Working While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits
It might seem strange to work while receiving Social Security Disability benefits since the program is meant to provide financial aid to those who are unable to hold down a job because of a disability. However, many people who receive Social Security Disability benefits are still capable of working and often feel a desire to work. There are many benefits to working while receiving Social Security Disability payments. For one, working helps to supplement monthly payments. It also has the power to uplift your spirit and alleviate the depression and loneliness often associated with having a disability. Many people who receive Social Security Disability benefits worry that their benefits will be taken away from them if they get a job. However, the truth is that the SSA allows people receiving benefits to work, as long as their pre-tax earnings stay below a certain amount. Work Incentive Programs The SSA offers two work incentive programs. The Ticket to Work program provides vocational rehabilitation, skills training, job referrals, and other types of support free of charge. The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program provides information about the SSA's work incentives and assists those who are receiving benefits and working or considering work. Assistance from the WIPA program is offered through community-based organizations, so you have to contact the SSA to find the WIPA project closest to you. Trial Work Period The trial work period allows Social Security Disability beneficiaries to work for at least nine months out of a consecutive 60-month period. You're considered to have worked one trial work month in any month in which your earnings are over $720. If you are self-employed, a trial work month is any month in which your earnings exceed $720 or you spend more than 80 hours in your business. After the trial work period, you have 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits on months when you're earnings aren't “substantial.” In 2011, earnings over $1,000 ($1,640 if you are blind) are considered substantial. You do not have to reapply for benefits during this period, which is called the extended eligibility period. If your earnings are substantial and your benefits stop, you will have five years to restart your benefits immediately if you stop working because of your medical condition. During this period, you will be able to get your benefits back without having to file a new disability application. Furthermore, you will not have to wait for the benefits to start while your medical condition is being reviewed. Have Any Questions or Concerns about Working While Receiving Disability Benefits? If you need to apply for Social Security Disability but would like to continue working while you receive benefits, please fill out our online contact form to request a free evaluation.