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Can You Work Part Time On Social Security Disability?

Last updated: April 9, 2023

In the US, 61 million people live with a disability. That's 1 in 4 adults or 26% of the population. The government has paid disability benefits to over 9 million people, which totaled $11.9 billion in December 2020 alone. However, this is not enough, as the Social Security Disability Program has strict requirements, and not everyone qualifies for a disability benefit. 

Further, those who qualify may not receive the full benefit, prompting others to ask: can you work part time on Social Security Disability? Read on to explore how to augment the income received from SSDI. 

Part Time Work And Receiving SSDI Benefits: Work Incentives You Should Know

Part Time Work And Receiving SSDI Benefits

Several types of work incentives help people receiving SSDI benefits explore part time employment. While transitioning to a full-time job can be a long, tedious process, there are work incentives that can help you explore part-time work opportunities while still receiving your disability benefits. 

Extended Eligibility Period

The Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) is another incentive to help people transition from parttime work to full disability status if necessary. Through this incentive, those who have completed their TWP can extend their medical benefits for 36 months regardless of their earnings exceeding the substantial gainful activity limit set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). 

This allows individuals to make mistakes or take risks with their employment without worrying about losing their health insurance coverage. 

Expedited Reinstatement

Individuals whose Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits have been terminated due to work activity can reinstate their benefits more quickly and easily through the EXR provision.

It is designed to help people who have returned to work but cannot continue working due to their disability and avoid having to apply again for disability benefits after a long waiting period.

Plan To Achieve Self-Support (PASS)

This program allows individuals with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to set aside money and resources for certain expenses to achieve a specific work goal. PASS aims to help individuals with disabilities become self-sufficient by providing them with the resources they need to achieve a specific employment-related goal, such as education, training, or starting a business. 

PASS plan can include tuition, books, equipment, and transportation expenses. The individual's SSI benefits will be fine while participating in a PASS if they follow their approved plan and meet its requirements.

Trial Work Period

Under this program, disabled persons have nine months in a rolling 60-month period during which they can test their ability to handle full-time employment while still receiving their disability benefits. 

During this trial period, they will also retain their Medicare coverage as long as they continue to meet the criteria for disability. 

Student Earned-Income Exclusion (SEIE)

This provision in the Social Security Act allows students under the age of 22 who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to earn more money from work without having their benefits reduced.

The SEIE is intended to encourage students with disabilities to work while they are still in school and to provide them with an opportunity to gain work experience, so they will be more likely to find and maintain employment after graduation.

Disability Benefits And Part Time Work 

Part time work can be an important step towards independence for individuals with disabilities or differently-abled persons. Knowing about the various SSDI incentives available for those exploring part time employment options can give you peace of mind as you embark on your journey toward finding meaningful employment opportunities.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

The SGA determines if an individual can work and earn a significant income. The SGA level is set by the SSA and is based on the national average wage index. If an individual earns more than the SGA level and can engage in substantial gainful activity, they will not be considered disabled. They will not be eligible for disability benefits.

For 2023, the monthly SGA for the statutorily blind is $2,460 and $1,470 for non-blind individuals.

Tips To Know When Applying For Social Security Disability

Tips To Know When Applying For Social Security Disability

Here are some tips to keep in mind when applying for Social Security Disability:

  1. Gather all necessary documentation: This includes medical records, treatment records, lab results, and any other documentation that supports your claim of disability.
  2. Complete the application thoroughly: Answer all questions and provide detailed information about your medical condition, treatment, and work history.
  3. Be honest: Provide accurate and complete information on your application. Lying on your application can result in the denial of benefits.
  4. Follow up on your application: Keep track of the status of your application and follow up with the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you have yet to hear back within a reasonable time frame.
  5. Consider hiring a disability attorney: An attorney can help you navigate the complex application process and represent you in front of the SSA, increasing your chances of approval.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to commonly asked questions:

How many hours can I work and still collect social security?

The number of hours you work depends on how much you earn per hour. Remember that the SSA withholds $1 for every $2 you earn above the limit. For 2023, the limit is $21,240. 

How much can I earn while on SSD in 2023?

When you're working during the trial period, there's no limit to how much you can earn. However, during the 36-month extended eligibility period, you can only earn a maximum of $1,470 per month. If you're blind, the maximum increases to $2,460 per month. 

Will I lose my SSDI if I work part time?

You don't lose your Social Security Disability benefits if you work part time. It's encouraged that you look for part time work while receiving benefits to transition to normal living. 

How long does SSD last?

Social Security Disability benefits stay active as long as you're disabled. However, it stops at age 65, when retirement benefits begin. 

At what age can you earn unlimited income on social security?

Once you reach your full retirement age, which is 66 or 67, depending on your birth year, there is no limit to how much you can earn and still collect Social Security. The full retirement age for people born between 1943 and 1954 is 66; for people born between 1955 and 1959, it gradually increases to 67; and for people born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67.

Can you work part time on social security disability? Yes, you can. The government encourages it, and understanding the available programs will help you get all the assistance you need while coping with your disability.

Do you want to receive more disability payments? Learn How to Increase Social Security Disability Payments in this post.

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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