Like many injured workers, you would probably much rather return to work than live on disability benefits alone. You’re thinking of taking on part-time employment to see if your injury can cope with the strain of working, but you don’t want to take the risk of losing your benefits and becoming unemployed once more.
Fortunately, there is a way to keep your monthly benefits while you return to work. The Social Security Administration allows for a period of time for disabled workers to adjust to employment safely—without risking the monthly income they receive in disability payments.
If your condition has improved to a point where you can attempt to work, your disability payments will continue as long as you:
- Are participating in an approved vocational rehabilitation program—such as the Ticket to Work Program
- Are taking a training course, pre-employment program, or other support service
- Began participation in the pre-work program before your disability ended, and
- The Social Security Administration believes that your completion of the program reduces the likelihood that you will have to receive disability payments in the future
If you complete the return to work program and find that you are able to support yourself in a manner similar to before your injury occurred, you will likely no longer be eligible for SSA disability benefits. However, many injured workers find that they are not able to perform the same duties or earn as much income as before. In these cases, workers may continue to receive a portion of the benefits to make up for the lost income—possibly for the rest of their lives.
This supplemental income is called the extended period of eligibility (EPE). If you qualify, your benefits can be reinstated the first month after you began work. You do not have to file a new disability application. You should continue to receive benefits for every month that your earnings are below the standard of “substantial gainful employment.
NJ Social Security disability lawyer Manfred F. Ricciardelli, Jr. can help you get the maximum amount of benefits that you are entitled to, and we charge you nothing unless we win your case. Call us today at 877.360.0183 to get answers to all of your legal questions in your FREE consultation, or click the link above to download our FREE electronic book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.