Office on Mental Health Logo
Contact Us

125 N. Main St., Rear 
Bel Air, Maryland 21014
Tel: 410.803.8726
Fax: 410.803.8732

You are here: SSA & Work: Myths

Call our toll-free telephone line

How much can I work when I receive Social Security disability benefits?

Will I lose my health coverage if I go to work?

What if I go to work and then my disability gets worse?

Consumers, families, advocates and professionals:

Do you have questions about Social Security’s work incentives and safety nets?

We open our toll-free telephone line on Mondays from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. and on Thursdays from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. to anyone. Call 1-855-384-2844.

You will speak with Shannon Smiles, a Certified Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC).

This is a free, confidential service to help you make informed choices about going to work.

Myth: If I go to work, my disability cash benefits will automatically stop.

Fact: If you go to work, there are many safety nets that allow you to get used to working without worrying about your cash benefits. 

For example, if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you can earn as much money as you want for a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). Even after that, there is an additional 36-month period (called the Extended Period of Eligibility) that acts as another safety net if you are not able to continue to work.

If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cash benefits and have earned income in any month, SSA decides how much your SSI check will be by first applying a $20 income exclusion. Then SSA does not count the first $65 of the earnings you receive in a month, plus one-half of the remaining earnings. This means that they count less than one-half of your earnings when figuring your SSI payment amount.

In almost all cases, people with disabilities, especially those who receive SSI benefits only, are better off financially if they work then if they reely on disability benefits only.

Myth: If I go to work, my health benefits will stop.

Fact: After you return to work, your Medicaid coverage can continue, even if your earnings (alone or in combination with your other income) become too high for an SSI cash payment.

People who receive Medicare can continue to get coverage Most persons with disabilities who work will continue to receive at least 93 consecutive months of Hospital Insurance (Part A); Supplemental Medical Insurance (Part B), if enrolled; and Prescription Drug coverage (Part D), if enrolled, after the 9-month Trial Work Period. You do not pay a premium for Part A. You may be able to get assistance in paying for these premiums.