Q. I am currently in remission, with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. I would love to return to my former career as a freelance writer and editor. However, I am currently on Social Security Disability Insurance and will soon be eligible for Medicare. It’s tough enough to earn a living as a freelancer. Yet, if I go back to work (after my trial work period, etc.) and earn over $1,000 per month, I not only risk losing that income, but ultimately Medicare. Is there any possibility of someone in my situation remaining on Medicare, even if I risk losing my monthly SSDI check for the “privilege” of trying to earn an income without reentering a daily 9-5 grind?
A. Continuation of Medicare for at least 93 months after the end of a nine-month trial work period is one of the most important features of the work incentives the law provides to encourage disabled individuals to attempt to work. For more information see the Social Security Administration issue brief Working While Disabled. You can find it at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10095.html .
In 2013, monthly earnings of $750 or more will constitute use of a trial work month. The monthly 2013 Substantial Gainful Activity level is $1,040.