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What are work incentives when receiving SSD benefits?

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North Carolina residents often receive Social Security Disability benefits because of an injury, condition or illness that leaves them with an inability to work. However, there are some people who receive disability who would like to try and get back to work. There is a concern that working will mean their benefits will stop and they will no longer have their disability payments if they find their issues prevent them from working. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration offers work incentives.

There are several work incentives that the SSA has for those who are getting disability and want to try and work. The trial work period gives a person nine months to test whether they can work or not. During that period, they will get their benefits no matter how much they earn provided they report to work and have a disability. For 2017, the trial work month will be any month in which the earnings surpass $840. For someone who is self-employed, the earnings must be more than $840 after expenses or they work more than 80 hours in their business. The nine months of trial work will be within a 60-month period.

After the trial work period has ended, there is an extended period of eligibility for 36 months. In that time, the person can work and get benefits for months in which there are not “substantial” earnings. For 2017, that is anything over $1,170. For a blind person, it is $1,950. Expedited reinstatement is available within five years if the benefits have stopped due to substantial earnings and the condition, illness or injury prevents work. When benefits have stopped because of earnings but the disability is still in place, the Medicare Part A coverage will continue for 93 months after the trial work period. Medicare Part A is available for purchase after that. With Medicare Part B, the premiums must be paid. To end Medicare Part B, there must be a written request.

Finally, work expenses related to disability can be covered. An example would be a taxi to get to work if it is necessary because of the condition. The SSA has the option of deducting these expenses from the monthly earnings prior to deciding on continued eligibility. Those who are getting SSD benefits will have the chance to try and work and not worry about losing their benefits if they are unable to. If there are questions or concerns about working and receiving Social Security Disability, a legal professional can be of assistance.

Source:, “Working While Disabled: How We Can Help — Social Security work incentives at a glance, pages 2-4,” accessed on July 17, 2017

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