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Try returning to work without losing Disability

You must report your work activity if you get Disability benefits.

The first 9 months of work

You can return to work for at least 9 months and still get your full Disability payment. We call this a “trial work period.” In 2024, any month you earn over $1,110 before taxes will count towards this trial. The months don't need to be consecutive, just within a rolling 5-year period. There's no limit on how much you can earn during the 9 months.

The next 3 years of work

After your 9-month work trial, there's a 36-month period called an “extended period of eligibility” (EPE) where you can work and still get Disability. The EPE earnings limit in 2024 is $1,550 per month, or $2,590 if you get Disability due to blindness. If you exceed the earnings limit in any month, you won’t be eligible for a Disability payment for that month.

After your EPE, if you keep earning over the limit, your benefit will typically end. 

Learn how to restart your benefits if you can’t continue to work.

Your earnings limit can increase in certain circumstances

During the 3-year extended period of eligibility, if you have work expenses due to your disability, you may be able to earn more than the monthly limit without affecting your benefits, up to the value of those costs. For example, if you have to spend $250 per month on specific transportation needs, you can earn an extra $250 each month.

Also during that time, your earnings limit could increase if your job offers a subsidy. We define a subsidy as extra support due to your disability, like paid breaks or less work than your peers.

We’ll talk to your employer to determine the value of your subsidy. For example, they might tell us they give you extra paid breaks every week, worth $100. This would be your subsidy and you could earn up to that amount more than the earnings limit without reducing your benefit.

When you report your work activity, be sure to report these expenses and subsidies as well.

Keep your Medicare coverage

During the 9-month trial and the following 93 months

You can typically keep Part A (hospital insurance) at no cost but can’t withdraw unless you pay a premium. 

If you have Part B (medical insurance), you can keep it by continuing to pay the premium.

After that

You can pay for both Parts A and B and keep your coverage as long as you still have a disability. Part A usually becomes free again after age 65.

Explore our Ticket to Work program, which can help you find or keep a job