What is the SSDI Trial Work Period?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2021 | social security disability

Many people who receive SSDI would prefer to go back to work. But there is often a fear that, if they do return to work, they will lose their SSDI benefits. This is especially true when they’re not sure how much they’ll be able to work or for how long. What do you do if your underlying medical condition shows signs of improvement but you don’t yet know if you’re healthy enough to work for prolonged periods?

The Trial Work Period

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has many incentive programs designed to help those who receive benefits test the waters. For those receiving SSDI, the Trial Work Period allows beneficiaries to work without risking the stability of their benefits. It provides a safety net for your safety net.

If your health has shown signs of improvement and you’d like to attempt working, simply notify the SSA and you can begin your Trial Work Period. During this period, you will continue to receive full benefits, regardless of how much money you earn – it’s not counted against you and there is no interruption of your benefits.

The Trial Work Period lasts for nine months and the months do not need to be consecutive or continuous. Each recipient is permitted one Trial Work Period of nine months. Not all months in which you earn income are necessarily counted against your Trial Work Period. In 2021, you had to make at least $940 in a month for it to be considered. If you made less than that, the month is not considered a ‘working month’ for purposes of the Trial Work Period.

Once a beneficiary has completed all nine months of their Trial Work Period, they enter a three-year period of extended eligibility. During this period, if you continue to work, the SSA regularly evaluates your work and income, adjusting your benefits accordingly depending on how much you earn.