I'm sorry if this has been posted before; I'm sure it must have been but I just can't find it.
I'm getting a lot of conflicting information regarding working while on SSD, so I went to the source. This is what I found:
A trial work period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During your trial work period, you will receive your full Social Security benefits regardless of how much you are earning as long as you report your work activity and you continue to have a disabling impairment. In 2011, a trial work month is any month in which your total earnings are over $720, or if you are self-employed, you earn more than $720 (after expenses) or work more than 80 hours in your own business. The trial work period continues until you have worked nine months within a 60-month period.
Does this mean if you earn LESS than $720 it's not considered a trial work period?
After your trial work period, you have 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits for any month your earnings are not "substantial." In 2011, we generally consider earnings over $1,000 ($1,640 if you are blind) to be substantial. No new application or disability decision is needed for you to receive a Social Security disability benefit during this period.
Does this mean you still receive full SSD benefits if you're earning under $1000?
And what happens after the 36 month period?
I'd like to try to find a full-time job (yeah, I know) and just be done with disability altogether. But in the meantime, I have the opportunity to return to the work I did before I got sick. It's very casual, very sporadic work; I might work 2 days a month one month, then work 10 or 12 days the next month. I'd never bring home more than a few hundred in any given month. But while I'd gladly give up disability for full-time employment, I really can't jeopardize it over a few small jobs here and there.
I know this all ought to be self-explanatory, but I've gotten feedback from a lot of different people in the same situation and none of their experiences match up with what I've copied from SS's website, or with each other.