Work rules for people receiving social security disability and supplemental security income vary from person to person.
The SSA has set out a set of general guidelines, the most important of which is, you can’t work under ‘substantial gainful activity’ while receiving benefits. If you decide to go to work, you can work through ‘trial work period’ under which you would be able to continue your benefits while earning an amount within the income limits set by the Social Security Administration, SSA.
The earning limits for an individual working under trial work period vary each year. The limit stated for 2019 is $880 per month for an individual. This means that any individual working and receiving social security benefits could not earn more than this amount of income. Your benefits will be discontinued immediately if your income increases beyond this amount.
What to report about your work to the Social Security Administration
If you are receiving disability benefits and decide to go to work, you are responsible for informing the SSA of starting any work under trial work period, and any of the changes that may follow. These changes include:
- Time when you started or stopped working;
- How much income you are earning;
- If you started paying for your medical expenses from your income through work;
- Your work details such as duties, hours, responsibilities, promotion or pay changes;
You can report changes in your work by phone, mail, or in person. You can find your local office on our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/locator. You may use mySocial Security to report your monthly wages online at. www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
What if your symptoms get worse
You will be able to keep all of your benefits as long your income does not cross the income limits set by the SSA under trial work period. The trial work period is of 12 months initially, however, if you lose your job during this period or your symptoms get worse again, preventing you to continue your work then you can ask the SSA to reinstate your benefits. You will be able to reinstate the benefits if this happens within the 36 month extended period of eligibility.
On the other hand, if you lose your job or your disability strikes again after the 36 month extended period of eligibility, then you may have to file for disability again.
Lastly, if your benefits were reduced or stopped during the trial work period or extended period of eligibility, you can always ask the SSA to re-continue your full benefits if you became disabled again. You won’t have to file a new application as long as you make the request to restart your benefits within 5 years of getting your benefits stopped.
Remember that even if you are working within the income limits during trial work period, the administrative law judge or a disability examiner may still see to your work as an ability to perform substantial gainful activity. It is important that you talk to an attorney to represent you in the best possible way if you want to do some work and continue your benefits.