This is a common story we hear from our social security clients. “I think I might be able to go back to work, but I don’t want to try and fail if that hurts my disability case. What should I do?” Relax and give it a shot. The short answer is that a failed return to work will not hurt your social security case. If you are unsuccessful at returning to full time employment, this can be explained as a failed attempt to return to work. Additionally, many Administrative Law Judges will view you attempting to work as a good thing because it shows that you would rather work but simply are not capable of doing so. A failed return to work can actually be used as evidence to help further establish that your condition(s) is so significant that you cannot maintain any gainful employment.
On the alternative side, if you are able to return to full time employment, great! You no longer need social security disability benefits because you will be making an income that is greater than monthly social security benefits. Therefore, the short answer is if you feel you may be able to work, then by all means give it a shot. If you can do the job, then you are able to continue to provide for yourself and your loved ones. If you cannot do the job because of your condition, then social security will recognize that as further evidence of how your disability affects your ability to work. Trying to work is a good option and one worth trying if you can.
We recognize that many people have conditions that are so severe that there is no way they could maintain a full time job safely. In those situations, clearly attempting to return to work is unnecessary and may be dangerous to you. But if your health is improving and you think you can, getting a job should not hurt your social security case unless you are successful at holding that job for a long period of time.