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Disability Issues: Can You Go Back to Work?

July 29, 2022 Social Security Disability

Not everyone who receives SSDI benefits is completely disabled for the remainder of their lives. They may begin to see some improvement in their condition, leaving them uncertain about what the future may hold. The prospect of returning to work becomes attractive, but concerns over whether their condition may worsen raise the fear of losing the benefits they need. What if they aren’t able to work after all? 

Thankfully, you have the right to work under SSA disability laws. If you think you may be able to return to work and want to protect your benefits, an attorney with experience in handling SSDI claims can help. 

The Trial Work Period

Going back to work does not mean immediately giving up your benefits. Under the SSA, people who are able to return to work can do so without giving up their SSDI benefits by means of a trial work period or TWP. As you might have guessed, however, there are limitations: 

  • You are entitled to a 9-month TWP; 
  • These 9 months need not be consecutive and can be any 9 months within a five-year period; 
  • Any month where you earn less than the statutory amount ($970 for 2022) will not count against your TWP

As a result, you can receive your full benefits for up to 9 months of working, even if you are earning more than the monthly SGA limit

Unfortunately, the trial work period can be confusing, especially if you are earning varying amounts. It can be especially complicated for people who are self-employed. If you have questions about your return to work, a Tampa lawyer who handles disability claims can provide you with the guidance you need. 

What Happens at the End of Your TWP

Once you have used all 9 months of your TWP, you enter a period referred to as an “extended period of eligibility” or EPE. This period lasts up to 36 months, during which time the SSA will determine whether you receive your benefits on a monthly basis depending on whether or not you earned more than the SGA limit. If you earned more than the SGA limit, you will not receive your benefits. If you earned less than the SGA limit, you will receive your benefits. 

At the expiration of the 36-month period, your benefits will terminate the first month you earn more than the SGA limit. This means that you will not receive benefits the next month even if you earn less than the SGA limit. 

Questions About Returning to Work? Talk to a Lawyer Today 

Whether you have already gone back to work or are wondering if you should, Tampa attorney Mike Murburg can help you navigate these issues and answer any other questions related to SSDI that you may have. He has more than 30 years of experience in helping people get and protect their disability benefits. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today at 877-SSI-ATTY to schedule a free consultation.