Working While Disabled — Social Security Can Help

man sitting in wheelchairWhile it may be best known for retirement, Social Security is also here to help you get back to work if you are disabled. For millions of people, work isn’t just a source of income, it’s a vital part of who they are — it gives them purpose and pride — it’s a connection to community. If you’re getting Social Security disability benefits, we have good news for you. Social Security’s work incentives and Ticket to Work programs can help you if you’re interested in working. Special rules make it possible for people receiving Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments.

The Ticket to Work program may help you if you’d like to work. You can receive:

  • Free vocational rehabilitation;
  • Training;
  • Job referrals; and
  • Other employment support.

You can read more about working while collecting disability benefits at our website.

Work incentives include:

  • Continued cash benefits for a time while you work;
  • Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and
  • Help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new line of work.

If you’re receiving Social Security disability benefits or SSI, let us know right away when you start or stop working, or if any other change occurs that could affect your benefits.

If you returned to work, but you can’t continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again — you may not have to file a new application.

You can learn more about the Ticket to Work program by reading Working While Disabled: How We Can Help.

Part of securing today and tomorrow is giving you the tools to create a fulfilling life. Getting back to work might be part of that. We’re here with a ticket to a secure tomorrow.

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97 thoughts on “Working While Disabled — Social Security Can Help

      • No, they revert to retirement when you reach full retirement age and for most that is age 66, not 65. Depending upon your age the answer could be 67, not everyone is the same so ignore answers such as Ms. Gordon’s.

      • Hello Francine. Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age (Currently 66). Benefits are not interrupted with this transition and the benefit amount will generally remains the same. Thanks!

    • The annual test only applies to the first year of retirement. Disability beneficiaries must report changes in earned income monthly and if you get SSI you must report all income changes as they happen.

    • Thank you for your question Lorraine. Social Security strongly supports those individuals who want to return to the work force while supplementing their disability benefit income. We have Work Incentives that allow people to work and still receive their benefits.
      A person may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program if they work. However, their earnings cannot exceed a certain amount. This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2018, the SGA limit is $1,180 per month (or $1,970 for blind applicants). In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work.
      We hope this information helps!

  1. I have been unable to optain information about disability benefits after retirement age. Do I still continue to receive the disability payments when I reach 66 or do I change over to social security payments

    • Hello Patricia, Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age. Benefits are not interrupted with this transition and the benefit amount will generally remains the same. Thanks!

  2. I was recently denied approval of SSI, despite the current diagnosis of a bipolar and past history of a schizophrenia diagnosis. Leaving without a way to stay connected to a community as the state is important, as I felt abandon from the entire process. For either SSI counsel is lying and I have not been able to receive the second opinion based on welfare and health insurance, for this leaves me in the hands of my current doctor to try to find work. and again doesn’t make sense. To be diagnosed but not disable from two judgments saying. So I would like a response confirming a diagnosis doesn’t mean the potentiality of being disabled.

    • One thing is certain, what you are saying does not make any sense but this might not be due to a medically disabling condition.

          • Our blog — Social Security Matters — gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms.
            Our blog encourages discussion and offers important retirement and disability-related solutions. While we welcome general participation from all of our followers, we ask all participants to please be considerate and polite to others when posting comments. Thank you for your support and for using our blog!

        • Sometimes tough talk is what’s needed. It is like tough love. Now tell me again how saying nothing helps. Since you are so brilliant, I challenge you to give Mr. Jernigan the information he needs.

      • I agree Snarky! I have read a number of questions. You seem to reply to most with snide comments and rude behavior. Please do us all a favor and not post until you’re not so grumpy!!!

  3. I’m currently under a health condition where I feel constantly off balance, dizzy, and headaches occur whenever I move, due to these conditions I feel as though I am hindered under standard conditions of work. Four months have passed and I have been unemployed with no source of income; I had attempted to apply for disability benefits but have been declined. It has, and still is hard for me to find a job due to my condition; by chance does my situation apply to this program?

    • One thing is certain, what you are saying does not make any sense but this might not be due to a medically disabling condition.

    • Does your state not allow/help you with up to a minimum wage check? I know Oklahoma State as office allows you like a maximum of 730.00 a mo check if you are disabled or have absolutely no income. I do believe. Check this out in your state. If our we can support illegals from other Countries, we held have a plan on place for our own! Maybe it’s kept quiet? Just go & inquire! Don’t be a pansy or they might deny you!?!? 😛 Good luck!

    • Hello Hai, the Social Security Act sets out a strict definition for disability. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. However, if a person thinks that he or she meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability benefits when they become disabled.
      For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for posting about this great program! Ticket to Work has helped so many people and could help so many more!! Check out Twitter#ttwhelpedme

  5. I was disabled and notified social security with calls and pay stubs before trying a return to work while disabled. Successful return to work and Security is 4 years later forcing me to pay back the disability amounts they sent me while working-said I wasn’t off work long enough to qualify 4 years after the fact and while I am retired. I had multiple visits with pay stubs prior to receiving my first check and the whole time I received checks.

  6. I have not yet even received anything be that, for being
    retired, and or SSI BENEFITS. AM STILL WAITING OR HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR NEW MEDICARE CARD PART B THAT I ENROLLED THIS YEAR/FORGETTING THAT THREE MONTHS AFTER MY B-DAY LAST YR. WAS WHEN I SHOULD HAVE ENROLLED.(INCIDENTALLY, THAT CARD WAS IN MY WALLET THAT WAS STOLEN) ALSO DON’T HAVE MEDICARE PART A. ALSO PLS. LOOK INTO MY RETIREMENT BENEFITS(MONIES).

    THANK YOU.
    SUSAN LIM

    • Hello Susan. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot assist you. One of our representatives should be able to provide you with an explanation. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks.

    • Hello Miguel. If you are having problems with your my Social Security account, you may:
      •Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “helpdesk”; or
      •Contact your local Social Security office. Thanks!

  7. Larry Dobie Sherrod Sr: 1201 N Harrison Street apt 522 Wilmington De 19806 larshe12@comcast.net phone 302 543 4667. not working. have a pension with diability federal gov. social security called me a dippgers took my money. need car home geico office. Sincerly Yours Larry Sr

    • Don’t put personal information on a public site. You could have your identity stolen. Also, no one from SS is going to answer your personal questions. Now there are those who feel my replies are snarky, when in fact I intend to embarrass people who for whatever their motive, say and do stupid things, placing themselves in jeopardy.

    • Just a reminder – We do not have access to personal information, therefore, we do not do direct messaging in this venue. Please be cautious about posting personal information on social media and communicating personal information via email.
      Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks.

  8. I am so thankful that I am of retiremnet age, I had a tramatic brain injury, now that I am 64 soon to be 65 in Nov I find pain in my head, very bad as I get older. Lights and normal noise are tough for me to deal with. Tough to sleep at night.

  9. Sorry but the that work for you guys they are not helping people to find jobs, I signed up almost three months and nobody contacted me about anything, I ask for training because I have not in 20 years but Im willing to try. Nobody wants to help

    • The ticket to work program is not designed to find people work but to help those who find work on their own and while on disability help them transition off of disability and onto the regular workforce. That is why no one bothered to answer you.

      • Our blog — Social Security Matters — gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms. Our blog encourages discussion and offers important retirement and disability-related solutions. While we welcome general participation from all of our followers, we ask all participants to please be considerate and polite to others when posting comments.
        Thank you for your support and for using our blog.

  10. My brother is a 58 years old, new legal resident and a Pediatrician Pulmonologist Doctor with 28 years of experience in Colombia, S.A. He just came to USA on Feb 2017 as a full time student in the ESL program. On 2018 he started studying for the USMLE exams in order to get his American Medical license and could work as a Pediatrician Doctor. Unfortunately, on June 5th, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Two neurologist told him that he can not do a medical residency because the stress will speed the Parkinson. In addition he has Diabetes Type II. Could he being just a Georgia resident to get disability? He needs other 4 years to apply for citizenship.He is willing to work as a Doctor with the Hispanic Population. He already bought the social security’s quarters for 2017.

    • We are sorry to hear of your brother’s situation, Beatriz. When it comes to qualifying for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Income or SSDI program, individuals must have worked long enough–and recently enough–under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.
      Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which you have to earn within the last 10 years before you become disabled.
      If you need further assistance, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our agents. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks.
      Thanks.

  11. What the heck do you mean if they want to work. There are jobs for many but why would they want to work when they can get assistance for doing nothing. I know of people who get disability that are perfectly capable but do not work.

    • Ask a SS representative. They’d need to know more than what you should provide on a social network. Call 800-772-1213.

  12. Hello, Well if I can still take my pain meds and if I could get a local job? I would be interested in going back to work. I can do almost any job, from auto body which I really don’t want to do any more? to wood working, scuba diving, flying a small plane, all kinds of sales and again almost any job, I’ve worked all my life in management in electronics, cell phones, auto body & sales, Major appliance sales and much more. So almost any management job??? Thank you Ronald.

    • so true!!!- I have to look on my own for jobs as the voc rehab does not help in any way!!!!- all they want is for me to email a list of jobs I applied for. When I did that, Voc Rehab contacted a potential employer: outcome b/c of this: after my 3rd interview with said employer, the potential employer declined to hire me. Of course, I cannot prove they discriminated against me bc I am disabled, but going for 3 interviews, then my voc rehab counselor called them & they sent me an email … qualifications not met…… seriously, this was for a store cashier job!!! Voc Rehab hinders you when they tell potential employers you have a disability. Many employers do not give a crap about the low tax incentive they receive from the state by hiring a disabled person.
      Its a joke & I have worked 44 years.

  13. Dont do this people that lives on SSI DISABILITY…. they dont tell you the truth at all. Now I’m in debt to the SSI for $3,000. And now I’m in another dead to the SSI from this year. And you ought to see what I have left over to live on. The government doesn’t care about us. And they’re all a cahoot together with the food stamps and SSI.

    • There is a lot of misinformation out there. That is why I give people tough answers. First of all, SSI is a welfare program administered by the SS Administration. Your payment amount is based upon need. The ticket to work program does not give you a pass. Any work activity in which you receive payment (wages) over $65.00 a month affects your benefits, usually 2 months later. Unearned income such as a small pension affects your payments dollar for dollar except for the first $20.00. Of course, the same income affects other programs such as food stamps. This is why you find yourself in the hole for $3000.00. It is not that you were not told the truth, the rules can be complex and easily misunderstood,

  14. I just started receiving benefits on ssdi can I still work part time and not lose benefits if so how much can I make and how long can I receive benefits while working part time?

    • Rather than repeat myself over and over, call 800-7721213. Tell them you are on SSI and to send you pamphlets about how work activity affects your monthly check.

    • Hello Jim, a person may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program if they work. However, their earnings cannot exceed a certain amount. This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2018, the SGA limit is $1,180 per month (or $1,970 for blind applicants). In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work.
      Our publication “Working While Disabled — How We Can Help” provides more important information. We hope this helps!

  15. What about things like hearing aids can social security help with those I just tried going back to work but I need hearings I have already tried the Ga. Lion’s foundation they are still to high 520.00 which is hard to come up with and all the other bills
    Mary F Ray. rayfrances4@gmail.com
    706 537 7684

  16. Are we getting an adjustment but in our ss
    Because of being autied if they made the mistakes why do they not just go over records and send people their money look how many people don’t know about this I want my share
    *** – ** – ***

  17. THere was a message when I opened this that the answers were: No thanks and remind me later. I hit the no thanks but I really wanted to hit the remind me later and I could not pull it up again. Please change my answer for me. Thanks

  18. I believe disabled or not everyone must have a balance in life,I tried to reach out to ticket to work,made appointment,went to orientation,I asked for rehabilitation in vocational training ,I need a trade an interest in something,I was told by a counselor there,that only jobs were recommended to all applicants,there was no kind of vocational training available,I suffer from mental illness depression and bipolar disorders,she made me look crazy in front of all the office workers,I did not appreciate that at all,very unprofessional,shame on her. If rehabilitation in vocational training is beighn offered ,I would love to hear about it.thank you sirs

    • We apologize for how poorly you were treated by this counselor, Arturo. We have referred your complaint to our Operations staff to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary. To submit your comment or a formal complaint, you can write to us or send us an email message.
      We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  19. I’ve been on Social Security Disability since 2010 I have bipolar 1 disorder anxiety disorder chronic pain I have trouble focusing concentrating and remembering things I was wondering about this ticket to work but I’m so scared to do something because I don’t want to lose what I need Medicaid Medicare benefits my food stamps my check most of all I don’t know what to do I would like to try something but I’m scared of losing because it says on that ticket to work that if you weren’t you can lose your you lose your cash benefits and time and I’m not paralyzed or anything like that I’m just I’m just very ill mentally but it would be maybe help me more I’m 55 years old a widower as of March I would maybe like to try this ticket to work I’ve heard of it but I don’t know anything I don’t have no education cuz of spinal meningitis bacterial that I had when I was 18 gave me this condition and I haven’t been able to work since I’ve always depended on a man I’m crying here what do I do

  20. I am a 55 yr women who have what my orthopedic doctor called it frozen shoulder, from working at high pace box factory. I worked there for just shy of 15 years and my last year was very painful to do my job in Putnam Connecticut. I have been to a orthopedic doctor who says I have a frozen shoulder . Before I went to the orthopedic doctor I did try another job and it caused shoulder pain so I quit my job . I have looked at other places but they include also more shoulder use. I am a diabetic also and I am 55 now with minor memory loss

  21. If you have earned more than the cap for a few months on and off over the years, does the clock every restart. I thought I read somewhere that the 10 month maximum that after 60 months, the clock is reset. I’m afraid to try short-term work — health permitting every once an awhile.

  22. I cannot find info about returning to a part time job. Have a job interview and what do I say for pay scale like how much can I earn without loseing my monthly SSDI check.

  23. After 30 years of mostly construction a on the job injury I had to retire and was awarded SSDI. I want to return to a part time job in another field, How much can I earn and not lose my monthly SSDI check? Thanks hope to hear from you

    • Hello Mark. A person may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program if they work. However, their earnings cannot exceed a certain amount. This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2018, the SGA limit is $1,180 per month (or $1,970 for blind applicants). In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work. Please read our publication “Working While Disabled: How We Can Help“. Thanks!

  24. my names mehidal amarree hassan i am big probleme in my arrival to united stade please help my social security numper is *** – ** – *** helpful mass stade

  25. I am on Social Security disability and I’ve been on so scared disability since 2001. I live in Mesa Arizona now. I am interested in the ticket to work program however I would like to find my own job. I’ve been applying for federal jobs through USA jobs. If I get selected for one of those jobs can I use it as a ticket to work? Can you explain that a little better to me please?

  26. also, why did social security disability lower my monthly benefits due to a workmans compensation litigation settlement that was agreed to by both parties in December, 2017. – What is wrong with social security??? I needed this settlement money to live on!!!- I have bills to pay as no one else is going to come & pay them for me.!!!
    Social Security Disability is a bunch of crap- I worked for 44 years & unfortunately, am unable to work @ during my golden years due to unforeseen injury -none that I wished be handed to me…. So Mr. Ray Fernandez, why is SS lowering my disability payments monthly by $200.00??? – it is really obnoxious what they do!!!

    • Hello Mary, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page on how workers’ compensation or other public disability benefits can affect your Social Security disability benefits. For further assistance, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  27. I am trying to find help for my situation I am raising my two grandchildren and have been out of work since May 26th I was just wondering if there’s any kind of Social Security help I could get if so please let me know I’m in dire need I’ve something to catch my bills up and take care of the children

    • Hello Denise. Under current law, Social Security can only pay benefits to grandchildren if certain conditions are met. Generally, the biological parents of the child must be deceased or disabled, or the grandchild must be legally adopted by the grandparent. See “Benefits For Grandchildren” for more information.
      Some individuals may be eligible to receive assistance from the state where they live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information.
      We hope this helps!

  28. I have been trying to get ahold of Allen for 2 weeks about reporting wages. I need to know how to deduct for bus passes purchased and if I can deduct for driving him to Holland for his jobs at Hope Network and Herman Miller.

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