Disability, SSI

Working While Disabled — Social Security Can Help

August 2, 2018 • By

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


  1. joe

    this program needs a deep review because in my case no helps at all

    • Mary

      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.

  2. Ronald S.

    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.

    • mr j.

      Ronald, I do not mean to be rude, and from my own experience putting pain meds before an impressive resume’ as yours would be counter productive to your future. I wish you well

  3. J J.

    If I develop and let a company sell online past photographic work is that employment?

    • Snarky

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

    • mr. j.

      j jones, if it is legal and you make money and report it, that is considered employment

  4. Pat H.

    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.

    • Snarky

      Careful, your honesty will put you in the snarky category.

    • mr. j.

      if you collect ss yourself and you know people who collect ss that do not qualify for it is the best way of ruining ss for those who deserved and earned it. REPORT THE FRAUD !!

  5. Wendolyn E.

    I am on disabled and I would like to work but I can’t stand long.

    • Snarky

      Find a job that does not require much standing.

      • Miss L.

        Mr. Snarky, I do not know what ASSociation you have with the Social Security office, IF ANY. BUTT, IF you were a BONAFIDE agent with my local S.S office, and you were the person that I had to speak to, for any questions/concerns I may have, I would be SO disgruntled with your attitude. I would have either 1) Contacted your superior IMMEDIATELY about our lack of compassion & hope to GOD that the PROPER actions were taken to make sure that you NEVER dealt with the public. OR 2) I might have said a few things that would have made me look like the Ignorant person that YOU are being. Either way, YOU seem to be a very SALTY person!! I’m thinking either you need to take a nap, or grab a snickers bar!! SMH in disgust!!

    • Ray F.

      Hello Wendolyn, our publication “Working While Disabled — How We Can Help” and our Ticket to Work web page can really help providing you with information about working while on disability benefits.
      We hope this information works!

  6. Beatriz E.

    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.

    • Ray F.

      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.

  7. Lasalle P.

  8. Betty J.

    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

    • Snarky

      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.

      • Ray 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.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Betty, please visit the Ticket to Work Program Home Page. Thanks!

    • Donetta

      Vocational Rehabilitation contacted me and helped me find a job.

  9. jane

    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.

    • Snarky

      And you posted this, why?

      • Richard

        u r an ass

        • Angel

          He s an Ass I agree

  10. Larry D.

    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

    • Snarky

      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.

    • Ray F.

      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.

    • Jarrodsmom

      PLEASE have someone remove this gentleman’s personal information!,!

Comments are closed.