If you are receiving Social Security disability insurance, you may worry if returning to work will affect your disability payments. However, Social Security allows for recipients to try a full- or part-time job while receiving their complete monthly benefit payment.
Should you wish to return to work, there is a trial period of nine months where you may work and earn any amount of income while still receiving your monthly benefit. The nine months do not have to be consecutive, and may be over the course of a 60-month period.
A month is counted toward the trial period when an individual earns more than $780 or works 80 or more hours in a month. If you plan on returning to work, you will need to formally notify your local Social Security office of your earnings for every month while you are still receiving benefits.
If you have worked the full nine-month trial, a period of extended eligibility begins. During this period, you can continue to receive your full benefits if you still disabled and earning less than Social Security’s substantial gainful activity monthly limit. Should you earn more than this limit at any time, you will lose that month’s disability benefit. Once this period of extended eligibility is over, you can continue to receive Social Security benefits as long as you make less than the substantial gainful activity limit and are still disabled. Should you earn more than the limit for just one month after the extended eligibility term, your benefits will end permanently.
Special factors (including, but not limited to, income) exist for Social Security disability recipients who are self-employed. Additionally, if you are receiving benefits but are unable to execute skills needed to perform your previous job, you may be able to enroll in a Ticket to Work program which provides training, additional education and vocational rehabilitation.
If you would like more information on your eligibility to work while receiving Social Security Disability benefits, speak with a knowledgeable North Carolina attorney at the Lanier Law Group, P.A.