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Social Security and Going Back to Work...Very Scary! The Way to Keep Up with Your Benefits!

Updated on November 17, 2014

Eliminating The Fear

After going through the process of applying for benefits or having an attorney do it for you, it seems almost insane to think of working while receiving benefits. However, I know the real numbers and risks involved. In this post, I want to help eliminate the fear that extra income might do to help your family without affecting your benefits at all. I also want to share if you want to try to work at a full-time job and know what will happen. Lastly, I want to review my own experience in having disability benefits and how my work has and has not effected my monthly check. This article should be a start to your own research and even discussion with the government on your benefits. Please verify all of my own research with your questions with an appropriate person in the social security administration or The Ticket to Work Program. I will also talk about a website that may help you recover expenses if you work over a certain amount. All of this is to be research yourself to make sure I am correct before attempting to use my article as the only source for your research.

Social Security, A Program for Retirement and Disabled Americans

Disabilities, Seen and Unseen

First, an explanation of the program and who it is intended to assist. To the right of this paragraph, you see someone in a wheelchair. Many people who are disabled have hidden disabilities. It sometimes takes months, even years, for these people to finally get disability. Some even go to an attorney specializing in disability because they do not understand that bascially, you have to have a disability that permanently prohibits you from working to support your basic needs. Social security is a type of governmental insurance that if you become disabled, from a permanent health issue, there is money set aside from your paycheck to offset the lost income. The fact remains that this amount is substantially less than most good jobs. Being on social security is not a benefit where you get a ton of money for being disabled. Therefore, I wanted to help those who are disabled supplement and maybe replace their disability if they have had recent health procedures which help them go back to work. Facing the fact that there are ways you are protected makes me certain this article will help those facing getting benefits, and the lack of money to pay their bills, to those who are still disabled with benefits, and finally those attempting to find work.

The Big Bad Government & The Disabled Person

The Trial Work Period

The trial work period is what the government uses to see if you can work. It involves a span of time of five years. During this five year span, if you work and make over $769 a month or work more than 80 hours a month, you must contact the social security administration and tell them that you think you have used one of your trial work periods. They will confirm with you the parameters of number of hours worked and how much. If you fall below, $769 you will not have this counted against your months of trial work periods. What is wonderful is if you got a fantastic job and only work for one month you could make a million dollars, if you did all the work in one month, and you would not lose your benefits. It would only be used against your "trial work period". But here is the information for those who don't want to even get close to losing their benefits: You can work and make up to $769 and less than 80 hours of work, and the government does not care. So those of you who are not able to support yourself on your disability check alone, NOTE THIS! You could work a part-time job, less than 80 hours a month, and make less than $769, and no one at social security will take away your check. You may want to call social security and tell them that you are working part-time and only getting $500 a month or up to $769, and less than 80 hours so they know you are above board and will let them know if your status changes. If you are newly applied for disability benefits, I would not work until you knew your benefits were in place.

Remember These Numbers!

Applying for Benefits
You should not work
A part-time job may actually hurt your changes of getting disability.
Do not work until you get your benefits.
Once you get disability, you can work without effecting your check.
9 month trial work period
Over a five year period, you can use 9 months to determine if you can work.
If you make over $769 or more than 80 hours a month, one month out of five years will be used.
Once you use your trial work period, you may still get your check.
After you make over $769 or 80 hours a month.
You have a three-year period where you can still get your check.
You can work and make up to $1,069 and not lose your check for the month.
Medicare is available longer than you think!
If you make over $1,069 and full time work.
You can still get your check if one month or more your earnings fall below $1,069.
Remember if you work less than $1,069, you can call and get your check for that month.
Keep up with Your Status!
You can still keep Medicare.
Yes, for seven years!
Medicare is a government-type insurance you get when you are disabled. This benefit last past the three years if you make over $1,069.
This may seem confusing so I will explain below!

Now Don't You Feel Better?

Keeping Your Check!!!

Let me explain for those people who are starving or going without basic needs because you are disabled. There is hope. You can get your check, and the government can be told, and nothing will happen to you as long as you do not work more than 80 hours a month, and you make less than $769. If you make over $770, you will have to count your work towards your trial work period. So if you do not want a review of your benefits, keep your hours down and your pay beneath the $769. You could make $500 of extra money and work 20 hours, for example, and your benefits will not be effected at all. I am writing this article for these people. I worry over the people who make less than $1,000 on disability and cannot even pay their bills. Knowing that you can work, very little, and make necessary bills will give me great comfort. I wanted you to benefit from this article more than anyone. I know it may be hard to work due to pain, mental anxiety, stress, but sometimes the stress of not being able to eat, buy clothes, pay utilities, or do anything fun, is so hard on a disabled person that it actually makes some people depressed, and this depressed state could hurt your health even more. Please call your local social security office and ask them about this as I know this information is correct. Verify and then ask friends or family if you could do something for them and report your earnings to social security and tell them that you will not be using any of your trial work period.

The Ticket to Work Program Explained by the Government

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So What is The Three Year $1,069 Rule?

The government will not take your check away if you report that you are working, and that you are only making $1,069 a month. Your trial work period has been used up when you go over $769 for 9 months within a five year period. However, the government allows you to work up to $1,069 and still keep your check. If you make over that amount, you report the earning and your check will be suspended. Please do not assume they will not find out. Be honest and up-front when working as your benefits could stopped based on the assumption you are really not disabled, and you are scamming the government. As long as the check is under $1,069 for a total in a month, and you tell the government, you should be okay. Your reviews may increase, but if your doctor knows about your disability and keeps you under monthly care, you will not lose your benefits. The reason you got disability in the first place is because one or two or more doctors told social security you could not work and were permanently disabled. So your doctor is your friend in this disability game. Your doctor will always be notified if you get worst and need to quit. Make sure you keep your medications up and any appointments. I have only been reviewed a few times over 25 years because I was constantly having something done by a doctor. My records attested to my inability to work. I have documentation from my doctor as to my reason for disability which is a rare brain disorder and chronic depression due to chronic pain. Remember always inform your doctor what you are doing! You should be safe even making $1,069 if you are honest and keep everyone informed what you are doing. Don't assume that you will be okay if you don't inform your doctor or social security. Tell them, "I am working, but I am still disabled and I make below $1,069 a month."

Good Site for Going to Work! Land-a-job!

If you go to work and make over $769, this website if you give them your ticket to work, or your social security number, and call Ticket to Work and tell them that has your ticket, you can be reimbursed for up to $9,000 or more dollars for work-realted expenses. This a type of grant. They get money to help you with new clothes, auto expenses, and a list of a whole lot more. So check out their site and give them a call if you make over $769!

Take Things In Steps to See Whether You Can Work Again

Going to Work on Full Time

The government, not like the past, has changed it's attitude about helping people go back to work full time. They don't punish you like they did a few years back. If you get your check eliminated by working your 9 months, plus your three years, all you need to do is do a re-application to start your benefits again. This application process is much less involved than your original application. So you need to go for it if you feel you can work! You could work and increase your retirement benefits. You could have the satisfaction of knowing your are contributing to society. You could feel good about making yourself totally self-reliant. I have found that the "Vocational Rehabiliation" programs in all three states I used where very poor in finding a job for me. I think I will write another related article on how to find a job after you have been disabled. But for now, do your best and take the risk if you feel better. I had a life changing brain surgery and now am trying out working full time. I feel really bad some days, but most of the time, I am delighted knowing that I am useful and can pay my own way. There are many benefits to having a job besides more money. The most important one is your self esteem. Knowing that you tried can also tell you that you cannot work. If this happens to me, I will have the satisfaction of knowing I did everything in my power to work. So work if you can!!!

Find A Part-Time or Full-Time Job You Love

© 2014 Leslee Harding


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    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      5 years ago from California

      Useful! Thank you!


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