If you have been receiving disability benefits due to a medical condition, improvements in your condition may allow you to return to work. Recipients of the disability benefits are often concerned about how resumption of the ability to work will affect their benefits. This is particularly a concern when you fear that you may relapse or if you are not sure that you will be able to continue working.
The good news is that Social Security Administration (SSA) has measures in place to address these concerns. A disability attorney in Greenville, SC may be able to help you find a program that works for you, as SSA offers a number of programs that are exclusively related to the transition period as you return to work after recovering from a disability. These programs provide financial and emotional stability for you as you attempt to get back to work. Here’s a look at these measures and programs.
Trial Work Period
If you feel that you may be able to return to work and want to give it a try, you can do so without losing your disability benefits. This is possible because of the Trial Work Period benefits SSA offers. This is a nine-month grace period during which you can start working while also receiving disability benefits at the same time. Only when you earn more than $910 in a month as of 2020 is that month counted under the trial work period. If you are able to earn at this level for at least nine months within a 60-month rolling period, SSA decides that you are now able to earn on your own.
Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)
Extended Period of Eligibility or EPE is a type of support that SSA offers once you conclude the Trial Work Period. The conclusion of the Trial Work Period means that you have earned more than $910 a month for at least nine months in the 60-month period. Once the Trial Work Period ends, the EPE kicks in. This is a period of 36 months during which SSA considers your income level when deciding whether or not to offer you benefits.
If in a given month during EPE, your earnings are above the level of substantial gainful activity (SGA), SSA suspends your disability benefits for that month. For 2020, SGA stands at $1,250 per month. When your monthly earnings fall below SGA in an EPE month, SSA starts paying you disability benefits once more. If by the end of the EPE, you are still earning above SGA, your disability benefits will come to an end.
Expedited Reinstatement is another safety and support measure for people with disability benefits. If your disability benefits came to an end because you started earning above SGA levels, you can still reclaim your disability benefits. This is possible when your monthly earnings fall below SGA. In such a case, you can request Expedited Reinstatement from SSA.
In response to your request, SSA will provide you temporary cash benefits for a period of six months while it assesses your request. If your inability to earn above SGA is because of your previous disability, you don’t have to file for disability benefits all over again. Instead, your previous eligibility and qualification will be used to reinstate your benefits without any unnecessary delays.
You have the option of availing Expedited Reinstatement for a period of up to five years after your disability payments stop.
A key part of the disability benefits you receive from SSA is the medical coverage. Medical costs involving a disability can become quite steep. This is why a major concern for recipients of disability benefits is whether or not they will receive medical coverage once the disability payments stop.
The good news is that you continue to enjoy Medicare Part A coverage even after your disability payments stop when you start earning above SGA. Medicare coverage continues for 93 months after the end of the payments. This is immensely helpful as it enables you to deal with any after-effects of the disability without worrying about the costs.
Hiring Disability Lawyers in Greenville, SC to Help You Return to Work
If you have recovered from a disability and wonder about the impact of being able to return to work on your disability benefits, you should consult a disability lawyer. A reputable disability law firm in the Greenville area will help you make the right choices at this stage. This ensures that if you relapse or if your earning capacity falls below SGA, you have access to the payments and Medicare coverage benefits. Here at our law firm, we specialize in helping recipients of disability payments make the right choices when transitioning from limited functionality to active work. Consult us today for a FREE consultation and discuss your case with our attorneys in a one-on-one session.