Returning to Work While Receiving SSD Benefits: Should You Notify the SSA?
If you are thinking about returning to work after short-term or long-term disability, there are quite a few things to consider before going back to your former employer or finding a new job.
Some of you might be worried that returning to work will cause you to lose your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicare, Social Security Income (SSI), or other benefits. Moreover, it would be frustrating to go through the whole SSD process again if you eventually decide that you are not ready to work yet after a few days or weeks of working.
Yes, the decision to return to work after short-term or long-term disability never comes easy. That is why you should weigh all the pros and cons and consult a Tampa Social Security disability attorney before making the final decision.
What if You Return to Work Without Notifying the SSA?
Many benefit-recipients wonder what would happen if they returned to work while receiving Social Security disability benefits without notifying the Social Security Administration.
Fearing that they would lose their SSD benefits, some people choose to return to work after short-term or long-term disability without reporting their situation to the SSA. However, this is never a wise decision.
Unless you are getting paid off the books, the SSA will eventually find out that you are working again while receiving benefits because your employer will report earnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against your Social Security number.
But what are the consequences if the SSA catches you working and getting paid while receiving SSDI or SSI benefits?
- You will owe the SSA money
- Your SSD benefits will be suspended and terminated
- It will be harder to obtain SSD benefits again due to your unreported work
- You could be facing Social Security fraud charges
Why You Should Notify the SSA of Your Decision to Return to Work
It is required by law to notify the SSA if you decide to work part-time or full-time while receiving SSD benefits. The SSA will not take away your benefits right away. Instead, it understands that for anyone dipping their toes in the employment waters after a personal injury or disability, attempts to return to work may be futile.
That is why the SSA provides a trial work period that lasts a total of nine months before terminating your benefits. If returning to work after your disability does not go well within the trial period, you can stop working and keep receiving disability benefits.
Thus, the SSA allows you to continue receiving your SSD benefit payments in addition to your work paychecks. However, your benefits will be adjusted based on the amount you earn after returning to work. If you decide that you cannot handle working due to your disability after the trial period expired, you may still be able to continue receiving benefits without having to reapply.
Either way, it is best to inform the SSA that you have returned to work while receiving disability benefits. In such a way, not only do you get to avoid the legal consequences associated with doing unreported work while receiving benefits but can also earn income while receiving benefits.