Can You Lose Your Disability if You Get a Job?

Many people who fought long and hard to receive the Social Security Disability benefits wonder if they will immediately lose their eligibility for the program if they decide to apply for part-time or full-time work.

The short answer to that question is, no, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries will not immediately lose their benefits if they seek out employment. However, eligibility for the program will end gradually after a trial work-period has expired.

Here are some important facts to know about working while receiving SSD benefits, straight from the Social Security Administration’s website:

SSA’s work incentives and Ticket to Work programs: These programs are designed to help disability recipients transition back into the workforce while still temporarily receiving cash benefits and medical coverage.

 Education, training and rehabilitation: These services as well as many others are also available through the SSA for those who are interested in sharpening previous skills or gaining new ones.

Trial work period: The trial work period lasts at least nine months and is a time when beneficiaries can attempt to work while still receiving cash benefits so long as they still have a disabling condition and are reporting the work activity to the SSA.

Extended period of eligibility: The extended period of eligibility kicks in after the trial work period has ended and allows beneficiaries to collect cash benefits for months during which the money they earn through employment is not “substantial.”

Expedited reinstatement: At the end of the trial work period and extended period of eligibility, former SSD beneficiaries still have five years to ask for cash benefits to be immediately reinstated if their disabling condition is once again preventing them from working.

Retaining health insurance coverage: Medicare will continue for at least 93 months after the nine-month trial work period so long as the beneficiary still has the disabling condition.

Re-applying for benefits: If the disabling condition forces the beneficiary to quit his or her job, the beneficiary may not have to re-apply for benefits in order to qualify again.

Note: This information is not intended to be legal advice. To get legal advice on returning to work while receiving SSD benefits, consult an experienced SSD lawyer in your area.