Social Security Disability and the Trial Work Period

November 8, 2016

In Part I of our series on work incentives for Social Security Disability (SSD) disability recipients who are looking into making the transition back into the workforce, we looked at the Ticket to Work program. In this post we will consider the Trial Work Period and what that entails. The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) trial work period program is designed to allow people who have been receiving disability payments to test their ability to function in a job again while continuing to receive SSD benefits for at least nine months.

Social Security Administration’s Trial Work Period program

Regardless of how much you earn during the trial work period (TWP) you may still receive your full SSD benefits as long as you report your work activity and continue to have a disability. Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is the upper limit of how much a person can earn without losing their SSD benefits. In 2016, SGA is $1,130 per month ($1,820 for those who are blind). The SSA considers a trial work month any month in which a person’s earnings are $810 or more, or if they worked more than 80 hours. The

TWP continues until you have accumulated 9 TWP service months (which do not have to be consecutive) within a rolling 60-month period. You are not eligible to receive disability benefits or a TWP if you are able to work at or above the SGA level within 12 months of the start of your impairment. If the SSA receives medical evidence of your recovery from your disability, your benefits may end before the end of your trial work period. Those who are actively participating in the Ticket to Work (TTW) program are not subject to a disability review while they are utilizing their ticket.

After you complete your TWP, you have the option to begin an extended period of eligibility (EPE). During EPE, the SSA evaluates your work and earnings levels and decides if you will be able to the sustain SGA level once your disability benefits end.

There are still more work incentive programs for people who receive SSD benefits such as the extended period of eligibility (EPE) begins after the trial work period ends. It allows you 36 additional months in which you can work and still receive benefits for any month in which your earnings do not reach the SGA level. The SSA publishes, The Red Book – A Guide to Work Incentives, which provides information about all of the employment supports for disabled people who receive SSD benefits.

When you begin to explore the options available to help ease you back into employment when you have been receiving Social Security benefits in Pennsylvania, you may have many questions for one of our experienced Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates. You are welcome to contact us or call 888.PITT.LAW to schedule an appointment at any of our office locations serving Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties to find out more today