The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) two disability programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are not temporary programs. They provide benefits to individuals whose disabling medical conditions are permanent or at least long-term. Neither program has a short-term or temporary counterpart.
That said, you can effectively get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits by returning to work if and when you feel able. The SSA offers incentives for recipients to do so. These include a trial work period, during which you can attempt to maintain gainful employment without it affecting your benefits, and a fast-track program in case you return to work and subsequently need to file for benefits again.
A disability lawyer from the Disability Advantage Group, can review your situation, answer your questions, and help you make the most of any and all disability benefits for which you are eligible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our team members, call our office today at 865-566-0800.
Can I Get Temporary SSDI or SSI Benefits?
The short answer is no. You cannot apply for SSDI or SSI and receive approval for benefits with the understanding that they will be temporary. In fact, to get approved for benefits at all, you must demonstrate to the SSA that your medical condition has lasted or will probably last for at least 12 months. If you have a short-term condition that renders you unable to work but is likely to last fewer than 12 months, you cannot qualify for SSDI or SSI.
The only way to make these disability benefits temporary is to apply for benefits, get approved, and then voluntarily return to work at a later date when you are capable. However, if you anticipate a return to work within 12 months of the date you apply—and your application makes this clear to the SSA—it weakens your claim substantially and you might not receive approval for the benefits you need.
What Is a Trial Work Period?
A trial work period is a program the SSA offers to disability recipients that lets them return to work on a trial basis without putting their benefits at risk.
Both SSDI and SSI have strict rules about employment while receiving benefits. If you earn more than a certain amount each month from substantial gainful employment, you risk losing your benefits. The SSA updates these income limits each year to keep up with costs of living. Working and earning over your program’s limit while also collecting disability is strictly prohibited.
The SSA understands, though, that some recipients want to return to work rather than collect disability, but they do not know if they are capable until they try. With the trial work period, they can give it a risk-free shot.
Under the rules for the trial work period, the SSA allows you to work for nine months during a 60-month period. These nine months do not have to be consecutive. If, after nine months, you do not feel able to return to work full-time, you can stop working and continue collecting benefits. However, once you have earned above the income limit for 10 months, the SSA can suspend your disability benefits.
What If I Decide to Continue Working but Then Realize I Am Not Capable?
If you return to work on a long-term basis but then decide you cannot sustain employment and need to go back on disability, you might qualify for an expedited reinstatement. The SSA makes this provision available to those who go off of benefits but need to go back on them within five years.
If the SSA grants you expedited reinstatement, it is important to understand that your new benefits are provisional and last only six months. During this time, the SSA reviews your updated medical information and makes a determination on whether to approve you long-term, as the organization did when you initially applied. If the decision is favorable, your benefits continue beyond the six-month provisional period. Otherwise, your benefits terminate at that point.
It is a good idea to work with one of our disability attorneys if you anticipate any change in your benefit or work status. Whether you are considering making use of your trial work period, you want to go back to work on a long-term basis, or your benefits terminated due to work activity and now you want to reinstate them, call us. We can help you navigate the complex rules of the SSA.
For a Free Consultation With a Disability Lawyer, Call 865-566-0800 Today.
At the Disability Advantage Group, our attorneys focus on helping disability clients get the most out of their benefits. If you are considering returning to work while drawing benefits, we can offer tips to make the transition smoother. To schedule a free consultation, call 865-566-0800 today.