Can I Work And Still Receive SSD Benefits?

By February 14, 2024 February 15th, 2024 No Comments

At Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys at Law in Eugene, OR, we understand that navigating Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits while attempting to return to work can be confusing. You may not be sure if you can return full-time or how your work will affect the benefits you need. It’s important to continue to make ends meet, but working too much while on disability can disqualify you from the process.

This article will try to clarify these issues by explaining whether you can work and still receive SSD benefits. The following information will give you an understanding of how the Social Security system works, as well as the obligations the program puts on you.

The simple answer is yes. You can receive SSD benefits while working, but you can’t work too much. Let’s explore this further in the article, but if you need your personal Social Security questions answered, call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys at Law today.

Can I Work While Receiving SSD Benefits?

The answer is complicated, but it boils down to yes: you can work and receive SSD benefits under certain conditions. The program allows this for certain individuals who qualify. To see if you can work while maintaining your benefits, it’s important to understand the eligibility of SSD benefits.

Understanding the Eligibility of SSD Benefits

SSD benefits are intended for people whose disabilities significantly impact their ability to work. If you have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or lead to death, AND it prevents substantial gainful activity (SGA), you might be eligible for SSD benefits. It’s that SGA number that decides if you qualify, and it’ll determine if you’re eligible to continue receiving benefits while working, too.

What is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?

SGA is a benchmark the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to determine if you can engage in work that provides significant income. For 2024, earning more than $1,550 a month ($2,590 for blind individuals) may disqualify you from receiving SSD benefits. These numbers increase a bit annually to keep up with inflation.

The Impact of Income on Benefits

Earning above the SGA amount doesn’t automatically disqualify you from receiving benefits. The general rule is that higher earnings could lead to more scrutiny of your ability to work. If you make enough despite your disability, your benefits could end entirely.

Working Through the Ticket to Work Program

The Ticket to Work program is a free service for people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) who want to work. It’s for those aged 18 to 64, and it offers a way to get back into the workforce without immediately losing your benefits.

The program connects you with services that provide job training, advice on choosing a career, help with finding a job and support once you’re working. While trying it out, you can still get your SSDI or SSI benefits. Also, your health insurance (Medicare or Medicaid) stays in place while you work. If your income from work decreases, and you need your SSDI or SSI benefits again, you can get them back quickly without reapplying.

Joining is voluntary. You can start the process by contacting the Ticket to Work helpline or visiting their website to find an employment network agency that will work with you. Having an experienced Social Security attorney by your side to explain the requirements of the program can help make sure you never work too much or too little.

The Trial Work Period (TWP)

The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for nine months over a 60-month period without losing your SSD benefits, regardless of what you earn. This period encourages people to attempt to work while still receiving the benefits they need. As long as you report your work and continue to have a disabling condition, you can receive benefits while working.

You’ll need to stay in touch with the Social Security Administration the entire time you participate in the Trial Work Period. In fact, when it comes to Social Security benefits of any kind, the importance of constant communication with the SSA cannot be overstated.

Extended Period of Eligibility

If SSA stops paying you after nine months of trial work, SSA may still be able to help you. For 36 months after your trial work period ends, SSA can pay you for any month that you are disabled and do not gross over $1,550 per month. To get these benefits, you do not have to apply again; just let SSA know how much you are earning. However, if you work and gross over $1,550 per month in any single month after the 36-month period, your benefits will end.

The Importance of Communicating with the Social Security Administration

Honest and timely communication with the SSA, along with careful documentation of your earnings and work activity, is the most important part of returning to work with a disability. Communication ensures you receive the correct benefits and avoid overpayments. Overpayments might sound like a good thing at first, but they almost always lead to repayments. It’s a much better idea to maintain constant, honest communication so any mistakes on your end don’t get you into trouble later on. Catching these mistakes is another way a Social Security attorney could help.

Tips for Returning to Work While Receiving SSD Benefits

When considering the possibility of working while receiving SSD benefits, it’s important to stay informed and approach the process with care. Keep up-to-date with the current SGA limits because these numbers can change annually. Always report your earnings and any changes in your work status to the SSA.

If you’re considering returning to work, the Ticket to Work program can offer access to job training, career counseling, and job placement services, all while protecting your benefits during the transition. Following these steps can make the process easier, and seeking professional advice can ensure you are always covered.

Seeking Professional Social Security Advice

Receiving SSD benefits while working comes with a lot of rules. If you have specific questions, talking with a Social Security attorney can make sure you understand your rights and the impact that working will have on your benefits.

By following these tips and staying proactive in your communications with the SSA, you can explore work opportunities while managing your SSD benefits effectively.

For further assistance or to discuss your specific situation, please don’t hesitate to contact Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys At Law at (541) 434-6466. Our team is here to help you understand SSD benefits so you can find a balanced approach that supports your well-being and your financial security.