Your disability benefits can be affected by you going back to work.
The way it is affected depends on if you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Trial Work Period (SSDI)
If you are collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and you want to try and return to work, the Social Security Administration has a “Trial Work Period” program. The Trial Work Period is designed to encourage individuals who are receiving SSDI benefits to try and return to work. While doing a trial work period, you are allowed to work and earn money that exceeds the SGA amount and still collect your full SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration does not consider employment during the trial work period as showing that the disability has ended until work has been performed in at least 9 months (not necessarily consecutive) in a rolling 60-month period. In 2010, any month in which earnings exceed $720 is considered a month of services for an individual’s trial work period. This amount changes every year.
SSI Payment Adjustments
The amount of your SSI payment is based on how much other income you have. When your other income goes up, your SSI payments usually go down. So when you earn more than the SSI limit, your payments will stop for those months. If your only income besides SSI is the money you make from employment, then the first $85 you earn in a month are not counted. Half of what you earn (after the $85 is deducted) is withheld from your SSI payment.
For example: if you earned $1000 from employment in a month (and that was your only earnings besides your SSI payment), $85 would be ignored and the remainder ($915) would be divided in half to determine the adjustment to your SSI payment. So, your next SSI payment would be reduced by $457.50.
Returning to Work
After you have been approved for disability benefits, if you go back to work and stop receiving your SSDI or SSI payments and at a later date, you become unable to work again because of your medical condition, you can ask social security to start your SSDI or SSI payments again. As long as it has been less than 5 years since your last SSDI or SSI payment, you will not have to file a new disability application.
If you have additional questions about SSDI and SSI, please contact our office at 866.587.9176 or fill out our Free Evaluation Form.