Disability, SSI

Working While Disabled — Social Security Can Help

August 2, 2018 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: July 15, 2021

man sitting in wheelchair

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. We’re here to help you get back to work if you’re disabled.

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.
  • Other employment support.

You can read more about working while receiving disability benefits on our Ticket to Work Program page.

Work incentives include:

  • Continued cash benefits for a time while you work.
  • Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work.
  • 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. This is also important 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. Plus, you may not have to file a new application.

You can learn more about the Ticket to Work program by reading our publication, 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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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. MIGUEL P.

    Iim having trouble with my emails n my accounts need help trouble shooting to secure my accounts safely

    • R.F.

      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!

  2. Lesly F.

    We The People.

  3. susan n.

    I have not yet even received anything be that, for being


    • R.F.

      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.

  4. Leon K.

    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.

  5. Paula V.

    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

  6. Hai N.

    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?

    • bill

      You need to see a doctor and get documentation and a diagnosis, and a treatment plan.

    • Snarky

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

    • KT ~.

      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!

    • R.F.

      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!

    • Craig s.

      Good luck i live in Indiana die oasis with copd,degenerate dis des had 2 heartatack 2 stints depression ,anxiety and my left leg is 1 inch shorter than right which over time has really meat up my hips,I got a 9th grade Ed as you can see form my spelling yet I have had a job secs I was 11 years old yes 11 years old iam now 56 and haven’t been able to work for over 5 years took me 5 years to get disability and now get 500.00 a month so this only works for some people,not for people like me yet year after year I had that much deducted out of my check a week well around the last 10 years it’s 1 lie after another, Good luck

  7. Zechariah J.

    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.

    • Snarky

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

      • Camille

        snarky u know the old saying If u cant say anything nice

        • Lilly

          That’s what I thought as well. If someone is looking for help, don’t be unkind

          • R.F.

            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!

        • Snarky

          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.

      • Korvan

        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!!!

        • Blanca

          Don’t be such a snarky snark-shark/bark!

          • Rita M.

            Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength.

          • Lee

            It’s amazing what some people say when they can hide behind social media, and not have to be face to face. Just sayin’.

          • MissTigerlilly

            That’s what I was thinking , this person must wake up on the wrong side of the bed every day?

        • Richard

          Snarky, you are rude. Perhaps a different web site would be a better fit for you!

    • Donna B.

      You can apply for disability if you worked and ssi is if you never worked ! Call a ss office and ask them all your questions ! Good luck !

  8. Patricia L.

    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

    • bill

      The amount stays the same. but converts to Social Security Retirement at retirement age.

      • Betty G.

        they will send you a letter advising you of this and showing the SAME amount you received earlier 😉

    • R.F.

      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!

  9. Simon T.

    I want to work.. Help me ,please

    • Snarky

      You gave so little information, you really expect someone who reads this public blog to help you? Call or visit a SS office.

      • Korvan

        You could at least have given a link to the SSA site

        • Snarky

          Does not need a link. When one has difficulty expressing themselves, it is better to talk eye to eye to a SS Representative. In that way, all questions can be addressed and understood.

        • R.F.

          You can return to work while receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits. We have special rules to help you get back to work without jeopardizing your initial benefits.
          A Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) helps Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability beneficiaries return to work. Thanks!

          • Isabelle

            I don’t understand why people are so cruel to each other. It saddens. Me
            I do understand that is frustrating because some do understand the process and some just want information landed on their lap. There is so much to learn . I use to Google and I learned the best thing is to go to subject matter experts. If you have an attorney talk to them. Talk to your social security office. Just don’t ask other people in your position for advice because we are all in the same shoe. But I also wnt to say we love in a country that we are lucky to have this benefit available to us. Don’t make an agenda out of everything. Patience. Attaining benefits is a process. Some have abused this and yes it is not right but this happens in every aspect of our society. I am greatful that I have he chance to apply and I Just have to wait for the process to work. And believe that it will. I see saw questions asked and answered. No need to be cruel . We are all in this together. Thank you for you hard work SSA and remember they have a hard job .

    • Korvan

      Here is the site: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/

      Hope it helps…

      • RICHARD A.

        Thanks for helping.

  10. Lorraine K.

    What is the maximum amount of money you can earn annually while on Social Security Disability?

    • Francine W.

      Do disability benefits revert to social security retirement benefits at age 65?

      • Betty G.

        YES; mine did and they will send you a letter advising you of this.

      • retired

        yes& your benefit stays the same.

        • Violet

          No You do not get the same benefits

          • Marv

            You get the same benefits after you reach 65. I am 68 and everything is the same

      • Snarky

        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.

      • R.F.

        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!

        • Deanna L.

          Hi Mr. Fernandez,
          My mom who is 79 years old and collects SSDI, seems to think (and I can’t find anything on your website or in the office that is in print) if she works 10 hours or so a week she will lose her benefits. Where can I find this in print to show her she is mistaken? I typed in the search engine the question and it keeps saying no response found.

          thank you very much.

          • Pete

            SGA is $1260 a month in 2020, but I wonder why she still gets SSDI benefits and not regular SS benefits since she is so old?

          • CHERYL

            I see that the SGA is 1260 for 2020. My question is that GROSS earnings or NET?

    • Snarky

      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.

    • R.F.

      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!

      • socorro l.

        My 30 year old son started seasonal work at Target and his SSDI payments were cut off and his Medicare as well. Now his earnings are too high to qualify for Medi_cal and his out of his bipolar medication. He was told to apply for Covered California and he is stressing so much! Why is it so difficult to try to live and work with a mental disability and not get.affordable medical coverage?

    • Joyce L.

      If one is over 70 with disability, can one work one or two days a week?

    • Donna B.

      I think its $1180 but i would call a ss office and talk to someone !#

    • Carla K.

      How much money can you make in a year?

Comments are closed.