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Going on disability means your personal earned income is restricted to only $1,260 a month. But despite what you may have heard, a job isn’t out of the question when you’re on Social Security Income.
Can you work while on disability? The answer is yes. Here’s what you need to know.
What the Social Security Administration Says About Working on Disability
The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t ban work when you get disability benefits. However, you do have to tell the SSA when you start or stop working because working does impact your benefits.
The SSA offers programs specifically designed for recipients who work or want to work someday. These include work incentives as well as the Ticket to Work program.
Some of the incentives the SSA offers include:
- Short-term cash benefits while working
- Help with starting a new job or industry
- Continued Medicare or Medicaid benefits while working
The Ticket to Work program offers job seekers benefits like:
- Job referrals
- Free vocational rehabilitation
- Employment support
These incentives help you out when you are sure you want to work. There are other offers you can avail of if you think you want to go back to work, but you’re not sure if it’s the right choice. These include options like the trial work period, which allows you nine months to decide if you’re ready to work.
Can You Work While on Disability and Still Receive Benefits?
As we mentioned above, you can still get some benefits when you work on disability. However, your benefits will be curtailed at a certain point, depending on your income.
Income is any cash (or in-kind income) used to help you pay for basic needs, such as food and shelter. It can also be food and shelter paid in-kind for work you do, particularly if you receive those things for free or at less than fair market value.
Not everything counts as income. An income tax refund or loans for SSI beneficiaries that you have to repay don’t count as income.
When your income goes up, your SSI payments go down accordingly. If you earn over the limit, then your income stops during those months.
The good news is that there are no income limits during your trial period. After your trial period ends and you go into your 36-month period of extended eligibility, you can earn $1,260 or $2,110 if you’re blind before your benefits stop.
Social Security Disability is Complicated
There’s no doubt about it – dealing with SSI is complicated. But it’s not as restrictive as you might have heard.
Can you work while on disability? The answer is yes. The SSA even encourages you to try if that’s what you want. You have a grace period allowing you to try to return to employment and programs aiming to help you get back into your old job or find a new one.
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