When you sign up for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you are
showing to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your illness
or disability is severe enough that it prevents you from being able to
support yourself by maintaining your current employment status. While
some people are reluctant to work at all since they fear their ability
to collect SSDI payments would be lost, SSA has some rules that allow
some people to try working part or full-time while still providing their
Can I work while receiving benefits?
SSA has established the Trial Work Period (TWP) to allow SSDI recipients
to try and work while still receiving their benefits. It allows you to
work a total of nine months over a 60 month period, allowing you to earn
an unlimited amount without diminishing your monthly SSDI payment.
A month of work in SSA terms refers to anytime you:
- Earn more than $770 each month, or
- Work over 80 hours in a month when you are self-employed.
All monthly earnings count towards this amount, deducting impairment-related
work expenses that are out-of-pocket costs. The amount of time you work
must be reported to SSA, including pay stubs and copies of the receipts
of work expenses by the 10
th of each month you work. Failure to do so can result in immediate termination
A TWP is not enough for Social Security to decide to discontinue your benefits
once you have been deemed disabled or sick. Medical records are the indicator
examined to determine whether or not you still qualify.
Extended Period of Eligibility Follows TWP
Following the TWP, the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) may apply.
This is a 36-month window where you are able to continue receiving SSDI
payments as long as you remain disabled and earn less than $1,070. If
you earn over this amount in any month, you will lose that month's
SSDI payment and indicate to SSA that you are no longer disabled, leading
your benefits to be terminated after a two-month period. If you stop working
at any point, you are able to re-enroll in benefits without refiling.
Working while you are receiving Social Security Disability Benefits does
not necessarily mean that your benefits will cease, but you have to abide
by a new set of rules to continue receiving these benefits. If you are
wondering how you may be affected by working under SSA rules, contact
a SSDI attorney to help you understand your rights.