Social security disability benefits can provide you with a reliable, alternative source of income when your condition prevents you from working. However, as you recover, you may reach a point where you desire to return to the workforce.
Knowing how to balance your interest in working again with receiving SSDI can help you avoid mistakes that could compromise your benefits.
Communicating your plan
The most detrimental mistake you can make is to keep your return to work a secret. According to the Social Security Administration, you must immediately report your intention to start working again. Avoiding this and hoping that you can collect a paycheck and keep your benefits can have detrimental consequences. If the SSA catches on to you, they may immediately suspend your benefits, as well as require you to pay back benefits you have already received. In serious cases of fraud, you may face legal consequences as well.
When you do decide to reenter the workforce, contact your SSA office and ask them what your next steps are. Often, they will allow you a grace period during which you can continue to receive your SSDI benefits, at least in part. This can help you adjust to your new circumstances and prepare you for self-support.
Assessing your needs
Under some circumstances, the SSA may agree to continue your benefits while you work. For example, you may require ongoing support, accommodations and assistive technology to safely and effectively complete your job with your disability. Under the agreement that you will use disability benefits to help cover these costs, you can sometimes still receive assistance. Whenever the SSA starts or stops your benefits, you can expect notification of their intentions.
If you reach a point in your career where your disability once again prevents you from working, you can petition the SSA to have your full benefits reinstated.