Can I Work and Still Receive Social Security Disability?

Mar 27, 2023


A common question we receive is if a person can work and receive social security disability payments at the same time. You want to work but are not sure if you can handle it and don’t want to jeopardize your chances of receiving Social Security Disability. So, what happens if you do try to work? Can you still get benefits? The answer depends on where your case is in the Social Security Disability system.

Can you work while you are applying for Social Security Disability but not yet approved?

When you apply for Social Security Disability, the Social Security Administration reviews your case to determine if you fit the definition of disabled. Part of that investigation is to determine if you can do Substantial Gainful Activity. Doing Substantial Gainful Activity is being able to do any type of work that brings in enough income to survive. The amount of money SSA believes is needed to survive is changed every year based on the cost of living. In 2023, that amount is $1,470 per month. Therefore, if you make more than $1,470 per month, you do not fit the definition of disabled and will not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. On the other hand, if you are working but making less than that, you could still fit the definition. Remember, if you are working the Social Security Administration will see that when they review your case. They may question if you could be making more than the $1,470 a month at a job. They may question if you are just choosing not to or just having a hard time finding a decent job and are not really disabled.

Can you work after you have been approved and are already receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?

Anyone on Social Security Disability can make less than $1,050 per month working and not have any change to their benefits. The limit is adjusted each year, and that is the limit for 2023. If you are doing better and feel like you want to try getting back to fulltime work, the Social Security Program encourages you to do so. The program recognizes that a person is less likely to try to work if they are jeopardizing their Social Security Disability benefits by doing so. After all, you may try and find out your impairments are still too challenging to work. That is where Work Incentive Programs come into play. There are many programs, but the program that best fits our question is the Trial Work Period program. In this program a person receiving Social Security Disability benefits can try going back to work and still receive their full benefits for up to 9 months without jeopardizing their payments. With this program it does not matter how much income you make per month while you are trying to work again. Please note, you are required to report that you are working again and trying out this program. If sometime during the nine months you discover the work is too much, you can quit and go back to just receiving your disability benefits. If after the nine months you are still working, then you are slowly weaned off the Social Security Disability program. It should be mentioned that the nine months do not have to be consecutive for them to trigger the weaning off Social Security Disability. It would just have to be nine months total within a 60-month period.


As you can see, working while receiving or applying for Social Security Disability benefits is a tricky topic. Therefore, it is important to talk to an attorney before you make the decision to try to work and receive Social Security Disability benefits at the same time. At Pedersen Law Office, LLC we understand how confusing Social Security Disability can be; that is why we offer free consults. We will discuss your application and disability case and help you through the entire process. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Green Bay and their surrounding areas.

Loading Conversation

Get in touch

Online Bill Payment

Now you can quickly and easily pay for your legal services online in the comfort of your own home.