Collecting Social Security Disability Benefits While Returning to Work

Various Workers From Different Areas of the Workforce That Are Returning to WorkMany injured employees who are collecting Social Security disability benefits are hesitant to return to work out of fear of jeopardizing these benefits. The concern is understandable, since the approval process required to receive compensation can be long and tedious. However, it is possible to return to work for a trial period while continuing to collect benefits.

Trial Work Programs

The Social Security Administration (SSA) promotes trial work programs since they allow disabled workers to return to their jobs without fear of losing their benefits. If an employee tries to go back to work, and finds that he is unable to continue his employment due to his disability, he won’t be required to apply for benefits again. Instead, he will simply return to the disability program he previously qualified for. The following is a brief overview of other factors that can affect trial work programs:

  • Trial Work Program Limits. When an injured worker who is currently receiving disability benefits informs the SSA that he wishes to return to work, limitations will apply based on the type of disability program:
  • Medical vocational allowance. Injured employees approved under a medical vocational allowance are considered unable to work any job.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Individuals receiving SSDI are allowed to test their ability to work for up to nine months while they continue to collect full benefits. For 2018, the SSA counts any month during which the worker earns more than $850 a trial work month.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Individuals receiving SSI may continue to receive benefits while earning up to $750 per month during 2018. The first $85 earned each month is exempt. However, the SSA will reduce benefits by 50 cents for every dollar earned over this amount.

An Experienced Social Security Attorney Can Help

The rules governing disability income can be complicated and confusing. If you’d like to return to work while continuing to receive benefits, a Social Security attorney can help you understand the rules and protect your eligibility for benefits. To learn more, contact the Injury & Disability Law Center by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.


Joshua Worley
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Roswell, NM Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer
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