Q. I receive Social Security Disability. Can I work at minimum wage part-time (20 hours a week maximum) without losing my Medicare and disability payments?

A.

Probably. However, you need to be aware of Social Security’s special rules called work incentives that help you keep your disability and Medicare benefits while you test your ability to work. For example, there is a trial work period. During the trial work period, you can receive full benefits regardless of how much you earn. You just have to report your work activity and continue to have a disabling impairment.

The trial work period continues until you have completed 9 trial work months within a 60-month period. We consider your work to be services if you earn more than $720 a month in 2011. After the trial work period ends, your cash benefits will stop during months your earnings are at a level we consider substantial, currently $1,000 in 2011. There are additional protections for continuing Medicare coverage. Most persons with disabilities who work will continue to receive at least 93 consecutive months of Hospital (Part A); Supplemental Medical Insurance (Part B), if enrolled; and Prescription Drug coverage (Part D), if enrolled, after the 9-month Trial Work Period.

For more information about work incentives, we recommend that you read, Working While Disabled—How We Can Help.