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If I Return to Work After I Apply for SSDI, Will My Claim End?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides a much needed source of monthly benefits to people who are not currently able to work. If your condition improves, you may be considering returning to work in some capacity. This raises an important question: Can I return to work if I receive SSDI? Here is a guide to the most important things you need to know about what will happen to your SSDI benefits if you go back to work.

How Will a Return to Work Affect My SSDI Benefits? 

As a starting point, it is important to understand that SSDI benefits do not automatically end when a person returns to work—at least not in every case. Your ability to go back to work and still receive Social Security disability compensation will depend on the specific nature of your claim. The primary question that you need to ask yourself is how your benefits were approved. Here are the two main categories:

Medical Vocational Allowance: If your condition was not ‘listed’, then your SSDI benefits may have been granted on the basis of a ‘medical vocational allowance’. Put simply, this means that the SSA believes that it is unreasonable for you to perform any type of work based on your age, experience, and medical status. With a medical vocational allowance, your disability benefits will typically be terminated if you return to work.

Blue Book Listed Condition: If your SSDI benefits were approved under a standard Blue Book listing, you may have some options to return to work without losing your SSDI benefits. In fact, you may even be eligible for part-time “trial work” without seeing any reduction in your benefits. Official federal policy strives to incentivize self-sufficiency when possible.

Returning to work while receiving SSDI benefits is complicated. Your eligibility to keep your benefits is a case-by-case issue. Make sure you understand how returning to your old job or accepting a new position will affect your benefits. If you have specific questions about Social Security benefits and your return to work, consult with an SSDI lawyer for guidance and support.