Kind of sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Receiving Social Security Disability benefits and working? It doesn't necessarily seem like the two would go hand-in-hand, but they can. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has special rules that make it possible for those receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments.
Many of our clients express their continued desire to work, while reporting that their disabilities simply do not allow them to do the work they used to do. Social Security has a work incentive and a Ticket to Work program, both designed to encourage and enable those receiving disability to return to the work force if they are interested in doing so.
There are some important things to keep in mind, however. If you decide you are going to return to the work force, you need to inform the SSA as soon as possible. They will be able to explain their work incentives to you, which include continued cash benefits for a time while you are working, continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work, and help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new line of work.
Obviously, if you are able to return to work full-time, and begin to earn wages that are what the SSA considers Substantial Gainful Employments, your cash benefits may come to a stop. The upside to this, though? If you return to work only to find out that you are unable to continue doing so because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again, and you would not need to re-start the disability process. This means you would not need to fill out another application, and you would certainly not need to attend another hearing.
Please keep in mind, however, that there is a time limit to how long you are allowed to work before you would actually need to restart the disability process. After your benefits stop because your earnings are substantial, you have five years during which you may ask the SSA to start your benefits immediately if you find yourself unable to continue working because of your condition.
Much like the above-noted work incentives, the Ticket to Work program may also help if you would like to return to work. The SSA provides individuals with vocational rehabilitations, job training and referrals, and support services free of charge. Additionally, you will not undergo medical reviews while you are using the ticket and making timely progress your return to work plan.
We want to make you aware of all of your opportunities; it's the least we can do! If you have any questions about the work incentives or Ticket to Work program, feel free to leave us a message and let us know what's on your mind. We'd be happy to provide extra information if you are interested, and point you in the right direction if you'd like to return to work!