Can You Work Part-Time on Social Security Disability?

Can You Work Part-Time on Social Security Disability?

working part-time on disability

Whether you’re already receiving benefits or are just starting the social security disability application process, you may be wondering if working part-time on disability is an option. Even if you qualify for the maximum monthly disability benefits amount, you may still be looking at a significant decrease in your monthly income. The ability to hold down a part-time job could help you make the economic transition easier.

For this reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers incentives and Ticket to Work programs for qualifying disability benefits recipients, which means you may be able to work a part-time job and still receive monthly benefits. Learn more about these programs and how to maximize your earnings from Social Security Disability Advocates USA.

Trial Work Period

A trial work period is a nine-month period which allows you to test your ability to work. During this time, you are allowed to work as much or as little as you are able to without giving up any of your monthly benefits. In order to use a trial work period, you’ll need to report your work to the SSA and you must still be disabled. 

As of 2020, any earnings over $910 per month automatically qualify you for a trial work period. The nine months of work may be consecutive or may amount to nine months of work within a 60-month period. As long as you do not work more than nine months in this time while earning over $910 per month and you are still disabled, you can still collect full benefits during your trial work period. 

Extended Period of Eligibility

After your trial work period expires, you may be granted an additional 36-month extended period of eligibility. In this case, you can continue working part-time on disability while collecting full benefits as long as your earnings are not considered by the SSA to be “substantial”.

The SSA defines Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) as any monthly earnings over $1,260 except for those who receive disability for vision problems. Blind workers may earn up to $2,110 per month during an extended period of eligibility. The extended period of eligibility is helpful to many because it does not require you to reapply for disability benefits.

Expedited Reinstatement

Some people worry that working part-time on disability may disqualify them for benefits, and that they will have to start the application or appeals process all over again. However, this isn’t always the case. 

With expedited reinstatement, if you lose your benefits because you start earning too much from working, the SSA will give you five years to ask for reinstatement of your disability benefits if your condition prevents you from working again. While the SSA will again review your medical condition, your benefits will restart immediately in the interim.

Ticket to Work

The Ticket to Work program is a special incentive offered by the SSA to help disabled workers find employment and become financially independent. This voluntary program is available to those receiving benefits who are between the ages of 18 and 64, and whose intentions are to prepare for a long-term, possibly full-time career. 

Whether you are returning to the workforce or just starting out, Ticket to Work provides disability recipients with resources like Employment Networks (EN) and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). Employment Networks help you find a career counselor, assist with job placement, and let you know how your new job may affect your benefits.

Vocational Rehabilitation is more intensive, offering training, education, and rehabilitation. VR services can help you get funding for college classes and also provide you with equipment that can mitigate the impact of your disability. This may include vehicle modification, cochlear implants, prosthetics or eye surgeries, and motorized scooters to help you with getting around more easily. 

Over time, resources like VR and EN can help you secure a good-paying job so that you no longer require disability benefits without losing your Medicaid or Medicare health benefits. At the same time, if you ever are unable to work again because of your disability, expedited reinstatement can help you with cash benefits while your medical condition is reevaluated by the SSA.

Working Part-Time on Disability: Is It Worth It?

If you’re considering working part-time on disability, there are several factors to keep in mind. 

  • How much you’ll earn per month as a part-time worker is key. If you will be making under $910 a month in 2020, this won’t trigger a trial work period and your benefits should remain the same.
  • If you make over $910 per month, you should carefully keep track of your trial work period. If you’re earning over this amount for more than nine months in a 60-month period, you could be at risk of losing your benefits if the SSA decides you are fit to work. 
  • If you continue working after your trial work period, you must keep in mind that any Substantial Gainful Activity (that is, monthly earnings over $1,260) after your extended period of eligibility can compromise your benefits.
  • If you are interested in returning to the workforce full-time, the Ticket to Work program may be right for you. It may mean giving up your cash benefits, but in return you may find yourself in a rewarding and financially stable career. 

Have Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits?

To get help with applying for Social Security programs, appealing a decision, or just to talk about your legal options, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA. 

We’ll schedule a free consultation to review your case and help you decide if working part-time on disability is right for you. Call us today at 602-952-3200, chat with us via LiveChat or send us a message using our secure contact form

Looking for more information? Check out the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know and follow us on Facebook.

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