Can You Return To Work If You Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

Navigating a return to work can be challenging when you’re receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers programs that allow beneficiaries to work without immediately losing their benefits. In general, you must report work and any income earned while you are receiving SSDI benefits, including workers’ compensation benefits. If you earn more than $1,050 in gross income per month, you must report these wages through your Social Security account. Failure to report income can result in the termination or suspension of your benefits and action by SSA to recoup overpayments.

Trial Work Period (TWP): The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for at least 9 months. During this period, you’ll receive your full SSDI benefits regardless of how much you earn, as long as you report your work activity and continue to have a disabling impairment. In 2024, any month where you earn over $1,110 before taxes counts toward your TWP.

After the TWP, you enter a 36-month extended period of eligibility (EPE). During this time, you still can receive benefits for any month your earnings are below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit, currently set at $1,550, or $2,590 if you’re blind for 2024.

Medicare Coverage: During the TWP and for 93 months thereafter, you can typically retain your Medicare Part A coverage at no cost. If you have Part B, you can keep it by continuing to pay the premium.

Ticket to Work Program: The SSA’s Ticket to Work program is designed to help SSDI recipients find suitable employment and attain financially independence. The program is offered at no cost and participation is voluntary. This program aims to help people with disabilities move towards financial independence by connecting them with employment services and support for success in the workforce.

Additional information and resources can be found by visiting the Choose Work website.

For legal assistance with a pending Social Security Disability Appeal, call attorney D. Scott Gordon at 804-440-6557 or visit

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