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Going back to work while on SSDI

Many people living in California collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The SSDI program provides cash support for qualifying individuals who are limited in their ability to work due to a disability. Some individuals who collect SSDI, over time, begin to wonder whether returning to work might be a good idea for them. They may be reluctant, however, to try a return to full-time employment out of concern that they might lose their benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does permit recipients of SSDI to engage in some employment, as long as their monthly earnings are not substantial. The SSA regularly changes the guideline for what makes earnings "substantial" to adjust for inflation, but the amount in 2017 is $1170 per month. Earning more than this can put one's benefits in jeopardy.

However, individuals who believe that they may be capable of returning to work can enroll in the SSA's "Ticket to Work" program. This program allows recipients of disability benefits to test a return to employment without risking their benefits. Participants have the ability to work at least nine months in a 60-month period without risking their benefits. Should the participant have to leave employment again due to disability-related issues, they will not have to go through a lengthy reapplication process to get back on SSDI.

Individuals who are currently receiving Social Security disability benefits and who are considering going back to work may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client's case and provide information about how a return to employment could affect current and future benefits from Social Security and the Medicare or Medicaid programs.

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