If you are receiving Social Security disability income, it is possible to go back to work and still receive benefits. Social Security has created work incentives for people interested in going back to work while receiving disability income benefits.
Some of the work incentives offered by Social Security include continued cash benefits for a time while you work, continued Medicare or Medicaid and assistance with education, training and rehabilitation to start a new job. Social Security has also created the Ticket to Work program, which provides individuals receiving disability benefits vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals and other employment services for free. The article, Ticket to Work: A Social Security Work Incentive Program, has more information on this program.
Impact of Earnings on Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security will give you a trial work period, which allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During this trial, you will receive your full Social Security benefits, no matter how much money you earn as long as you report your work activity and continue to be impacted by your disability. The trial period ends once you have worked nine months within a 60-month period.
After the trial work period ends, you can work for another three years (known as the 36-month extended period of eligibility) and still receive disability benefits for any month your earnings are not “substantial.” In 2008, substantial earnings were equal to $940 or more. If your earnings are considered substantial, your benefits will stop. However, you have five years to request that your benefits begin immediately if you are not able to continue working because of your disability. A new application will not have to be filed.
If you stop receiving Social Security disability benefits because of your earnings, but are still disabled, you will continue to receive free Medicare Part A coverage for at least 93 months after the 9-month trial work period. Once you are no longer eligible for free Medicare, you do have the option to buy the coverage by paying a monthly premium.
When you are working and receiving Social Security disability benefits, you can deduct work expenses that result from your disability, which can help you stay below the “substantial” earnings limit. Deductible expenses can include such costs as prescription drugs, transportation, personal attendant or wheelchair.
If you lose your job during your trial work period, there will be no impact on your Social Security disability benefits. You can call Social Security if you lose your job during the 36-month extended period of eligibility to have your benefits reinstated.
Social Security disability benefits provide the necessary income when you find yourself disabled. If you have applied for Social Security disability benefits and have been denied, contact the experienced New York Social Security disability attorneys at Markhoff & Mittman, P.C. at (866) 205-2415 or 866-205-2415.