A few rules and regs that may help you out if you are considering going back to work while on disability.
CAN I WORK?
💮 You are allowed to work while on disability. If you earn under $1,170 per month you can still be considered disabled.
💮 There are some work incentive programs that will allow you to earn a higher amount and still be considered disabled.
💮 If you are self-employed, they will consider the amount you earn after business expenses. They may also consider a yearly average.
💮 You must report to Social Security when you start working.
💮 It is a good idea to notify them in writing and send it by certified mail or bring it to your local office and get a stamped receipt.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
💮 When you go back to work, there are two things you need to consider
💮 First: Will this affect my disability check financially? If you are on SSDI, you do not need to worry about this question. If you are on SSI, please learn a whole lot more about Working and Financial Regs.
💮 Second: Will this affect my future medical reviews? Learn a whole lot more about Working and Medical Reviews
💮 Please keep in mind that these are completely separate areas. You may be totally safe according to the financial regs, but run into problems with the medical regs. Or you may be totally safe according to the medical regs, but run into problems with the financial regs.
SHOULD I CALL SOCIAL SECURITY?
💮 Yes. Do call Social Security to notify them every time you stop or start working. Let them know any changes to your income right away. Even better, notify them in writing.
💮 No. Do not call Social Security to ask specific questions about working regulations.
💮 The people who answer the phones at Social Security are not trained in the complex working regulations. They may know a little of the basics, but it is very common for them to give out wrong information in this area.
💮 If they tell you the wrong information, and you follow it, you will be the one who owes money back. This has happened to many people.
💮 If you want more info about working, you can attempt to research the written regulations on the Social Security website.
“SOCIAL SECURITY SAYS I CAN WORK!”
💮 If you call Social Security or read online or talk to work incentive programs, you will be told you are allowed to work.
💮 It is true! You are allowed! However, this does not mean you will have no problems.
💮 Some people report that working can make it more difficult to pass a medical review in certain situations. Some people on SSI run into problems with the financial regs and owe money back. If you learn the regs and plan ahead you can avoid these problems.
“MY FRIEND WORKS WITH NO PROBLEMS”
💮 Many people just go out and get a job and think they have no problems.
💮 Sometimes this is because there really are no problems! But sometimes this is because Social Security is very slooow. It can take a few months or a few years before they get around to processing your file.
💮 Many people do work and pass all their medical reviews with no issues. Next time you meet someone who says they are on disability and working, ask them how long it has been since they notified Social Security that they are working, and ask them if they have been through a medical disability review while working and if they passed the review without problems. If they have, maybe they can give you some tips!
WHAT HAPPENS IF I EARN MORE THAN $1,170?
If you are able to work and earn more than $1,170, Social Security will no longer consider you disabled and your disability check will discontinue.
If you are on SSDI, you can have nine months of Trial Work Periods where you can earn more than this without your check ending. Trial Work Periods are very confusing. Please be careful. It is easy to misunderstand and think you are safe when you are not. Learn more about work incentives.
IF YOU PLAN TO GO OFF DISABILITY
💮 If your condition has improved and you want to go off disability benefits, that is wonderful! It may be possible to keep your benefits while you transition back to work. It may be possible to keep Medicaid, even after you are working full time.
💮 If you are planning to go back to work and go off disability benefits, you may be helped by looking into a Ticket to Work program and other work incentives. Your local Vocational Rehabilitation program may also be able to help. If you are on SSDI, also look into Trial Work Periods. It is possible to keep your benefits and health insurance while you make the transition.
💮 Most states have special Medicaid programs for working people with disabilities. Look into what is available in your state.
IF YOU PLAN TO STAY ON DISABILITY
If you are still disabled and wish to try working part-time while receiving benefits, please take a look here: