What You Need to Know About Returning to Work From a Disability

by | May 1, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

Returning to work after a period of illness or disability can be frightening. You may have to navigate changes in your abilities or stamina and the attitudes of co-workers. You will definitely have to navigate legal issues.

Sometimes, it’s clear when you’re ready to return to work. Other times, it isn’t. The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows for a “trial run” after someone has been on disability. If you return to work and you and your doctor realize that you can no longer perform your job due to your disability (or cannot currently perform your job) you do not have to reapply for benefits. You can return to the program you were previously on. You may even continue to receive some Supplemental Security Income (SSI) while you complete a trial work period.

Note: The limits on amounts you can earn and still receive benefits do change from year to year. When investigating what benefits you are entitled to, make sure to refer to current-year information.

As with all things benefit-related, there are limitations and qualifications. An experienced disability lawyer can help you navigate these tricky waters.


Many people are concerned about losing Medicare benefits if they return to work. The good news is that as long as you are medically disabled, you can keep your Medicare coverage.

If you return to work, you won’t have to pay your Part A premium for the first 8.5 years (102 months). After that, you might be able to buy Part A coverage for a monthly premium. If you can’t afford the Part A premium, you may be able to get help from your state.

Disability rights

Before returning to work, familiarize yourself with your rights under the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to enable employees to perform their job. There may also be state and local laws that protect you.

Before returning to work, make sure to meet with your supervisor and the HR department to explain any needed accommodations. Make sure to document any conversations you have about your return to work.

This is another area where having an experienced disability attorney on your side can be helpful.

Available resources

Take advantage of any resources and support services that can assist you during your transition back to work. This may include vocational rehabilitation programs, physical therapy, occupational therapy, job coaching services, or support groups for individuals with disabilities. Remember, once you return to work, you will have more limitations on your time. It’s best to make sure you have completed as much rehabilitation work as possible. Your doctor or other medical professional should be able to refer you to appropriate resources.

Preparing to return to work from disability

Returning to work after being on disability involves navigating a variety of legal and emotional considerations. In addition to recognizing your progress, you will want to ensure your rights and benefits are protected. Our experienced Social Security disability attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, can help you figure out the best strategy for returning to work. Give us a call today.

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