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Returning to Work While on Social Security Disability—Can it Be Done?

You filed for Social Security disability benefits because you were disabled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) agreed with you, found that you qualified for Social Security disability, and started issuing you payments.

Now, however, things may have changed. Perhaps there is a new drug or therapy available to provide you with some relief from your medical symptoms. You think that you can work—at least a little bit—but you are afraid of the potential consequences. What will happen if you go back to work and find that your medical condition still prevents you from working? Will you risk your Social Security disability benefits? Will you be able to live with the consequences?

Here Are Some Things You Need to Know

You may try going back to work without putting your Social Security disability benefits at risk by taking advantage of a trial work period. If you are unable to continue working, your Social Security disability benefits will continue. The SSA will:

  • Still consider you disabled as long as you work for less than nine months in a sixty-month period. For purposes of the trial work period, a month is any month in which you earn a certain amount of money. The amount changes annually. In 2014, the amount was $770, and in 2015, it will be $780.
  • Continue to pay you your Social Security disability payments during your trial work period.

A trial work period can provide you with a safe way to test going back to work without jeopardizing your Social Security disability benefits. However, it is important to know the rules before you begin working. To learn more, please request a complimentary copy of our report, Social Security Benefits: A Roadmap to Obtaining the Benefits You Deserve, or contact our office to discuss your specific situation.

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