Can I Work While Receiving Long-Term Disability?
For those unable to work due to injuries, illnesses, or chronic medical conditions, Social Security disability benefits often fail to provide enough income to meet your daily needs. Even if you have employer-provided long-term disability insurance coverage in place to supplement SSDI, you may still find yourself running short each month. Financial insecurity may be causing you to consider getting another type of job or going back to work on a part-time basis. Before making any decisions on this matter or taking any actions, be aware of how extra income could impact your disability benefits.
Going Back to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program offers monthly benefit payments for workers who suffer long-term disabilities. To be eligible, you must have earned enough credits through your previous job history. Your condition must also be one that is SSDI approved condition and expected to keep you from working for at least a year or more.
SSDI benefits are based on your average lifetime income. As a result, they are likely to fall far short of what you were earning on your most recent job. To make up for these shortages, SSDI does permit you to work on a part-time basis. Through the Ticket to Work program, you may be entitled to the following:
- Free vocational rehabilitation;
- Job training;
- Job referrals;
- Other job seeking and employment-related support services.
If you do go back to work, it is important to be aware of how doing so could impact your disability benefit payments. In 2020, you can make up to $1,260 per month or $2,110 if you have vision impairments before it is considered Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Earning more than this amount will result in a loss of your long-term disability benefits.
How Going Back to Work Could Impact Employer-Provided Benefits for Long-Term Disabilities
While you are receiving Social Security disability, employer-provided disability benefits can help offset your losses in income. You can collect both, although private insurance only covers up to policy limits and will generally deduct the amount of SSDI you receive from your monthly payment.
The issue of whether you can work while collecting employer-provided benefits is more complex and will depend on the terms of your policy. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), your employer must provide you with copies of all policy-related documents free of charge. There are two terms you need to be alert for:
- ‘Own occupation’: If your policy states that you must be unable to work in your own occupation, you may be able to continue to collect while working in another field.
- ‘Any occupation’: This prevents you from holding any type of job while collecting disability benefits.
Let Us Help You Today
At Farrell Disability Law, we can answer your questions about long-term disability coverage while protecting your rights to benefits. To schedule a consultation in our office, contact our Orlando long-term disability attorney today.