Should I Work While I am Disabled and Drawing Benefits?

If you decide to work while you are disabled and drawing benefits, then you need to go through the Social Security Administration’s “Ticket to Work” program. Be very careful to comply with the requirements of that program. You can work a little through this program even if you are receiving disability benefits, but there are strict requirements about how much you can earn and for how long. You must comply with their reporting requirements about this to the letter. Along the way periodically double check that your reports are received. Too often the Social Security Administration claims to have not received reports that have been sent into them, and people wind up having huge overpayments to pay back because of it. For this reason, keep copies of everything you have sent into the SSA about your earnings forever. I would keep those copies in a safe deposit box; it is that important. You might consider sending those reports in by fax so that you have a time stamp or sending them by certified mail. And of course, never ever lie to the SSA about your earnings. It will come back to haunt you.

Of course, the nature of any work you do while on disability could also instigate a cessation. You should not do work that tends to undermine your credibility about the limitations you are claiming to have. For instance, if you are getting disability because of a bad neck then even one day of heavy labor like hanging dry wall dry could get your benefits cut off.

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