Are you disabled and receiving benefits, but wish to return to work? Remember, beneficiaries are permitted to work as the criterion is not the complete inability to work, but the inability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) that results in earnings of $1,010 per month or more. Because disability benefits are minimal and most people live below the poverty level with no additional income, lawmakers created the following provisions to offer somewhat of a safety net:
- 1. Disability recipients can earn unlimited amounts for nine months (a period known as the trial work period that does not necessarily have to be consecutive) to test if they are ready and able to return to work.
- 2. If your benefits have been suspended, you have the next three years (known as the extended period of eligibility) to return to the disability insurance rolls if your earnings fall below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit of $1,010 per month.
- 3. If benefits are formally terminated after this period, former beneficiaries can generally be reinstated with ease for another five years as long as their SGA is less than the limit and their disability continues or worsens.
- 4. For those who can return to substantial work, Medicare coverage is available for seven and a half years after their benefits end.
Many people on disability insurance want nothing more than to return to the labor force and earn a living wage if they are capable of doing so and these provisions allow them to take the steps.