People on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have a limited ability to earn income. They are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits because their disability prevents them from taking part in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
However, some beneficiaries are physically capable of working a limited amount of hours. Many of these individuals ask the question, Can I work part time and collect Social Security Disability? The answer is yes, SSDI and even SSI beneficiaries can work part time and still receive monthly payments through various programs.
How the Social Security Administration Helps You Work While Disabled
The Social Security Administration (SSA) wants individuals to work and support themselves whenever possible. This is why they offer work incentive programs that help SSDI and SSI beneficiaries return to the workforce.
Ticket to Work Program
The Ticket to Work Program helps SSDI and SSI recipients get back to work without losing their disability benefits. Through this free program, beneficiaries get the support they need to find suitable employment and eventually achieve financial independence.
Training, job referrals, vocational rehabilitation, and various other supportive services are available to individuals who take part in the program. They also gain access to approved Ticket to Work service providers.
The SSA’s Work Incentives
The SSA has special rules known as work incentives that allow SSDI and SSI beneficiaries to test their ability to maintain steady employment without losing disability benefits. This allows disabled individuals to make a smooth transition into a reliable form of employment. Beneficiaries who take advantage of work incentives also gain access to various support services.
Trial Work Period – How Can You Work Part Time on Social Security Disability?
A Trial Work Period enables SSDI beneficiaries to work for 9 months while still receiving Social Security Disability benefits. What a beneficiary earns will not affect their benefit amount as long as they still qualify as disabled. SSI beneficiaries are not eligible for Trial Work Periods.
The 9 months that a beneficiary is able to work and still receive benefits are called trial work months. Any month where the beneficiary’s total earnings (after business expenses) are above the specified SGA amount is considered a trial work month.
If a beneficiary is self-employed and works more than 80 hours in a month, it’s also considered a trial work month.
Any disability-assistance related expenses that are required for a beneficiary to be able to work will be deducted from their monthly earnings. Examples may include transportation costs, counseling services, specialized work equipment, etc.
A Trial Work Period lasts until a beneficiary has worked 9 cumulative trial work months within a 60-month period. Once the Trial Work Period has concluded, participants enter an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE).
Extended Period of Eligibility
An EPE is a 36 month period that allows working individuals to restart their disability benefits if their monthly earnings fall below the SGA level. Disabled individuals in an EPE period can become re-entitled to benefits without filing a new disability application.
Expedited reinstatement allows disabled individuals to restart their disability benefits if they can no longer make SGA monthly earnings due to their condition. No new application will need to be filed and the disabled individual will start receiving provisional benefits while their request for reinstatement is reviewed. Provisional benefits last for up to 6 months.
The expedited reinstatement period lasts for 5 years following the cessation of disability benefits.
Who Can Receive Expedited Reinstatement?
Expedited Reinstatement is for disabled individuals whose disability benefits were terminated when their earned income exceeded the monthly SGA amount. You can file for Expedited Reinstatement if the following apply:
- You are no longer able to work at the SGA level due to your medical condition.
- You originally stopped receiving benefits due to your monthly earnings.
- You have a disability that is the same as, or related to, the disability that originally qualified you for benefits.
- You are applying within five years from the month your benefits ended.
Expedited Reinstatement acts as a safety net for working, disabled individuals who have gotten off SSDI or SSI, but may need to rely on these benefits again in the future.
Other Work Incentives for Disability Beneficiaries
There are many other work incentive programs for SSDI and SSI recipients, such as Student Earned-Income Exclusion (SEIE) and Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS). These programs are often specific to what type of disability benefits a person is receiving.
If you are on SSDI or SSI and want to work, speaking with a qualified disability lawyer in Oakland, CA from Ortega Disability Group will help you get started.
Contact Us at Ortega Disability Group
If you’re on SSDI or SSI you may be asking the question, Can I work part time on Social Security Disability? The attorneys at Ortega Disability Group can help you assess your options and find the most suitable program for your needs.
Contact us to schedule an initial consultation and speak with our qualified SSDI and SSI lawyers in California.