The biggest worry for people who are on Social Security Disability (SSD) is that they end up losing them. Many people who receive SSD would love to work, but they fear that this would mean losing their benefit and being financially worse off overall. You do indeed have to report any income to the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately. However, they want people to work and will therefore make sure that you are financially supported. Indeed, there are situations where even the amount you receive remains unchanged. Two schemes are in place to protect you and your finances, being the Trial to Work Period and the Extended Period for Eligibility.
In order to find out whether you are able to work, you can use the Trial to Work Period. You have nine months to try this. During this period, you will continue to receive your full disability payments, regardless of how much money you earn. The only rules are that you tell the SSA about what you earn and how, and that you are still classed as being disabled. The SSA classes a month as a period during which you have earned $770, or, if you are working for yourself, if you have worked more than 80 hours. The nine months you can work don’t have to be consecutive, but rather have to occur within a 60 calendar month period. The second scheme is the Extended Period of Eligibility. This eligibility is available for a period of 36 months, during which you can have your income supplemented if it is not classed as “substantial”. At the minute, the earning cap is set at $1,070 per month. People who are blind have a higher cap, currently standing at $1,800.
Thanks to these schemes, nobody should find themselves in a situation where they are actually financially worse off if they work. These schemes can also be used by those people who are currently on Supplemental Security Income. The administration has put these schemes in place to make sure that people feel empowered to improve their lives, rather than feeling punished for doing so. However, this doesn’t mean that you will automatically receive your full benefits if you also take on a job. Hence, before you accept any paid job, you should speak to the SSA about how this will affect your current benefits. Additionally, once you start working, you must keep the SSA fully up to date about your income anyway. The most important thing is that you feel you can go out there and look for work.