Social Security Disability: Rehabilitation Services

The Social Security Administration is required to refer all applicants and recipients of Social Security disability benefits to the state vocational rehabilitation agency, and to reimburse those agencies for certain rehabilitation services they provide to the referred individuals. However, the vocational rehabilitation agency is reimbursed only after the individual has been substantially gainfully employed for nine months.

Being "substantially gainfully employed" is defined as the performance of significant physical and mental work activities for pay or profit, usually with countable earnings in excess of $700 per month.

A trial work period is also authorized so that beneficiaries can test their ability to return to work without losing their disability benefits. The beneficiary can work for nine (not necessarily consecutive) months; each month in which he/she earns more than $200 is a countable month.

Following the trial work period, the individual may qualify for 36 months of extended eligibility, during which he/she can draw benefits in any month in which his/her earnings don't meet the "substantial gainful activity" threshold of $700.


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