Working While Receiving Disability Benefits: What You Need to Know

Researcher & Writer
January 11, 2016

The Social Security Administration knows that entering back into the work force following a long-term disability can be a daunting task. Because of this, they attempt to make immersion back into a working schedule less off-putting for those receiving disability insurance.

Through the Administration’s Work Incentive and Ticket to Work programs, those interested in working can get back into the work force and still receive monthly payments of Social Security Disability benefits.

Work Incentives including continued benefits, continued Medicare or Medicaid and educational or vocational help, all exist to help you begin the back-to-work process.

  • The Trial Work Period essentially allows you to test your capability to work. During this 9-month period, full disability benefits will be paid regardless of how much you’re earning just as long as you continue to have a disability and report all work. The 9-month trial can take place any time within a 60-month period.
  • Following the trial work period, you can still work and receive benefits for 36 months as long as the earnings aren’t considered substantial. Substantial earnings vary from year to year, but in 2015, that meant earnings over $1,090.
  • Expedited reinstatement is just that—should you be unable to work because of your condition, benefits can be reinstated within 5 years of their end date without filing a new application.
  • The continuation of Medicare is allowed even if the disability benefits stop because you’re earning too much. Following the Trial Work Period, Medicare Part A coverage continues for at least 93 months.
  • The Social Security Administration might be able to deduct work-related expenses from monthly earnings before deciding if you’re making too much to be eligible for benefits. Work-related expenses include items or services those without your medical condition may not need to pay for.

The Ticket to Work program offers those receiving Social Security Disability benefits employment support that might also be of use. Beyond the program’s offering of free vocational rehabilitation, job training, and job referrals, it also prevents you from undergoing medical reviews while participating. For more information about work incentives or the Ticket to Work program, call (866)968-7842. Visit the Ticket to Work website for additional information.

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