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Can Going To College Reduce Your Social Security Disability Benefits?


When a person is disabled to the point where they are unable to work, they may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. They must have had enough work credits (work experience) as well as a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of “disability.” A disability is defined as a medical condition that is terminal or expected to last one year or longer.

Those who meet these requirements receive monthly disability checks. It is well-known that these payments can continue until the recipient is no longer disabled or returns to work. But what happens if a person goes to school? If they return to college to further their education, will they still receive SSDI payments?

Can You Go Back to School, Without it Affecting Your SSDI payments?

It’s possible for your SSDI benefits to continue if you go to college, but it mainly depends on what you’re going to college for and how it affects your work status. For example, if you earn a degree or certificate from college, those new qualifications will be reviewed to see if you are still disabled. The Social Security Administration will consider your education the next time you undergo a continuing disability review (CDR).

It’s possible that your new degree or training may qualify you for more jobs. If you can do those jobs despite your physical and medical limitations, the Social Security Administration may no longer consider you disabled. This means your benefits could end.

If you are attending college full-time but are receiving benefits due to a mental impairment, this could also impact your claim. If you can attend school without issues, then the Social Security Administration may determine that you are not disabled. The auditor may assume that your condition has improved and if you no longer meet the definition of disabled, your benefits may end.

Keep in mind that you must meet these three conditions in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits:

  • You cannot engage in substantial gainful activity because of your medical condition.
  • You cannot do the same work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
  • Your condition is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

Still, you should consider furthering your education if you have the ability to do so. This will allow you to gain new skills that can improve your work prospects and lead to higher pay. Even if you risk losing your SSDI benefits, a high-paying job would be a much better option. 

Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits

While Social Security Disability benefits are primarily tied to your ability to work, going back to school and improving your education can have an effect as well.

Learn more about how your benefits can be affected by going to college. The White Plains Social Security Disability lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon can make sure you understand your rights to benefits. Fill out the online form or call (914) 228-1770 to schedule a free initial consultation.



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