Understanding workers’ compensation can be tricky enough for the average person, but determining how this interacts with your social security disability can be even trickier. Many often ask me: “Can I work while collecting social security disability benefits, and how does this affect my New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits?”

The short answer is yes, but the long answer is slightly more complicated than that. The U.S. Social Security Administration has special rules which make it possible for people receiving disability benefits to work and collect their monthly benefits. Under most circumstances, you can work part-time and earn up to approximately $750 per month, and still maintain your SSD and Medicare benefits.

If you find that you are able to work in excess of part-time, you may be eligible for a “Trial Work Period” regardless of much you are earning. A TWP allows you the opportunity to test your ability to work. Be aware that the TWP applies to any nine months in a 60 month period. You must report your work activity and continue to have a disabling impairment to qualify for continued benefits during a TWP. If the TWP ends unsuccessfully, your benefits can be reinstated without the need to file a new application, as long as it occurs within 36 months of the end of the TWP. In addition, Medicare benefits will continue for at least 93 months (7+ years) for most persons with disabilities.

The SS rules allow you to work while you are totally and permanently disabled within the above parameters. However, be aware that if you have also been found totally and permanently disabled under the NJ workers’ compensation statute, you are absolutely prohibited from working despite the more liberal SS rules.

If you have been hurt at work and unable to return to work, it is strongly recommended that you seek experienced counsel immediately.