedly being disabled and unable to work.

For those receiving disability benefits who would like to know what their obligations are should they begin working, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) does provide guidance. The SSA does support people returning to work if they are able to, and it has regulations in place that help ease this transition. For instance, beneficiaries get a trial work period of at least nine months. During this trial period, beneficiaries can continue to receive their full benefits regardless of how much money they are taking in provided that they report their work to the SSA and they continue to suffer from a disability. The SSA counts as a trial work month any month in which you earn more than $720.

The trial work period ends after you have worked nine months over the course of a 60 month period. After the trial work period, you can still work and receive benefits for 36 months, but only if your earnings do not exceed $1,000. The SSA is aware that a disability may resurface, though, so if you happen to be unable to work due to your disability after you start transitioning back into work, you can begin receiving your disability benefits again. You do not have to reapply for benefits or await a decision while the SSA determines if your disability is continuing.

The SSA also offers other programs and assistance to disability beneficiaries like its Ticket to Work program. Disabilities should note, however, that the return to work information outlined above is also filled with exceptions and circumstance that may change these rules’ applicability to you. Assistance in applying for disability benefits and transitioning back into the workforce is available from a Tulsa social security disability law firm.

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



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