Can Social Security Disability Benefits Eligibility Be Extended?

Those in Washington state who are ready to return to work after a period of disability might be unsure about their rights to remain eligible for benefits. This person will enter the Social Security Trial Work Period that will last for 60 months, during which time he or she must work for nine months — not necessarily consecutive months. During this time, Social Security disability benefits will continue.

If the worker can continue working after these 60 months, he or she will be entered into the Extended Period of Eligibility. This provides another 36 consecutive months of eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. The recipient of the benefits must track and report his or her earnings during this time for evaluation by the Social Security Administration. There is an earnings standard called the Substantial Gainful Activity limits, and if the worker’s income exceeds those limits, his or her Social Security disability benefits might be affected, but if the wages are lower than the limit, disability benefits will continue.

If the gross income is more than the Substantial Gainful Activity limits, the amount of the benefits will be reduced after the first month. However, the recipient will qualify for a grace period during which benefit payments will continue for that month and the following two months. If the person continues working for remuneration that exceeds the Substantial Gainful Activity limits, disability benefits will cease after the grace period.

Matters related to Social Security disability benefits could be confusing, and anyone in Washington who has unanswered questions or feel intimidated by the system is advised to discuss the issues with an attorney who is experienced in this field of law. Legal counsel can explain the available earning options and the claims process. With the support and guidance of a lawyer, claimants might find the process significantly easier to navigate, and the chances of receiving maximum applicable benefits in a timely manner will likely be increased.

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