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SSDRC Disability Blog

If you get Social Security Disability and go back to work, do you have to pay anything back?

Hello, I am asking a question for some else. She used to work for the government, but became ill and took a buyout for retirement and went on SS disability. She is now 59 and has been receiving disability benefits.

If she is thinking about trying to go back to work, her benefits will stop, probably. The question is, if she is able to work full time, does she have to pay anything back to SS or to her company? Will she still be able to collect SS when she turns 66?


She should report her new employment as soon as she gets it. There are graduated steps to help someone get back into the work environment. She has a nine month trial work period for which monthly earnings amounts do not count. If in the 10th month she is still working and earning over the SGA monthly limit (to see the current amount: SGA earnings cap) for 2014, her benefits will be suspended and she will enter a thirty six month extended period of eligibility (EPE).

During the EPE she can have her benefits restarted if she finds she is unable to work. In the 37th month her disability benefits will terminate. Still if she has to go back to her disability after that, she can file for an expedited reinstatement of her disability benefits within five years of her termination, provided she had to stop working because of her disabling condition. So you see, she will be able to try work if she wishes and she has plenty of time to see if will work out.

The main thing is to report work timely and continue reporting work activity every so often to make sure she does not receive disability benefits she should not have received. That would create an overpayment for which she would be responsible for repaying.

Lastly, she certainly can collect her Social Security at age 66 even if her disability has terminated. I hope this information helps.

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

Related pages:

Working and Disability - Are You Allowed to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability or SSI?
How Do You Avoid, and What causes, a Social Security Disability Overpayment?
If You Are Currently Working Are You Eligible To Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
Can You Work and Collect Social Security Disability in North Carolina?
What should you do when a social security disability or ssi overpayment occurs?
Is there a time limit for how long you can collect Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
How Much Income Can A Person Earn If He Draws Social Security Disability?
What is a trial work period?

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

How do I check the status of my Social Security disability claim?
Can you get temporary Social Security disability or SSI benefits?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
The Difference Between Social Security Disability (SSD) and SSI How are they different Part II