What are the work incentives when receiving SSD benefits?

by Sep 19, 2016

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People across the United States who are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits might have the desire to try and get back to work, but are concerned that doing so will lead to a loss of benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) accounts for this by allowing work incentives to try and work while still retaining benefits. With the Social Security disability work incentives, people will have a trial work period, an extended period of eligibility, expedited reinstatement, the continuation of Medicare and payment for work expenses related to the disability.

During the trial work period, the recipient will be able to see if he or she is able to work for a minimum of nine months. In this time frame, they will receive the full SSD benefits, no matter how much they are earning, provided the SSA is informed and the disability is still in place.

For 2016, a trial work month will be considered a month in which the earnings surpass $810 after expenses. It will also be considered a trial work month if the person works more than 80 hours in their own business. Once the person has worked for nine months over a period of 60 months, the trial work period ends.

The extended period of eligibility means the person will have 36 months to work and continue receiving benefits, provided the earnings are not considered substantial. For 2016, substantial earnings would be considered more than $1,130 in a month and $1,820 if the recipient is blind.

Expedited reinstatement means that the claimant will have five years to request that the benefits restart, if they were initially stopped due to substantial earnings and the reason work was stopped was due to the disabling issue. With continuation of Medicare, those who have their SSD benefits stop due to earnings, but remain disabled, can have their Medicare Part A continue for a minimum of 93 months after the nine month trial period has ended. The claimant can also buy Medicare Part A. Those with Medicare Part B will have to pay the premium.

Disability recipients who work might have to pay for various items to accommodate the disability. Special transportation is an example. This might be able to be deducted from the earnings prior to determining remaining eligibility. Those who are receiving SSD benefits need to be cognizant of the federal regulations and requirements to retain or restart disability if they try to work. Speaking to an experienced attorney can help with this before, during and after the attempt to work is made.

Source: SSA.gov, “Working While Disabled — How We Can Help — Social Security work incentives at a glance, pages 6-7,” accessed on July 11, 2016