Working While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits

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Working While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits

August 7, 2018 7:56 pm Published by


If you currently receive disability benefits but would like to return to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has programs available for you. Thousands of people every year are eligible for additional assistance programs that can be used to help you find a career that’s a good fit, get training for a new job, and get accustomed to rejoining the workforce. Here are a couple of programs you may be eligible for, and how they can help you get back to work:


  1. The Ticket to Work Program


The Ticket to Work Program is available for both SSDI and SSI recipients, but only disability recipients between the ages of 18 and 64 are eligible. This is a free program that connects you with a vocational expert in your area who can help you receive job-related services like career counseling, job rehabilitation, and connect you with employment networks in your state.


To maintain your assistance from vocational experts from the SSA in your Ticket to Work plan, you will be required to outline specific timelines for when you’ll either earn a specific income or complete training or educational requirements, such as receiving a vocational degree or a certification to perform technical work.


To learn more about the Ticket to Work Program, you can visit the SSA’s work site or call the SSA at 866-968-7842.


  1. Plan to Achieve Self Support


A Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) is available for all SSI recipients. This is a written plan of action geared towards you getting a specific job or starting your own business. When you create a PASS, you outline:


  • The job you’d like or business you want to start
  • The steps you’ll need to take to achieve this goal, whether it’s getting a degree, modifying your transportation, or securing child care
  • How much money you’d need to achieve your goals
  • A timeframe for accomplishing your goal


If you are already on SSI benefits, you should receive additional income from the SSA to support your PASS and ensure you meet your vocational goals.


You can get a PASS application form (SSA-545-BK) online.


Should You Report Income?

It’s important to note that you may be tempted to simply work and not report your income—this is never a wise idea. If the SSA determines you haven’t accurately reported your income, you may have to pay back months of your benefits or lose your SSDI or SSI benefits entirely.

Both the Ticket to Work Program and a PASS allow disability recipients to stop working and go back to receiving benefits as usual if working proves too hard with their disability. There is no risk in speaking with an SSA representative regarding working while on disability benefits today. Visit your local SSA office or contact the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213.

Sources Cited:

SSA’s Ticket to Work Program:

SSA’s PASS Program:

Vocational Expert:

PASS application form:

SSA Office Locations:

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This post was written by Deborah Barber

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