How can people with disabilities maintain benefits and work without losing their benefits?


Quick Answer

As a general rule, individuals can't collect disability and participate in substantial gainful activity while collecting disability unless in a trial work program, according to DisabilitySecrets. If individuals make more than the monthly threshold while on disability, the Social Security Administration considers them to be participating in substantial gainful activity.

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Full Answer

Disability recipients are encouraged to test their ability to work and receive their full benefits even if they make more than the allotted SGA amount, as DisabilitySecrets explains. This trial period can last nine months. Once that nine-month period is up, recipients can still receive disability for any month that their earnings fall below the allotted level for up to 36 months. If recipients earn more than the allotted amount, they can't receive disability benefits for that month.

If disability benefits cease because the recipient's income is substantial, Social Security allows five years during which benefits can be reinstated if the recipient had to stop working because of disability, according to DisabilitySecrets. During that five-year period, the Social Security Administration does not require the recipient to file a new application for benefits. If the recipient loses his job during the trial period, the benefits are not affected. If the recipient loses his job during the 36 months following the trial and is still disabled, he needs to contact the Social Security Administration for reinstatement, according to DisabilitySecrets.

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