SSDI Recipients Have a Right to Trial Work Periods

people sitting in a row working at computers while woman sitting in the middle smiles at person closest to camera
Mar 10, 2022 | Sara Khaki

People receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits might be afraid to return to work for fear of losing their monthly compensation. This is because SSDI benefits are only awarded to individuals who are too disabled to participate in gainful employment.

Fortunately, the SSA allows people to return to work during a trial period without jeopardizing their eligibility for SSDI. If you are receiving SSDI benefits, you can work for nine months, consecutively and otherwise, before your eligibility would come into question. This work incentive is known as the Trial Work Period (TWP).

Trial Work Period

You have the opportunity to decide whether working is right for you while still receiving payments. Specifically, you have five years after being approved for SSDI to explore long-term employment, but you can only work for nine months. After nine months of work, the SSA determines that you are not too disabled to work.

The nine-month work period does not have to be consecutive; however, once you have been working for a total of nine months, the trial work period expires and continuing to work will make you ineligible for SSDI. If you are self-employed, you will be considered in a trial work period if you work 80 hours or more during a given month.

The TWP might end before nine months of work if your monthly income exceeds a certain amount. The amount is set by the SSA and changes yearly. The monthly amounts that start a trial period are the following:

  • 2020: $910
  • 2021: $940
  • 2022: $970

Extended Period of Eligibility

Once this trial work period is complete, you then enter a 36-month extended period of eligibility, during which you may continue receiving SSDI benefits as long as your earnings do not exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount set by SSA. For non-blind individuals, the SGA was $1,260 in 2020, $1,310 in 2021, and is $1,350 in 2022.

Our disability law firm helps those in need with the Social Security disability claims process. Contact The Khaki Law Firm today to discuss your right to a trial work period while receiving SSDI benefits with our skilled attorneys.  

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