Will I Lose My Disability If I Work Part-Time?

Will I Lose My Disability If I Work Part-Time? Understanding Your Benefits

Last updated Monday, April 1st, 2024

Will I Lose My Disability If I Work Part-Time? Understanding Your Benefits

Navigating part-time work while on disability benefits can be complex, and a pressing question arises: will I lose my disability if I work part time? The Social Security Administration has guidelines that allow for some employment without losing your benefits, provided you stay within the earning limits. This article breaks down these regulations so you can make informed decisions about part-time employment without compromising your SSDI or SSI support.

Key Takeaways

  • Individuals on SSDI can engage in part-time work as long as their earnings stay below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limits of $1,550 for non-blind individuals and $2,590 for blind individuals in 2024, with reporting income changes and utilizing work incentives to maintain benefits.
  • SSDI recipients have a Trial Work Period (TWP) that allows them to test their ability to work for nine months within a rolling 60-month period without affecting their benefits, followed by an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) for 36 additional months.
  • The Ticket to Work program provides SSI and SSDI beneficiaries with job training and employment services, while safeguards like Expedited Reinstatement offer a safety net for those who can no longer work due to their disability.

Were You Denied Social Security Benefits?
Call us at 312-422-0700An experienced social security claim denial lawyer knows what needs to be done. The minute you sign with Shuman Legal® – we start working.

Navigating Part-Time Work While on Disability

If you’re on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you’ll be pleased to know that you can work part-time while retaining your benefits. The key to maintaining your benefits while earning additional income lies in the parameters set by the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). In 2024, the SGA earnings limit for non-blind individuals is $1,550 per month, and $2,590 for blind individuals. Therefore, it is essential to ensure your part-time earnings stay within these limits to continue receiving your disability benefits.

What if you’re considering a job that may pay more than the SGA limit? Well, don’t rule it out just yet. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers specific work incentives that may allow you to earn more without compromising your benefits.

Reporting Income Changes to Social Security

One of the essential steps in maintaining your benefits while working part-time involves reporting income changes to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Imagine receiving a substantial settlement check and depositing it into your bank account. In a perfect world, you’d want every penny to go towards your expenses. However, any additional income, including your part-time earnings, could potentially lead to overpayments or underpayments of your social security benefits.

To navigate this, it’s crucial to report any changes to your income promptly. By doing so, you help the SSA accurately calculate your benefits, thus avoiding potential discrepancies. Remember, the SSA’s goal isn’t to garnish your hard-earned money but to ensure fair distribution of benefits.

The Impact of Additional Income on Benefits

You might be wondering – “How much of an impact could my part-time job have on my benefits?” Well, the income limits for working part-time while receiving Social Security Disability are $1,260 per month, or $2,110 per month if you are blind. However, there are ways to keep your earnings within these limits without compromising your standard of living.

One of these methods involves job-related expense deductions. You can earn more than the Social Security Disability income limits without affecting your benefits by using these. They provide an opportunity to increase your income without impacting your benefits. For instance, disability-related work expenses can be subtracted from your earnings, which could assist in keeping your income below the SGA limit. Additionally, employer subsidies such as additional support or reduced workload can aid SSDI recipients in maintaining their earnings within the permissible limits for benefits.

The Trial Work Period Explained

Now that we’ve covered the basics of balancing work and benefits, let’s delve into a unique opportunity offered by the SSA – the Trial Work Period (TWP). The TWP is a program that allows SSDI recipients to test their ability to work for a set time without losing benefits. This initiative is designed to encourage SSDI recipients to attempt returning to work without the immediate loss of benefits.

So, what does the TWP look like in practice? Well, SSDI recipients can earn an unlimited amount of income without affecting their benefits for any nine months of the trial work period, within a rolling 60-month timeframe. However, the TWP is initiated when an SSDI recipient’s total monthly income exceeds a certain trigger amount, which is adjusted annually by the SSA. It’s also worth noting that self-employed individuals begin their Trial Work Period when they work more than 80 hours in a month.

Maximizing Your Trial Work Period

The Trial Work Period is a golden opportunity to explore your ability to work while still receiving your SSDI benefits. However, it’s essential to remember that the TWP is only granted once during the lifetime of your disability benefit period, making strategic use crucial.

So, how can you maximize this period? Start by keeping track of the months used and your monthly earnings. This can help you use the TWP to your advantage and avoid exceeding the limit that would signal the end of your TWP. In addition, utilizing the grace period that follows the completion of the TWP allows for a smoother transition back into the workforce, or a chance to reassess your ability to continue working. In essence, maximizing the TWP involves using all nine months to explore work options and earn as much as possible without the immediate loss of SSDI benefits, thereby ensuring long-term financial stability.

Navigating After the Trial Work Period

Man thinkingSo, you’ve used up your Trial Work Period. What happens next? Well, after the TWP ends, you enter an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). This period provides an additional 36 months during which you can work and potentially receive SSDI benefits. However, during the EPE, SSDI benefits are payable in months when earnings do not exceed the SGA amount and are suspended in months where earnings surpass this threshold.

But what if you find yourself unable to continue working due to your disability? In such cases, Expedited Reinstatement is an option. This allows for a quick return to benefits if you are unable to continue working above SGA due to your disability within five years after your benefits ended. Furthermore, if during the re-entitlement period of 36 months, your earnings drop below the SGA level, your SSDI benefits can be restarted without needing to file a new application.

Extended Period of Eligibility and SSDI

Let’s delve deeper into the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). This period begins after the Trial Work Period ends and provides an additional 36 months to continue receiving benefits if your earnings are below the SGA limit, and your disability persists. But what happens if you exceed the SGA threshold for the first time during the EPE? In such a case, you are afforded a grace period including that month plus the subsequent two months, during which your benefits continue.

Following the EPE, your benefits can persist until you either work a month over the SGA level or experience medical recovery, assuming you are eligible for payment in the 37th month and not working above SGA.

Understanding the Earnings Limit During EPE

During the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), your income must not exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit, which for non-blind individuals is $1,550 per month in 2024. This limit has seen a consistent rise over time, reflecting an increase from the 2019 SGA amount for non-blind individuals, which was $1,220.

So, how can you manage to earn more without surpassing the SGA threshold? The answer lies in deductions for Impairment Related Work Expenses. These can decrease your countable income, thus allowing you to potentially earn more without surpassing the SGA threshold.

The Ticket to Work Program: An Overview

Now that we have a good understanding of how to balance part-time work and disability benefits let’s take a look at the Ticket to Work program. This program supports SSI and SSDI beneficiaries by providing job training and employment services, supporting their efforts to return to the workforce. Beneficiaries commonly become eligible for the Ticket to Work Program when they start receiving SSDI or SSI benefits and are still considered disabled.

The program operates through Employment Networks, which include state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and American Job Centers. These pivotal service providers help participants achieve certain work and earnings levels. By participating in the Ticket to Work program, you can avail of free employment services such as career counseling, training, job placement, and even exemptions from medical Continuing Disability Reviews as long as you are progressing toward your employment goals.

How the Ticket to Work Program Affects SSDI

The Ticket to Work program offers more than just support – it can significantly affect your SSDI. Participants can use their ticket to obtain services for work preparation, entry, and maintenance, with payments to service providers based on employment success. Moreover, you can continue to receive your SSDI benefits until you begin earning above the applicable earnings threshold for the SSDI program.

Social Security Work Incentives let beneficiaries reduce their countable income to continue receiving cash benefits while exploring work or seeking employment. And if you’re worried about losing your benefits due to your disability, rest assured. Social Security provides an Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits with a five-year safety net after cash benefits end due to work earnings, allowing a quick return to benefits if someone is unable to continue working above SGA due to their disability. Moreover, work expenses incurred due to disability, such as transportation to and from work or specialized work equipment, are deducted from earnings, effectively reducing countable income and allowing for the continuation of cash benefits.

Legal Implications of Working Part-Time on SSDI

Navigating the world of disability benefits while working part-time can be a daunting task, given the complex legal implications involved. But don’t let this deter you. A Social Security Disability benefits lawyer can assist an SSDI recipient with the application process by:

  • Helping them to understand and comply with SSA regulations
  • Guiding them on how to handle overpayment notices
  • Informing them of their rights, including the ability to appeal or request a waiver
  • Emphasizing the importance of adhering to time limits for these actions

Seeking Free Consultation from Experienced Attorneys

While the services of a lawyer may seem costly, it’s worth noting that many legal firms, with their dedicated legal team, offer free consultations. Consulting with a lawyer can provide essential guidance for individuals on disability benefits seeking to work part-time. Lawyers who are well-versed in social security disability laws can help ensure that clients comply with all regulations and maintain their benefits.

For instance, Shuman Legal offers consultations to those who have questions or need advice on how part-time work may affect their disability benefits.

Balancing Medical Bills and Work Expenses

One of the biggest challenges you might face while working part-time on SSDI is balancing medical bills and work expenses. For example, healthcare providers may have a lien against a personal injury settlement and need to be paid before the beneficiary can access the funds. Moreover, delays in the distribution of settlement funds can be caused by the slow movement of government processes or the need to repay bills from the settlement.

However, there are ways to navigate this. Disability benefit recipients working part-time may utilize work-related deductions, potentially increasing their allowable earnings before affecting their benefits. By effectively managing your settlement funds and utilizing work-related deductions, you can balance your medical bills and work expenses while maintaining your benefits.

Financial Planning with a Disability Insurance Payout

Financial planning plays an essential role in managing your disability insurance payout from an insurance company. The usual timeline for receiving a personal injury settlement check in a personal injury case is within one month after the settlement is finalized and signed, but the precise timing can be influenced by the efficiency of completing and returning required documents. Once the settlement check is received, banks can hold funds for 1-7 business days for verification but must provide a funds availability disclosure to customers.

However, your fair settlement check may be subjected to certain deductions during the payment process. These may include attorney’s fees, legal fees, liens for unpaid debts, and costs to medical providers, government agencies, and insurers, potentially reducing the total amount available to the beneficiary. And if the defendant has an attorney, the settlement check may initially be forwarded to them, potentially causing a delay in the beneficiary receiving their portion of the funds.

Safeguarding Medicare Coverage and Other Benefits

While managing part-time work and disability benefits, it’s also crucial to safeguard your Medicare coverage and other benefits. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Medicare coverage continues for at least 93 months after the end of the Trial Work Period for SSDI beneficiaries, even if their SSDI payments cease due to earnings.
  • Medicare Part A remains free for individuals after their SSDI benefits are discontinued due to earnings.
  • Medicare Part B still requires the payment of a premium.

For those on SSI, you may retain Medicaid eligibility even if your SSI payments stop due to work earnings, provided those earnings stay below a state-specific threshold according to the 1619b rule. By understanding these rules, you can ensure a seamless transition back into the workforce without losing your Medicare coverage and other benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take for settlement money to hit the bank account after signing release?

You can expect the settlement money to hit your bank account within two to six weeks after signing the release forms and processing. In cases involving large amounts, you may receive periodic compensation payments instead.

Will my SSDI be reduced if I work?

If you earn more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit, your SSDI benefits may be affected. The SSDI benefits may be reduced or lost if you exceed the SGA limit.

How can I work without losing my SSDI?

You can work without losing your SSDI benefits by utilizing the trial work period (TWP) offered by the SSA, which allows you to work for nine months within a rolling 60-month period without losing your disability benefits. This program enables you to test your ability to work without risking the loss of your benefits.

How much can I earn without affecting my SSDI?

You can earn up to $2,460 per month if you are blind, or $1,470 per month if you are non-blind, without affecting your SSDI. Be mindful of the monthly income amounts that might trigger a trial work period (TWP).

What is the most hours you can work on disability?

You can typically work up to 45 hours per month if you’re self-employed and on SSDI, which is around 10 hours per week, without surpassing the substantial gainful activity limit set by the SSA. It’s also important not to be the only person working for your business.

Get Our Team, Working In Your Favor

Sidebar top Sidebar bottom
Most Trusted Lawyer

Shuman Legal® named as one of America's Most Trusted Lawyers Award for the 6th year in a row.

2017 Most Trusted Lawyers2018 Most Trusted Lawyers2019 Most Trusted Lawyers2020 Most Trusted Lawyers2021 Most Trusted Lawyers2022 Most Trusted Lawyers2024 Top 10 Chicago Motorcycle Accident LawyerBBB Accredited