Can you work while on Disability?

It’s a simple question, but the answer isn’t cut-and-dry.

People routinely ask us: Can you work while on Disability?  There are rules ― and exceptions. In general, it’s okay to do a small amount of work while getting Disability benefits. The government isn’t going to take away your Disability check because you babysat for a friend or sold a handmade item at a craft fair.

However, it is important to understand that there are limits to how much income you can bring in if you want your Disability checks to continue. In 2016, that number is $1,130 per month (or $1,820 for a blind person). That amount is the measure by which the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines your ability to perform “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) ― that is, engage in significant and productive work.

If you earn more than $1,130 per month, you could jeopardize your Disability status. There are exceptions, however.

If your condition improves and you would like to try and reenter the workforce, the SSA offers a Trial Work Period (TWP), which will allow you to test the waters for nine months and still receive full monthly benefits. During the trial work period, there are no limitations on your earnings as long as you report it and your work activity.

The SSA also offers a Ticket to Work program, which also helps people with disabilities return to work without losing their monthly Disability benefits. This program connects you with free employment services to help you decide if working is right for you and to help you find a suitable job. They offer services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation and job placement.

Both programs are designed to help you gain financial independence if your medical condition improves. At some point, the SSA may perform a review to determine whether or not you are still disabled.

While working can help you financially and emotionally, it’s important to know your limits and what kind of impact working can have on your Disability status. If you have more questions, the Disability team at McDonald Law Firm would be happy to assist you. Call us today at 877-568-8413. We are standing by, ready to help.

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