Social Security has a stated goal of encouraging disabled claimants to return to work. However, as a practical matter, work attempts are treated very differently depending on where you are in the process. While you are waiting for your decision, work attempts can help your case (if these attempts are short and unsuccessful) or they can cause a judge to conclude that you are not disabled and do have the capacity for work.
After you are found disabled, my experience has been that Social Security is much more forgiving in terms of both the length of your work attempts and the type of work you may try.
Jonathan Ginsberg represents clients in disability claims filed with the Social Security Administration.