Returning to Work and SSDI

January 26, 2017

SSD and Returning to Work

Interested in Returning to Work after SSD?

Most people would rather work if they are able to do so. Returning to work is a big step, and you want to have a safety net if, after trying your best, you find that you are still disabled. Fortunately, Social Security has a plan which allows you to test your ability to work. This plan contains work incentives which allow you to keep certain SSD benefits while you determine if your medical contention still prevents you from holding a job.

Work Incentive Benefits

  • Free vocational rehabilitation
  • Work-related Training
  • Assistance finding a job
  • Medical and financial benefits

Trial Work Period

The trial work period is a period of at least nine months when you will, “test your ability to work.” This period lasts until you have worked a total of 9 months within a 60 month time period. During this time, you will continue to receive your full Social Security benefits, as long as you follow the required program steps. This includes reporting your work to Social Security. If you successfully complete the trial, the next step is another period of 36 months. During this period you can work and still receive benefits for any month in which your earnings are not substantial. Once you reach substantial, your financial benefits will cease. As of this writing, substantial means just over $1,100. Your, “Medicare Part A coverage will continue for at least 93 months after the nine-month trial work period.” After that time passes, you can purchase Medicare Part A. Medicare Part B must be paid for as always.

If your benefits stop due to making the “substantial” amount, you have five years to request that the benefits restart if you are disabled again. SSD will review your condition, but you will not have to wait for your benefits to begin while it does.

Determined Not Disabled

Keep in mind, if at any point, Social Security determines you are no longer disabled, it may stop your benefits. Social Security may do this regardless of whether you return to work. SSD reviews cases on a schedule based on your initially determined condition.

  • “Expected” – likely be reviewed within 6 to 18 months.
  • “Possible” – probably not reviewed prior to 3 years
  • “Not expected” – probably not reviewed prior to 7 years

*It is important to remember that these policies are in place as of late 2016. It is critical that you check with Social Security before you return to work, to make sure that you follow any  then existing policies. You don’t want to risk losing your benefits.


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