If you win your Social Security Disability case, you may receive an initial award for a period of disability retroactive one year from the date of their application (but remember that no benefits are paid for the first six months a person is disabled). If you are still disabled, benefits will continue to be paid on a monthly basis. If you are no longer disabled, you will only receive benefits for the period of disability.
In general, you must be disabled and out of work in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits. If you are working and earning more than $900/month for a prolonged period of time, Social Security will determine that you are not disabled for that period. However, Social Security does allow you to try to work for short periods and these work attempts may not affect your case.
Receiving Social Security Disability benefits can affect your retirement benefits in a positive way. Retirement benefits are based on an average of your total lifetime earnings. When you are disabled you have no earnings. However, if you are found eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, your lack of earnings during the period of disability will not count against you and your retirement benefits may be higher.