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How to handle returns to work while receiving disability benefits

Some individuals in California with a short-term disability that keeps them from working may consider applying for benefits from Social Security to cover this period of time. Using Social Security for this purpose isn't possible due to the requirements that need to be met to apply for disability benefits. Even so, disability beneficiaries may be able to suspend or stop benefits if circumstances change.

In order to apply for Social Security disability, a recipient must expect to be unable to earn a sustained income for at least the next twelve months. While Social Security or SSI disability isn't meant to be used as a type of short-term disability insurance, there are times when recipients may only need this coverage temporarily. The process of filing for disability benefits can be time-consuming, even more so if the initial claim is denied. If benefits are approved, recipients may return to work up to a total of 9 months within a 60-month period without their benefits being affected.

If a SSD recipient is able to continue earning a living in the 10th month, disbursements may be suspended at that point. Should a recipient be unable to work again within the 60-month period in which they were employed, benefits could be restored without the need to reapply. If this deadline passes and there's a need to receive payments again, recipients may qualify for immediate reinstatement under certain circumstances.

Due to the various requirements for filing claims and handling periods of work while receiving benefits, it's often advised to seek assistance from an attorney. In addition to coordinating the initial application process and appealing initial denials, a lawyer familiar with disability claims may be able to help clients get benefits reinstated and remain in compliance with Social Security guidelines.

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