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Can I work if I receive SSD benefits?

You might feel like your condition has improved, and now you are wondering if you can work without losing your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. You can work and receive benefits simultaneously, but only for a certain amount of time. How long you can receive benefits while working will depend on your income and your ability to keep working.

Work and SSD benefits

If you have a disability and you qualify for SSD benefits, you have the right to receive monthly payments as long as your medical condition prevents you from working. However, if your condition hasn’t improved and you want to get back to work, your benefits won’t stop right away if you start working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages you to start working again by:

  • Offering you a 9-month trial period in which you can work while receiving your benefits up to 9 months
  • Continuing your Medicare and Medicaid benefits while you work
  • Helping you find a new job with education, training and job referrals by the Ticket to Work program

During the work trial period, you will continue receiving your benefits regardless of how much you earn. A trial month is any month in which you earn more than $940. The SSA will not count any months as trial months if you earn less than that during that month. If at one point during those 9 trial months you decide that you cannot work with your disability, your benefits will continue as if you hadn’t started working.

Getting back on track

If you keep working after the work trial months, your benefits may continue. However, you will only receive them in the months when your income is below $1,310 or $2,190 if you are blind. Once you earn more than that quantity for 9 work months in 60 months, your benefits will stop. When that happens, you’ll have 5 years to decide if you want to keep working or restart your benefits if you feel like you can’t continue working because of your disability.

Your right to the benefits

You have to tell the SSA if you want to start working. That way, you can ensure you’ll keep receiving your benefits while you test if you are ready to get back to work. If you don’t let the SSA know that you are working again, they may suspend your benefits, so be careful about that. You deserve to receive help while you try to get back on track, and you have the right to ask the SSA for it.

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