Social Security offers incentives to those who rejoin the workforce

by Feb 28, 2017Frequently Asked Questions

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Social Security has programs in place to help SSDI beneficiaries rejoin the workforce without losing their financial assistance.

Social Security Disability benefits are designed to provide financial assistance to people who are no longer able to work because of a mental or physical condition. There may come a time where Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries in Tennessee choose to venture back into the workforce. Some people may be afraid that they will lose their benefits once they begin to work again. There are programs in place, however, that allow people to work and keep their Social Security Disability benefits under certain conditions. In fact, some of these programs give incentives to people who want to return to work.

Plan to achieve self-support

It can be difficult for people who become disabled through an accident or illness. Social Security knows that for many, their goal is to be able to return to the workforce and the agency provides a program that is designed to help them achieve self-support. To participate in this program, people who receive disability benefits must sit down and set up a plan on how they intend to become independent. This can include their job goals, what services or training they need, costs and how long it will take. The plan must then be given to Social Security and receive approval.

Once the plan is approved, people can put money for their goal into a separate account. The money can then be used for goods or services which are connected to their work plan without it affecting their eligibility for benefits. The plan can be changed or halted, but participants should understand that they may have to pay some of the SSDI they received back to Social Security.

Trying it out

If a work plan is not a good option, people may want to look at Social Security’s trial work period. During a timeframe of five years or 60 months, people are able to work up to nine months and still receive their disability benefits. This allows people to essentially try out a job to see if they can work with their disability. If a person works just a couple of months but their disability becomes worse, they can leave the job without any interruption in their benefits. Then, if the person’s condition approves a couple of years later, they can try to return to work again under the program.

In order to continue to qualify for SSDI while in this program, beneficiaries must report the following to Social Security:

•· Specific duties, hours and pay, as well as if there is a change in duties, hours or pay

•· Payment for work-related expenses that stem from their disability, like a taxi cab for transportation because they cannot drive or walk.

•· Start and stopping dates for a job worked

If the beneficiary makes over $780 or works more than 80 hours throughout the month, that period is considered a work month. Social Security also provides an extension on the program if a person on benefits works the nine months and wants to continue to work. People can extend to a 36 month or three-year period where they can still receive benefits as long as they don’t earn more than the allowed amount.

Legal help

Whether people in Tennessee wish to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or they want to return to work without losing their financial assistance, they may find it helpful to speak to an attorney. One small error can cause an SSDI application to be denied or it may take longer for people to receive the benefits they need.