Returning To Work

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.

Brian, in San Marcos California, asks “After collecting Social Security Disability for 8 years, I finished the 9 months of my Trial Work Period and returned to work, but after working for about a year, my disability got worse and caused me to stop working again. Do I need to re-file for disability?”

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.

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 2010, any month in which earnings exceed $720 is considered a month of services for an individual’s trial work period. This amount changes every year.

Reinstatement Period

If your disability benefits stop after finishing your trial work period, but later you discover that you are not able to work and engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) again, the Social Security Administration can reinstate your benefits without a new application. This reinstatement period lasts for 36 consecutive months following the end of the trial work period. You must continue to have a disabling impairment in addition to having earnings below the SGA level.

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