The SSA allows you a trial work period followed by an extended eligibility work period. If you can work 9 months (they do not need to be consecutive) within a 60 month period, the trial work period ends, followed by the extended period of eligibility. There will be no loss of benefits no matter how much you make during the trial work period months. The minimum amount of money to establish a trial work month is $720 in 2010. This amount increases each year, and the specific rules vary for employees, self-employed and blind persons. Although the monthly amount of money you make during the trial work period does not matter, during the extended period of eligiblity which follows, a key factor is the amount of money you make.
Extended period of eligibility
After your trial work period, you have 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits for any month your earnings are not deemed "substantial." In 2010, earnings of $1000 or more ($1,640 if you are blind) are considered substantial. This amount also increases each year. The SSA will deduct work expenses from the gross amount of your earnings. No new application or disability decision is needed for you to receive a Social Security disability benefit during this period
Workers Compensation Benefits
You can receive both Workers Compensation(WC) and SSD benefits but you cannot receive a combined benefit of more than 80% of your average current earnings as calculated by the SSA. The SSA will take the offset from your SSD benefits. If your WC stops, your SSD will usually increase.
The interplay between Unemployment Compensation (UC) and SSD is a complex one. People often ask if they can receive both. The general rule is that the SSA will take an offset on retroactive benefit awards for any UC you might have received while your SSD claim is pending. Although one can be available for UC purposes for work within their limitations, in a claim for SSD one is alleging that they are unable to engage in substantial gainful employment.
Long Term Disability Insurance
Although there is no offset to your SSD if you receive Long Term Disability benefits, the LTD carrier might take an offset for receipt of SSD. This varies, so you need to check with your LTD carrier and LTD contract to find out how it might affect you.
Additional resources provided by the author
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