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Can I Continue to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?: The Extended Period of Eligibility

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In a recent blog post, we discussed the Trial Work Period – a period of time in which a person who receives Social Security Disability Income benefits can work and receive additional income—outside of his or her monthly benefits—without any consequences to their monthly disability earnings. The Social Security Administration (SSA) hopes to encourage disabled individuals to rejoin the workforce when they feel up to it; however, they do not want to push a SSDI beneficiary by not allowing them a chance to test their capabilities and determine whether or not they are actually ready to return to the work force. Because of that, they have several “phases” of essentially weaning a SSDI recipient off of his or her benefits and easing them back into the workforce.

At The Pendas Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale Social Security disability lawyers have a thorough understanding of SSDI benefits, how they work, and what rights a recipient has. We routinely help individuals file and claim SSDI benefits when they need them, as well as ensure that the SSA does not try to discontinue a clients’ benefits prematurely. If you currently receive SSDI benefits and are interested in going back to work – but if you fear that you may be acting prematurely – consult our lawyers to learn more about your rights after your trial work period is up.

The Extended Period of Eligibility

Once you have finished your first phase of easing off SSDI benefits—the trial work period—you will begin the second phase: the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). The EPE is a 36-month long period in which you will continue to receive your SSDI benefits in full every month, so long as a) you remain disabled and b) you do not exceed the SSA’s substantial gainful activity (SGA) threshold. According to the Social Security website, the SGA threshold is $1,130 for non-blind individuals, and $1,820 for the blind.

If you earn over the SGA threshold in any given month while on the Extended Period of Eligibility, you risk having the SSA determine your disability “ceased.” When this happens, you will earn your benefits for the month of the determination, and then for two subsequence months, before your benefits terminate.

However, if you later stop working because of your disability, or if your earnings fall back below the SGA threshold during the EPE, you have the option to reach out to the SSA and have them reinstate your benefits without having to file a new SSDI benefits application. However, you may only do this during the 36-month EPE grace period and so long as you are disabled. If, after the 36- month period, you earn over the SGA in any given month, your benefits will terminate for good. If your medical condition forces you to stop working again though within five years of your benefits terminating, you can expedite reinstatement.

Consult a Fort Lauderdale Social Security Disability Lawyer

At The Pendas Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale lawyers can help you navigate the ins and outs of Social Security benefits. Dealing with the SSA can be tricky, especially if they think that you are trying to scam the system by earning a substantial income while collecting SSDI benefits. To ensure that the SSA does not cut off your benefits during your Trial Work Period or during your Extended Period of Eligibility, consult with a Fort Lauderdale lawyer before you accept any gainful employment. Contact us at 1-888-LPENDAS to schedule a meeting with our team today.

We also service clients in the Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, West Palm Beach Daytona, Bradenton, and Fort Myers areas.

Resource:

ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html

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