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Can an income increase jeopardize your benefits?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Receiving Social Security disability benefits does not mean you cannot work. The Social Security Administration encourages you to return to the workplace if you desire.

Having a job also may not mean an immediate end to your benefits. Depending on your circumstances, you might still be able to collect benefits while maintaining a job. Learning about how your work could impact your benefits can help you know what to expect.

Notifying the SSA of your return

The SSA requires you to contact them and notify them of your intention to return to work. Getting a job without telling the SSA and continuing to collect benefits can have significant repercussions. If the SSA finds out about your job, you could lose your benefits altogether, and you might face requirements to repay benefits.

Once you inform officials about your plan to seek work, they will provide you with resources to support your endeavor. They will educate you about your options for returning to work and describe how your actions could impact your benefits.

Understanding your benefits

The term “substantial gainful activity” is what the SSA uses to define the point where your benefits will end. According to the SSA, a trial work period allows you to test having a job again to see if it works out for you. During this time, there is no limit on how much you can earn. However, during the subsequent 36-month extension, the SSA places a cap on how much you can earn if you anticipate keeping your benefits.

If you do start making enough money to reach substantial gainful activity and your benefits do end, you can always reapply if you reach a point of incapacity again.