If you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits there are programs that allow you to attempt to work and still receive your monthly benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs have different rules for working and receiving benefits, which will be explained below. It's important to notify Social Security if you are receiving benefits and you start or stop working. Failure to due so could result in an over payment of benefits, which you will have to pay back.
Social Security offers a number of work incentives to disability beneficiaries which include: continued cash benefits while working; continued Medicare and/or Medical coverage while you work; and assistance with education, training and rehabilitation. Below are a brief description of the Social Security Disability Work Incentives:
- Trial Work Period (TWP): This allows you to "test" your ability to work for a period of nine months. During your TWP you will continue to receive your full SSDI benefits regardless of how much you earn so long as you report your work to Social Security and continue to have a disability. For 2017, a month is counted as toward your TWP if you earn over $840.00. For people who are self-employed, the calculation is a little different - the month counts toward your TWP if you earn more than $840 (after expenses) or work more than 80 hours in your own business. The TWP continues until you have worked 9 months within a 60-month period.
- Extended Period of Eligibility: After you have completed a Trial Work Period, you have 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits for any month that your earnings aren't "substantial". For 2017, earnings over $1,170 ($1,950 for the blind) are considered to be "substantial".
- Expedited Reinstatement: If your SSDI benefits stop because you have substantial earnings, you have five years to ask us to restart your benefits if you are unable to work because of your condition. You are not required to file a new application.
- Continued Medicare: If your Social Security Disability benefits stop because of your earnings but you are still disabled, your free Medicare Part A coverage will continue for at least 93 months after the 9-month work period. After that time you can still buy Medicare Part A coverage for a monthly premium. If you have Medicare Part B, you must continue to pay the coverage to keep it.
- Work expenses related to your disability: If you work and have to pay for certain items or services related to your disabled (i.e. a car service instead of public transportation or counseling services) Social Security might deduct those expenses from your monthly earnings in determining your eligibility for benefits.
Ticket to Work program: This program run by the Social Security Administration is for people who would like to work again. Through this program you can receive free vocational training, training, job referrals and employment support. To find out more about the program and whether it is right for you call 1-866-YOURTICKET (1-866-968-7842) or for the deaf and hard of hearing the TTY number is 1-866-833-2967. You can also visit www.socialsecurtiy.gov/work