The Social Security Administration (SSA) has special rules and incentives if you receive Social Security Disability benefits and you want to work. Various incentives and programs may be available to you, based on your circumstances, that may allow you to continue receiving Social Security Disability benefits while you are working.
The critical thing to remember is that you need to notify SSA right away if you start or stop working since those events can affect your benefits. You also should contact SSA if your duties, hours, or pay rate change or if you begin having additional work-related expenses.
Trial Work Period
A trial work period allows you to work for at least nine months in 60 months without losing your Social Security Disability benefits. You can continue to receive the full amount of your Social Security benefits, no matter how much you earn during that period, as long as you report your earnings to SSA and still have a disability.
A trial work month is any month you earn more than $970. If you are self-employed, then a trial work month is any month you earn more than $970 or work more than 80 hours.
Extended Disability Benefits Eligibility
If you can continue working after you have completed at least nine trial work period months, you have another 36 months of extended disability benefits eligibility. IN these months, as long as you don’t have substantial earnings, you can still receive Social Security Disability benefits. For 2022, substantial earnings are $1,350 per month, or $2,260 per month if you are blind. If you make more than these income limits, your Social Security Disability benefits will stop.
Expedited Disability Benefits Reinstatement
If you stop receiving disability benefits because you have substantial earnings, you have up to five years to reinstate your benefits on an expedited basis. You are eligible for expedited reinstatement if your disability makes you unable to continue working. Unlike a new disability benefits applicant, you won’t have to file a new application for benefits or wait for your benefits to restart while SSA reviews your medical condition.
Medicare Eligibility Extension
If you stop receiving disability benefits because you have substantial earnings but still have a qualifying disability, you will also be eligible for free Medicare Part A coverage. This extended coverage will last for at least 93 months after your nine-month trial work period. Once that eligibility expires, you can purchase Medicare Part A coverage for a monthly premium. However, if you have Medicare Part B coverage, you must continue to pay the monthly premium.
Work Expenses Related to Your Disability
If you are working and still have a disability, you may need specific items or services to help accommodate your disability, which may also be helpful in your daily activities. For instance, you might have the following types of expenses:
- Special transportation to get to and from work
- Prescription co-payments
- Wheelchairs or other mobility devices
- Specialized work equipment
You might be able to deduct these expenses from your monthly earnings in some cases in calculating whether you are receiving substantial earnings. As a result of these deductions, you might be able to earn significantly more than $1,350 per month but still be eligible for your Social Security Disability benefits.
Working When You Receive SSI Benefits
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits instead of Social Security Disability benefits, the rules discussed above do not apply. Instead, the SSI program has its own rules and work incentives that individuals must follow to work while receiving SSI.
Contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. Today for Help
We assist injured workers with their compensation insurance and related legal needs. Call us today at (918) 582-2500 or visit our website to learn more about the services that we can offer you.