Jorgensen Law

What is a Trial Work Period?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a “Trial Work Period” to encourage individuals who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to try and return to work.

During the trial work period, you can test your ability to work and still be considered disabled. You can earn income from employment that might exceed the amount that would normally disqualify a person for disability benefits; however, because you are in the trial work period, you will still receive all of your disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration does not consider employment during the trial work period as showing that the disability has ended until work has been performed in at least 9 months (not necessarily consecutive) in a rolling 60-month period. In 2009, any month in which earnings exceed $700 is considered a month of services for an individual’s trial work period. This amount changes every year.

If you are currently receiving SSDI benefits and you are able to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity and earn more than a certain amount of money from employment (the trial work period trigger amount), then it will be counted as 1 month of trial work period service.

During your time on disability, if your monthly employment earnings exceed this amount 9 times, then the Social Security Administration will re-evaluate your case and your disability benefits might be discontinued.

The trial work period is only available to individuals who are collecting benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This program is not available to individuals who are collecting benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI).