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SSD benefits and returning to work

For individuals who are injured or ill and are unable to work because of their maladies, Social Security Disability benefits can be a very helpful resource. However, if those individuals do want to return to work but are unsure if injury or sickness will remain a preventative force, potentially losing those benefits can be a frightening thought. Thankfully, the Social Security Administration has certain incentives for those who want to try and get back to work with the opportunity for the benefits to restart if they can't work.

The SSA offers work incentives such as the trial work period, extended period of eligibility, expedited reinstatement, continuation of Medicare and work expenses related to the disability. The trial work period gives a claimant the opportunity to see if it's possible to go back to work for a minimum of nine months. The benefits will continue no matter how much is made at work as long as the work is reported and the disability is still in place. Currently, the total amount a person must earn per month for that month to be considered a trial work month is $780. Those who are self-employed can earn greater than $780 after expenses. The trial work period will last until the individual completes nine working months over a period of five years.

After the trial work period, there will be 36 months in which a claimant can continue to receive benefits provided that the earnings in a month weren't categorized as "substantial." Currently, any earnings over $1,090 per month are considered substantial. For someone who is blind, the amount is $1,820. With expedited reinstatement, there are five years to request that benefits be restarted if they have stopped due to substantial earnings, and the claimant can't keep working due to the issue or condition. Medicare can continue after the SSD benefits stop for at least 93 months after the trial work period.

For those who are receiving SSD benefits and would like to return to work, but are unsure of the federal regulations if they're not able to work and they would like to regain their benefits, it can be a difficult decision to move forward. Speaking to a legal professional about an inability to work and how an attempt to return to work can affect Social Security disability can yield information as to how the process works.

Source: ssa.gov, "Working While Disabled -- How We Can Help," Accessed May 5, 2015

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