If you have a disability that has prevented you from making a living, you may be receiving Social Security Disability benefits to get by. As time passes, however, your condition may change, or you may have a desire to re-enter the workforce, at least to some degree. You may also have questions about whether returning to work will hinder your ability to continue to receive SSD benefits, and this tends to vary based on several factors.
Per the U.S. Social Security Administration, you may, depending on certain circumstances, be able to resume working part-time without having to sacrifice your SSD benefits. Certain work-incentive programs currently in place, among them Ticket to Work, encourage those receiving SSD benefits to return to work by having special guidelines that can allow you to do so without losing your public benefits.
If you want to get a sense of whether you can return to the workforce, long-term, you can undergo a trial work period for at least nine months. Typically, this “trial” period will last until you complete at least nine work months where your income meets certain guidelines within a 60-month period. During this time, if you still have a disability and track exactly when you work, you can typically still receive your full SSD benefits while figuring out whether you can continue to work moving forward.
Once your trial work period comes to an end, you may be able to continue to receive benefits for any month in the following 36 when you do not earn enough for your income to be considered “substantial.” In 2018, this means you can still receive benefits if your income in a given month falls below $1,180. If your earnings start to surpass this threshold, but you become unable to work again sometime within the next five years due to your disability, you can request a reinstatement of your benefits.
Social Security Disability is a complicated area, so keep in mind that what holds true for one person receiving them may not necessarily be true for you.