Q: Will my Social Security disability benefit increase if my condition gets worse or I develop additional health problems?
A: No. We do not base your Social Security benefit amount on the severity of your disability. The amount you are paid is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. If you go back to work after getting disability benefits, you may be able to get a higher benefit based on those earnings. In addition, we have incentives that allow you to work temporarily without losing your disability benefits. For more information about disability benefits, read our publications “Disability Benefits” and “Working While Disabled — How We Can Help.” Both are available online.
Q: I miss working. If I go back to work, will I automatically lose my Social Security disability benefits?
A: No. Social Security has several work incentives to help you ease back into the workforce. You may be able to continue receiving benefits during a “trial work period,” and in most cases your medical coverage will continue after you begin working. We may be able to help you return to work without losing your benefits. These work incentives are like a safety net for people who want to go to work but aren't sure they can. For information about Social Security's work incentives, visit our website, the Work Site, at www.socialsecurity.gov/work or read the online Red Book on Work Incentives at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook. For additional information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at (800) 772-1213 (TTY (800) 325-0778).
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213. For more information, visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov.