Can you work in Arizona and still receive Social Security benefits?

Those who receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration can work as long as they report their work-related activities.

Those who receive Social Security disability benefits in Arizona are still permitted to work, states Disability.gov. However, just because a person who receives SSDI or SSI benefits starts working does not necessarily mean that the amount he or she receives will be affected or that he or she will lost his or her eligibility for benefits.

The trial work period

According to Disability.gov, once those with disabling illnesses or injuries decide that they want to work, they are permitted to test their ability to do so for a nine-month period. Once this trial period begins, those receiving benefits will still receive the same amount as long as they continue to be disabled and report the amount they earn to the SSA. If benefit recipients lose their job during this trial period, their benefits will not be affected by the situation, states the SSA.

The SSA has specific requirements for how they determine what a trial work month is. Disability.gov states that in 2014, a trial work month was considered any month where a person earns more than $770. If a person is self-employed, a trial work month is considered any month where he or she spends more than 80 hours running his or her business or earns more than $770 after deducting his or her business-related expenses.

What happens after the trial work period expires?

At the end of the trial work period, Disability.gov states that those who receive benefits from the SSA can still continue to receive these benefits for 36 months and work at the same time. However, those who desire to work and receive benefits cannot make more than what the SSA defines as a "substantial" amount. For example, this earnings cap was $1,070 a month in 2014 and $1,800 for those who are blind. According to the SSA, those who lose their job during this extended period of eligibility can have their benefits reinstated as long as they are still disabled.

What to report

When Social Security disability benefit recipients begin to work, the SSA states that they must report:

  • The duties performed in the workplace and how many hours are worked
  • The start date of their employment and when they stop working
  • When they start paying expenses for work because of their disability

Those who are disabled in Arizona who fail to properly report their work-related activities to the SSA could jeopardize their eligibility for disability benefits. If you want to work and receive Social Security disability benefits at the same time, speak with an attorney to find out what requirements apply to your situation.

Keywords: Social Security, disability, SSDI