If your household has been scrambling to make ends meet after an illness or injury puts you, or a loved one out of work, having your SSDI application approved can feel like a real victory.
While a Social Security Disability approval can help you bridge the gap between treatment for your disability and when you can return to work, there are some obligations that you will have to the Social Security Administration that you’ll need to keep in mind.
Some problems can occur even after your disability application was approved, and taking just a couple of steps can help you to avoid them.
Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits are designed to be temporary — helping you afford the basic necessities of life while you are treated for your disabling illness or injury.
The Social Security Administration will periodically review approved cases to ensure that the applicant is still disabled and unable to work in any productive manner.
Unless you’re very near to retirement age, in which case SSA may choose to forgo review in favor of merely adjusting benefits over to Social Security Retirement when the time comes, your case will be subject to periodic review. The SSA will be looking to ensure that you are still disabled and unable to seek gainful employment.
Even if you believe that treatment does not seem to be speeding up recovery, you must continue treatment for your disabling illness or injury while you are receiving benefits.
Continuing treatment ensures that during any future review of your claim, there will be plenty of documentation from visits to physicians and specialists, supporting your claim that your condition remains too severe for you to return to work.
If treatment seems to be putting you on the road to recovery, you can “test” whether or not you can head back to work full-time without losing access to SSDI benefits should you realize that you’re not quite ready to return.
In this trial work period, a person receiving Social Security disability benefits may take a job without losing access to disability benefits until they have worked at least nine months (not required to be consecutive) out of a rolling 60-month period.
What does this mean, exactly?
Essentially, if you currently receive SSDI but feel you might be able to return to work, you could return to work to ‘test’ your ability without losing benefits. However, you would need to earn less than $840.00 within a month as of 2017, or your trial work period would be used up.
Using up the trial work period doesn’t automatically do away with the benefits being received — Social Security provides a potential Extended Period of Eligibility. During this extended eligibility period, if income returns back to the low amount due to continued disability, you may be able to request reinstatement of benefits for that month.
Be sure to continue to report any or all income consistently to the Social Security Administration, and be accurate. If you return even to part-time work at a few hours a week, it is imperative that you report this new income!
If the SSA decides they have “overpaid” on benefits due to discovering previously unreported income, you may be legally required to pay back the “overpaid” amount, which could cause new financial hardships and damage your continued ability to receive benefits.
Our attorneys have experience in helping our clients with Social Security Disability claims. We’ve worked with clients whose claims were denied, those working to put together an initial request, and those defending previously approved SSDI benefits that have undergone review.
We’d be happy to speak with you regarding your unique situation during a FREE consultation. To request a free consultation, contact us online or give us a call at (803) 779-7599 today.