Can You Go Back to Work? A Few Things You Need to Know.

Parmele Law FirmSocial Security

Not being able to work because of a severe disability is why you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) in the first place.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you will never work again.

However, if you are receiving disability benefits there are some things you need to know about whether or not going back to work is an option for you.

  1. Much Depends on How You Qualified for Benefits.

The first thing you need to know if you are thinking about going back to work is that how you qualified for benefits will affect whether or not you can go back to work and still receive disability.

If you were approved for disability benefits under a “medical vocational allowance,” that means that you are considered unable to work in ANY job. Which in turn means that if you go back to work, your SSDI benefits will be terminated.

If, however, you qualified under a standard disability listing in the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) “Disability Listings” (i.e., the Blue Book), then chances are you can try to go back to work without losing your benefits.

  1. You Must Report Your Earnings To the SSA and Earning Too Much Could Make You Lose Your Benefits.

If you do go back to work keep in mind that you must report your earnings to the SSA.

Plus, in the same way that how much you earn at work may prevent you from getting SSDI benefits, earning too much per month may prevent you from keeping your benefits.

If you are able to work long enough to engage in what the SSA defines as “substantial gainful activity,” you will no longer qualify for disability benefits.  Substantial gainful activity is a dollar amount that the SSA sets every year. For 2018, the SGA is $1,180 per month for a single, non-blind individual.

If you return to work and are able to work consistently at an SGA level, you may lose your benefits.

  1. The SSA Has Several Work Programs.

The other thing you should know if you are considering going back to work is that the SSA has several work-incentive and assistance programs such as:


These programs have specific requirements that can get confusing, so please consult a social security disability attorney with any questions you may have.

The intersection between disability benefits and working may not always be an easy one to navigate, but that does not mean you should not consider it if it is appropriate for you.

Parmele Law Firm. Experienced Disability Attorneys.

If you have been denied benefits, are applying for benefits, or are receiving benefits and have questions, call us. At Parmele Law Firm, getting people the disability benefits they deserve is what we do. We have offices in Poplar Bluff, Rolla, St. Louis, St. Joseph, West Plains and other cities in Missouri, and in Overland Park, Salina, Topeka, and Wichita Kansas; as well as in Illinois, and Oklahoma. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Call us at 855-727-8625 or send us an e-mail today to set up your free appointment.