How Returning to School Could Cause You to Lose SSDI Benefits

How Returning to School Could Cause You to Lose SSDI Benefits

School While Keeping SSDI Benefits
How to Go to School While Keeping SSDI Benefits

If you’re currently collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), then you will want to make sure you understand all the rules and regulations regarding SSDI benefits so that you don’t do anything that could potentially cause you to have your benefits stripped from you. For example, when on SSDI benefits, you can only earn a certain amount of income per month. If you earn over that amount, the Social Security Administration may assume that your disability is no longer serious enough to prevent you from being able to work.

However, working and earning an income are not the only things you should be careful about. If you are thinking about going back to school while on disability, you’ll want to be very careful. You could also potentially lose your SSDI benefits if you decide to go back to school. Whether you do or not will depend on several different factors.

Can You Go to School While on Disability?

The first thing to keep in mind – the Social Security Administration doesn’t want to punish you for going back to school. For many disabled individuals, going back to school helps them move on and improve their lives. Because of this, you’re not going to automatically lose your benefits should you enroll in school. However, there are a few factors that might cost you your benefits.

1. Your disability is supposed to prevent you from going to school.

Just because you’re in a wheelchair does not mean that you shouldn’t be able to go to class, especially since all schools should be wheelchair-accessible. However, you may be collecting SSDI benefits based on certain conditions that shouldn’t make it possible for you to attend class.

For example, if you have a social anxiety disorder that’s bad enough to qualify you for SSDI benefits, then it should be bad enough to prevent you from being able to attend a class where you’ll be surrounded by other people.

Again, your SSDI benefits won’t be automatically suspended in a case like this. You’ll need to explain to the Social Security Administration how you are managing to go to school despite your disability.

For example, maybe you can take online classes instead of showing up in person. Or, you’re taking night classes, where there simply aren’t as many students present.

2. The degree you are pursuing shouldn’t be possible because of your disability.

This is usually the case with trade schools. If you’re collecting SSDI benefits because of a bad back and you’re going back to school to learn a trade that requires physical labor, such as becoming an electrician, the Social Security Administration is going to assume that your disability must no longer be bad enough to prevent you from being able to work.

Essentially, it will depend greatly on what you are going back to school for. If you suffer from seizures that prevent manual labor but are going back to school to become a psychologist, then you should be okay.

3. Your activity in school is comparable to work.

The Social Security Administration may assume you can do full-time work if the amount of time you dedicate to class and homework totals up to the roughly 30 or 40 hours. They may come to this conclusion since that allotment of time equals that of a typical work week.

Because of this, they will investigate:

  • how many classes you’re taking,
  • what your schedule looks like because of those classes, and
  • how many hours you’re devoting to school every week.

If you’re only taking two or three classes in total a week, you should be fine. However, if you register for five or six classes two or three times a week, the Social Security Administration may be a bit suspicious.

If you’re thinking about going to school while on disability insurance, consider these factors that may endanger your SSDI eligibility. For more professional guidance regarding going to school while on disability, schedule a free consultation by calling us at (602) 952-3200 here at Social Security Disability Advocates USA.

 

 

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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