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SSDI Explained: How Returning to Work Affects Benefits

Are you receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and considering returning to work? Understanding how returning to work can affect your benefits is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore SSDI work incentives, support programs, and resources available to individuals who want to return to work or increase their earnings while receiving benefits.

Understanding SSDI Work Incentives

SSDI offers several work incentives to encourage beneficiaries to return to work without fear of losing their benefits. These incentives include:

Trial Work Period (TWP): The TWP allows SSDI recipients to test their ability to work for up to nine months without risking the loss of benefits. During the TWP, beneficiaries can earn any amount without affecting their SSDI benefits.

Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE): After completing the TWP, beneficiaries enter the EPE, during which they can continue to receive benefits for any month in which their earnings fall below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level.

Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits: If a beneficiary’s SSDI benefits were terminated due to earnings exceeding the SGA level, they may be eligible for expedited reinstatement of benefits within five years of the termination if they are unable to sustain substantial gainful activity.

Continued Medicare Coverage: SSDI beneficiaries who return to work can continue to receive Medicare coverage for at least 93 months after the completion of the TWP, regardless of their earnings.

Support Programs for SSDI Recipients Returning to Work

In addition to work incentives, SSDI recipients returning to work can access support programs and services to help them transition back into the workforce. These programs include:

Ticket to Work Program: The Ticket to Work program offers free employment services and support to SSDI beneficiaries interested in returning to work. Participants receive assistance with job placement, vocational training, and career counseling.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services: Many states offer vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities, including SSDI recipients. These services may include job training, education, assistive technology, and job placement assistance.

Employment Networks (ENs): ENs are organizations that provide employment services and support to SSDI beneficiaries participating in the Ticket to Work program. ENs offer personalized assistance tailored to the individual’s needs and goals.

Resources for SSDI Recipients Returning to Work

SSDI recipients considering returning to work can access a variety of resources and tools to help them make informed decisions and navigate the process effectively. These resources include:

Social Security Administration (SSA): The SSA’s website offers information on SSDI work incentives, support programs, and resources for beneficiaries returning to work. Visit the SSA website at

Ticket to Work Program: Internal Link – Learn more about the Ticket to Work program and how it can help SSDI recipients return to work.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services: Internal Link – Explore the vocational rehabilitation services available in your state and how they can support your return to work.

Employment Networks (ENs): Internal Link – Find an Employment Network in your area and learn about the services they offer to SSDI beneficiaries.


Returning to work while receiving SSDI benefits is possible, thanks to the various work incentives, support programs, and resources available. By understanding these programs and accessing the support you need, you can pursue your employment goals with confidence. If you have questions about how returning to work may affect your SSDI benefits, contact Green & Greenberg for personalized assistance.

For more information and resources on SSDI work incentives and returning to work, visit our Disability Blog.