Workers receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can go back to work and still receive benefits during a “return to work” trial period. This is good news for many people who want to attempt a return to gainful employment, but are fearful that they will jeopardize their Social Security benefits if they are unsuccessful. The trial program encourages workers to return to their jobs in the hope of resuming their normal life without the anxiety of losing benefits if they find they are not ready or unable to perform their job duties successfully.
The Philadelphia Social Security Disability law firm of Silver & Silver understands that many people receiving Disability benefits yearn to return to their jobs; however, we know how important it is to protect your benefits while you attempt to reenter the workforce. With over 35 years experience representing disabled individuals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Disability attorneys at Silver & Silver can help you return to your job without endangering your Social Security Disability payments.
Workers Can Receive Disability Benefits During “Trial Work Period”
To encourage workers to return to the workforce, the Social Security Administration allows for payment of Disability payments while the worker settles back into their position during a“trial work period”. For the first nine months after returning to work, a worker will continue to receive Disability benefits. At the end of nine months of work, your trial work period is over. The SSA will then decide if the worker has been doing “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). SGA is work that involves significant and productive duties and pays more than the current monthly income limit set by the SSA. (As of 2012, the monthly earning limit is $1,010).
A worker is entitled to nine trial work months during the trial work period. A month doesn’t count toward the nine-month cap if the worker earns less than $750 in a month. The nine trial work months do not need to be consecutive. Once a worker uses nine trial work months during any five-year period, the worker has exhausted his or her trial work period and is not entitled to another trial work period, unless the worker becomes disabled again and submits another claim. However, if a worker uses fewer than nine trial work months during any five-year period, a worker may be entitled to another set of nine trial work months.
Disability Benefits May Continue after Trial Work Period Under an Extended Period of Eligibility or Upon Expedited Reinstatement
When the nine month trial work period ends, individuals may still be eligible to receive disability benefits while they work. The Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) allows workers who have completed the trial work period to receive Disability benefits for a period of three years in any month where their earnings fall below the SGA allotment of $1,410 per month. After the three year period of extended eligibility, benefits end on the first month that a worker earns more than the SGA allotment of $1,040 for one month.
In addition to the EPE, the individual may also file for expedited reinstatement of benefitsfor five years after benefits have ceased if their income stops or falls below the SGA allotment of $1,040. Once the individual files for a reinstatement of benefits, they may be entitled to receive six months of Disability payments while their claim is being reviewed. Denial of a reinstatement is rare, but if it does occur, a worker can submit a new claim, but will be responsible for proving the disability prevents them from working.
Philadelphia Social Security Lawyers at Silver & Silver Can Help You Obtain the Disability Benefits you Deserve
The Philadelphia Social Security Disability attorneys at Silver & Silver are dedicated to helping you obtain the Disability benefits you are entitled to, even after you return to work. If you or a loved one is receiving Social Security Disability benefits and wants to try to return to the workforce, call us today at 1-800-94-SILVER or contact us online. Our law offices are conveniently located in the Philadelphia region in Ardmore, PA, easily accessible from all communities in Southeast Pennsylvania – Delaware County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Berks County, Philadelphia County and Bucks County – as well as all of Southern New Jersey.