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Vocational Assistance and Working for Free to Get Experience Before Real Job Search

I am on Social Security Disability. Can I get full or partial tuition paid through state or federal funds for college or vocational training from being disabled? If I go to school will that cause social security to count that as an attempt to work and possibly deny or cancel my Social Security checks?

Also, if I work for someone for free to acquire some hands-on training and experience before I do a real job search, will Social Security count those hours like any work I would be paid wages for?

Thank you!




It seems like there's a fairly good program to assist folks to return to work. Here are some relevant extracts from the following booklet :

If you cannot continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again—you may not have to file a new application.

Work incentives include:

  • Continued cash benefits for a time while you work;
  • Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and
  • Help with education, training and rehabilitation to start a new line of work.

You can receive vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals and other employment support services free of charge.

The 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.

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."

Please contact the SSA directly for details.


Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration