Can I work but still receive Social Security Disability benefits?

You can continue to receive Social Security Disability benefits while holding a job that provides a limited income. But if you earn more than a defined maximum income you could lose your status as disabled. (For 2014, the limit is $1,070 a month or $1,800 for blind SSD recipients. For 2015, the limit is $1090 a month or $1820 for blind SSD recipients.)

Your status as disabled in the eyes of the Social Security Administration depends on your ability to hold a job. When considering your benefits application, claims reviewers will first consider whether you are able to perform the essential functions of your current job. If you can perform the job’s essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation, the SSA will likely say you are not disabled.

If the evaluation team determines your disability prevents you from returning to your previous job, they will then consider whether you can perform any kind of “substantial gainful activity.” They’ll take into account your medical condition, age, education, past work experience and any applicable skills you have. If you cannot do other work, you should then be classified as disabled.

If you receive SSD or SSI benefits but want to work, you must notify the SSA to protect your existing benefits eligibility. Earning income will reduce your benefit payments, but the SSA allows SSD recipients to test their ability to work for a period of time before reducing their benefits. The SSA also offers education, rehabilitation and training programs to help able SSD recipients return to work.

If you qualify for SSD benefits and are working or would like to return to work, you should consult an experienced SSD benefits attorney from Becker Law Office. We can advise you about how this may affect your benefits and help you notify the SSA of your work status.