Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Will I be penalized for trying to work after filing for disability?

The following scenario and question was left as a comment on another post. Here is the comment reposted, along with the response to the questions asked.

"I filed for disability in November, hired an attorney and began to wait, and wait,...and wait. I had pretty much concluded that I wasn't going to be awarded. So, in an effort to keep from losing my home, in August I took a job at least "trying" to work. Then much to my surprise, one day in November I received a check for $9,000 and my award letter. I contacted SSI to make them aware that I had been trying to work because I didn't realize I was approved.

Even my dead-beat attorney didn't realize I had been approved. So, now I have worked for almost 3 months and am frightened SSI could not only "cancel" my benefits, but also ask for their $9,000 back. Has anyone ever had this happen to them? Of course I am no longer working, but I still have no idea what they might might do. I am fine with re-paying the $9,000...I just don't want to lose my benefits."

I cannot tell by your post if you are receiving Social Security disability ,Supplemental Security Income disability benefits (SSI), or both. If you did not work longer than three months, there is a possibility that you may not have to worry. Social Security disability applicants can have what is known as an unsuccessful work attempt.

Generally, unsuccessful work attempts can be excused if the work did not last more than three months. You may be entitled to keep the back pay and stay on your disability benefits.


1. Can I work without it affecting my disability or SSI?
2. Will Social Security deny my disability claim if I am working?
3. Are You Allowed to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability or SSI?

It is so hard to give you an answer because I do not know the facts of your disability claim. For example, exactly how long you worked or what you earned for the time you worked. I would say that you should report your work to Social Security, so that you will not be overpaid. Believe me, in this case it is better to know if you are going to remain eligible to receive disability benefits. If you are not eligible for disability benefits your overpayment will increase with each month of disability benefits that you receive.

At this point, there is nothing you can do about the fact that you worked, so you can either report the work or wait until Social Security reviews your disability claim. The advantage in reporting now is that you would know where you stand. If SSI is involved, you may not be entitled to some of the back pay simply because income for the months that you worked may make you ineligible for benefits.

As you can see, a lot of issues come up when disability applicants who have work activity and like I said I cannot answer this question with certainty. Of course, this has happened to other disability beneficiaries (many, many, many). You are not the first this has happened to nor will you be the last. I doubt that your disability benefits will be terminated, however you may or may not have an overpayment. I would suggest that you go to your local Social Security office and get some information.

Good luck!

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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How to file for disability in Wisconsin
What Are The Odds of Winning A Social Security Disability Appeal?
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?
Check Amount on Social Security Disability Award Letter
The difference between Social Security disability and SSI
Filing for disability with migraines
How long for a disability judge to make a decision?
What Should I Expect at my Social Security Disability Review if I am working part-time?
Filing for Disability - Blind in one eye and a Learning Disability, Do I have a Case?
How long does it take to hear from SSI?
Tips for filing a Social Security Disability Reconsideration
What happens after you request a disability hearing?
Which medical conditions will social security recognize as a disability?
While you are in your disability interview
The SSD and SSI definition of disability

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Getting a disability approval
How to appeal disability denial
Disability hearing results
Helpful tips for going to social security disability hearing
SSDI hearing decision
Denied social security disability now what
Social security disability appeal status
Social security disability appeal attorney fees
I was denied social security disability for the 2nd time
What happens after a disability hearing has been held
How long does a Social Security Disability judge have to make a ruling?
The Social Security Disability Blue book
How to get an SSDI reconsideration approved?
Conditions that get approved for disability
Social security disability back pay status
Denied social security disability appeal
What to say at a disability hearing
Filing for disability with fibromyalgia
Tips for applying for disability