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Can I keep working while collecting disability?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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Being mentally or physically disabled can dramatically change a person’s life. They may no longer be able to do things like drive, take care of themselves or engage in activities they used to enjoy.

Considering all the ways a person’s life can change in the wake of a disabling condition, it is not unusual for people to take whatever steps they can do continue doing something they used to do. For instance, you may want to get back to work someday and financially support yourself and your family.

If you are like many other people, you might think this is not possible or advisable if want to continue collecting disability benefits. But the truth is the Social Security Administration has resources in place for people who can continue working without immediately losing the financial safety net of their disability payments.

Programs like the Ticket to Work program and trial work periods have been put in place to help people find jobs they can try out to see how they are able to perform. Extended periods of eligibility allow a person to work and collect benefits for 36 months until their earnings are determined to be “substantial.”

These can be good options for people who are disabled but can return to work in some capacity. They allow for a period of transition so that getting a job won’t necessarily mean your benefits will just stop right away. People can still keep their benefits if they are fired or determine that they actually cannot return to work.

However, the SSA has its own incentive to get you back to work and off benefits, so disputes can arise if, for example, you feel that you cannot return to work or if the SSA determines that you are no longer disabled.

Disputes with government agencies about disability benefits can be enormously frustrating, intimidating and complicated. Rather than take on these situations on your own, you can work with an attorney by your side to protect yourself, your rights and the benefits you deserve.