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How to return to work while receiving disability benefits

If you are currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you may be wondering what happens if you decide you want to return to the workforce. Generally, once you begin making a certain amount of money, your benefits end.

However, the Social Security Administration provides special rules that allow you to work for a period of time and still get benefits. These let you test your abilities for long-term work and ease worries about declining health.

Trial Work Period

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration discusses that recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance can work for a nine-month period and still collect full benefits. These months do not need to be consecutive, and you can work towards these nine months of work during a period of 60 consecutive months.

There is an earnings threshold that you need to meet during a month of work, or else the month does not count toward the Trial Work Period. After the work period, the SSA will calculate whether the money you earned meets the definition of Substantial Gainful Activity. If so, your benefits cease after three months.

Extension of the eligibility period

The Social Security Administration also has a work incentive for 36 months after you successfully complete the TWP. If, during any of these months, you do not work at SGA, you can receive SSDI benefits. Along with low earnings, you must also continue to have a disability in order to get benefits. If, after this 36-month period, your earnings meet the SGA, your benefits terminate.