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. Susan

    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

    • Ray F.

      Hello Susan. Please visit our Disability Planner to learn more about the Social Security disability benefits program. Thanks!

  2. Denise P.

    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

  3. Arturo G.

    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

    • Ray F.

      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.

  4. Larry D.

    I am just trying out the use of this feature.

  5. Debra W.

    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

    • Snarky

      No thanks!

  6. Mary R.

    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
    *** – ** – ***

  7. Mary R.

    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

    • Ray F.

      Hello Mary, for information on medical equipment and supplies, visit http://www.medicare.gov. Thanks!

  8. jim w.

    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?

    • Snarky

      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.

    • Ray F.

      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!

  9. DARWIN S.

    I want to work and I need, your help
    I need to pay my bills

    • Snarky

      Try going to your local (county) Employment Office.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Darwin, 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 disability beneficiaries return to work. We hope this information helps!

  10. Pamula H.

    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.

    • Snarky

      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,

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