Aside from election year coverage on Social Security reform, most of the time Social Security benefits make the news is because some committed a crime regarding them. One of the more common crimes is people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits, but eventually return to work without telling the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). These beneficiaries were, at one point, entitled to their benefits. When they started working and never told the SSA while they continued to collect SSDI benefits, though, they became criminals.
A few weeks ago in early February, a Louisiana man pled guilty to benefits theft for unlawfully receiving more than $40,000 for himself and his dependent children. The man began receiving benefits lawfully during the summer of 2002. As with all SSDI beneficiaries, he signed a form indicating that he would alert the SSA if he returned to work. He did return to work during the summer of 2006 but never told the SSA. He continued to collect benefits until September 2010 when the SSA found out about his unlawful activities. He now has a criminal record and faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
If you receive SSDI benefits, you must alert the SSA when you return to work. The SSA has several incentives in place to help you re-enter the workforce, so you should not worry about having to start the disability process all over again if you find that you cannot work. A trial work period provides beneficiaries with nine months to work during which they will receive their full disability benefits regardless of how much they make. Even after the trial work period, if you stop receiving benefits because you are earning too much, you still have a five year window during which you can start your disability benefits back up if find yourself unable to work again.
Have you worked with Social Security to return back to work after receiving disability benefits?
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys