Just because you go back to work does not mean your benefits will end. You should make the social security administration (SSA) aware of the fact that you want to go back to work. If you are thinking of going back to work, you should discuss the implications with a social security disability attorney or your representative.
The first nine months of a claimant going back to work is a "trial period" according to the social security administration (SSA). In any month in which you earn over a specified amount that will be one of the months counted toward your nine months in the trial period. The months do not have to be concurrent either. Any month you work and earn more than a specified amount in a 5 year period counts as one month of your nine months in the trial period.
After your nine month trial period, if you make more than the substantial gainful activity level (SGA) then there is a good chance your benefits will no longer continue. Your benefits will continue for three more months after your trial period and then if you are still above the SGA level then your benefits will stop. Do they stop forever? Not necessarily. If the social security administration (SSA) finds that you have medically improved then they may stop paying your disability benefits, but just because you go back to work does not mean you are trying to tell the SSA that you are no longer disabled, on the contrary they will assume you are disabled notwithstanding medical improvement.
Note that this post is aimed at those claimants receiving SSDI, and not SSI. If you recall SSI is based on your income and your resources. There is no nine month trial period in SSI like SSDI. As your income goes up your SSI benefits can and often do go down.
This is often a tough issue to deal with for many claimants receiving either SSDI or SSI benefits. While going back to work is honorable and for most people desirable, if going back to work means your quality of life will suffer, you need to ask yourself if it is really worth the effort? This question often requires serious introspection and long talks with family and friends. Do not go back to work because you feel guilty. Go back to work because you feel good enough and that you can do the job well despite your disability.