How Can I Reenter the Workforce After SSDI?

Are you ready to work again? The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers incentives to help you take steps toward financial independence, while providing a safety net should you become unable to work again. 

When you go back to work, the SSA gives you a grace period where you can continue to receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. Learn more about going back to work after long-term disability. 

Returning to Work After Disability 

Before losing your disability benefits completely, you can test the workforce waters with a trial work period. After your trial work period, you can continue to receive benefits when you need them for up to three years. 

You must notify the SSA when you return to work. You will need to report your duties, hours and pay, along with any expenses you need to work due your disability. 

SSDI Trial Work Period

A trial work period lets you test your ability to work while you receive full benefits. Trial work periods only last nine months. Your trial work period does not have to be nine consecutive months, but all nine months must take place within five years. 

In 2020, a trial work month is any month that you earn more than $910. Regardless of your earnings each month you will still receive full benefits. If you are self-employed, you must work more than 80 hours each month for the month to count toward your trial work period. 

Extended Period of Eligibility

The extended period of eligibility is a 36-month period immediately following your trial work period. During this time, you can receive benefits for every month your earnings or work activities are below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, which is $1260 gross income per month in 2020.

If you earn over the SGA amount, your benefits will cease. You will receive benefits for the month your disability was declared ceased and the two following months.

Expedited Reinstatement 

After your disability benefits cease, you can restart your benefits right away if your condition requires you to stop working or your earnings dip below the SGA amount. Expedited reinstatement means you don’t have to reapply for the SSA to restart your benefits. 

You must make a request for reinstatement within five years of your benefit’s end. After five years, you no longer qualify for expedited reinstatement, so if you needed benefits again you would have to reapply. 

What About SSDI Medicare?

Are you worried about paying for healthcare? Returning to work after disability doesn’t mean you’ll lose your healthcare. Even if your cash benefits end, you’ll continue to receive free Medicare Part A as long as you still meet the SSA’s definition of disabled

Your SSDI Medicare coverage will continue for up to 93 consecutive months after your trial work period. That’s almost eight years after your trial work period ends. 

Ticket to Work Program

You may not be able to return to the same job or type of work you once did. People who receive SSDI benefits are eligible for Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program. Under Ticket to Work, you can receive free training in order to find a new job. 

You’ll work with a Ticket to Work provider to set your work goals and take the necessary steps to reach them. You’ll receive special services like career counseling, job search support, resume building and other types of training through Employee Networks (ENs). More significant services are available through Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies. 

Applying for social security benefits for the first time? Need someone to guide you through the appeal process? 

Contact Reynolds & Gold. We will represent you in your disability case.  

A young man with a prosthetic leg uses a tablet with his grandmother.