I am receiving Social Security disability benefits. Will I lose my benefits if I work and earn money?
Not right away. We have special rules called work incentives that help you keep your disability and Medicare benefits while you test your ability to work. For example, there is a trial work period during. During the trial work period you can receive full benefits regardless of how much you earn. You just have to report your work activity and continue to have a disabling impairment.
The trial work period continues until you accumulate nine months (not necessarily consecutive) in which you perform what we call services within a rolling 60-month period. We consider your work to be services if you earn more than $720 a month in 2010. For 2009, this amount was $700.
After the trial work period ends, your benefits will stop for months your earnings are at a level we consider substantial, currently $1,000 in 2010. For 2009, this amount was $980. Different amounts apply to people who are disabled because of blindness. The monthly substantial amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2010 is $1,640; for 2009 this amount was $1,640.
For an additional 36 months after completing the trial work period, we can start your benefits again if your earnings fall below the substantial level and you continue to have a disabling impairment.
For more information about work incentives, we recommend that you read the leaflet, Working While Disabled-How We Can Help (SSA Publication Number 05-10095).