If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) you might be eligible to continue receiving these benefits as you test your ability to return to work for the following nine months, irrespective of how much you earn.
The Trial Work Period (TWP) falls under the umbrella of social security as one of many from Social Security that supports people who receive benefits and want to work.
Trial Work Period
The TWP is a nine-month period where people who receive SSDI can determine if returning to the workforce makes sense for them over a nine month period, while still receiving their benefits.
The income an individual makes has no bearing on their ability to continue receiving said benefits and the scheme is in place to support beneficiaries while they explore long-term employment.
It is also important to note that the nine months under the TWP scheme do not have to be consecutive, though once the nine months have been completed the benefits will expire.
The duration of your TWP is determined by Social Security measures earnings over a 60-month (five-year) period and beneficiaries must report their work activity and continue to meet Social Security’s rules for disability during those nine months.
How does the Trial Work Period work?
Social Security relies on the earnings you make in a month before taxes, to calculate if a month counts toward one of the nine months of your TWP or not.
In 2022, any month where you earn 970 dollars or more will count towards your TWP. For example, if you began your TWP in 2022 and earned 1,000 dollars in January and 800 dollars in February, you would only have used one of your nine TWP “service months.”
For self-employed individuals, any month where you earn 970 dollars or work for more than 80 hours, will count as one of your TWP “service months.”
Social Security must know about your work activity or wages earned irrespective of whether you receive SSDI or SSI.
A Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program service provider will be able to explain Social Security’s work and wage reporting requirements and may assist with reporting earnings to Social Security.
What happens when your Trial Work Period Ends?
After the nine months, an individual under this scheme will begin a 36-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE).
Social Security will evaluate your work and earnings during this period and an individual who earns more than a certain monthly amount after consideration of all of Social Security’s Work Incentives, is ordinarily considered to be engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
In 2022, SGA is classified as a monthly earning of 1,350 dollars for individuals who are not blind and 2,260 dollars for individuals who are blind.
Social Security will then determine your eligibility for benefits based on this number, along with other Work Incentives that might allow Social Security not to count some of your earnings.
If the individual in question does not perform work that Social Security deems to be SGA during any of their months during their EPE and they continue to have their disabling impairment, then they will be due your disability benefits for that month.
For months when an individual earns above SGA, they may no longer be due payments, once Social Security looks at their earnings. If Social Security decides that their work is substantial Gainful Activity the first time after their Trial Work Period ends, Social Security will continue to pay benefits for the month their disability ceases including the following two months.
This is the grace period. However, if their earnings fall below SGA and you are still within the 36-month period, Social Security can restart their benefits without a new application.
About Ticket to Work
Social Security’s Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) and want to continue working.
The Ticket Program is free and voluntary and is designed to help people with disabilities move toward financial independence by connecting them with the services and support they require to succeed in the workforce.
The Ticket Program also connects them with free employment services to help determine if working is right for them, prepare for them to rejoin or join the workforce, and help the, find a job or maintain success while they are working.