How to Work Part-Time and Get Social Security Disability


Social Security provides disability insurance in addition to retirement and survivor benefits. It imposes strict standards for disability, and once you qualify, you do not want to jeopardize your benefits. Social Security also encourages working while disabled, so you can work a trial period or work part-time and continue to comply with all disability regulations. It requires notification if you start or stop work, and if your duties or pay change. Open dialogue and understanding the regulations will allow you to work part-time and continue to receive disability benefits.

  • Notify Social Security of your plans. Social Security has work incentives in place to encourage the disabled to become self-supporting. You can work for nine months over a five-year period and earn in excess of $720 monthly for each of those months. Work within that framework until your time is exhausted.

  • Work while on extended eligibility for Social Security disability. Extended eligibility allows 36 months after your nine months of trial work have expired. You must earn less than $1,000 monthly to receive benefits during this 36-month extended eligibility. This gives you three years of part-time work when you can keep benefits and make less than $1,000, or if you make more than $1,000 one month, you can still claim benefits for other months. You can also notify Social Security of expenses related to your work, and Social Security subtracts some expenses from your total for the month. Use work expenses for any month you exceed the $1,000 limitation.

  • Use the Ticket to Work program for vocational rehabilitation and job training in your area. Social Security gives you a ticket to utilize sources for assistance in retraining and rehabilitation. Take advantage of the services while you work part-time, and prepare for your future as a self-sufficient individual.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you lose your job while working during the extended eligibility period, you may contact Social Security and get your benefits reinstated. You do not have to reapply.
  • Once your income goes above the substantial gainful activity point, Social Security does not cut you off immediately. A grace period of two months continues your benefits.
  • Keep in touch with Social Security when anything changes about your employment or disability. It is your responsibility to notify of job or income changes as well as your health.


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