Slepian Smith, PLLC

Can you work while receiving SSDI benefits?

Let’s assume for a moment that you have with the help of a qualified Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) attorney successfully navigated the system and had your claim approved. Some people who are receiving the benefits find that they want to work on a limited basis, but wonder if they can do that without losing their SSDI.

The short answer from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is “yes.” Yes, with the SSA’s Ticket to Work program, you take advantage of special rules that enable folks receiving SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to continue receiving their monthly benefits while working.

The SSA points out that if you decide to become employed again, their work incentives allow you to do the following:

  • Continue to receive cash benefits for a time
  • Continue to get Medicare while you work
  • Get help with education, training and more

If you’re receiving SSDI benefits and decide you would like to try to return to work, you might consider SSA's Ticket to Work program, which can help you skip medical reviews and get help preparing for a return to employment.

For instance, you can get a trial work period from SSA that allows you to test whether or not you are able to resume working. This allows you to work for at least nine months while receiving your full SSDI benefits no matter how much you earn.

In 2019, a trial work month is any month in which your total earnings are more than $880. You can get nine trial work months in a 60-month period.

These incentives can help people test to see if they can return to work without losing their monthly benefits. Of course, for many receiving SSDI, a return to employment is simply not an option.

If you have applied for Social Security Disability benefits and been turned down, you can appeal the decision with the help of an attorney who understands the appeals process and paperwork and how to maximize your chances of approval.

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