What opportunities does the trial work period provide?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Social Security Disability

A good portion of people who receive Social Security Disability benefits in San Diego and other parts of Southern California have a medical issue that might improve sufficiently so they can get back to work.

They are willing to try and get back in the job market. However, a lingering concern is what will happen to their benefits if they try to work and cannot.

Some of the common concerns include the possibility of not getting the benefits restarted or needing to go through the entire SSDI application process again.

The trial work period gives a person the chance to get back on the job and the option of again receiving benefits if they are unable to work because of their illness, injury or condition.

Understanding this process is essential to ensure there are no obstacles to getting SSD benefits restarted.

What is the trial work period?

A person who is getting SSD benefits can use the trial work period to see if they can stop receiving benefits and stay in the workforce. They will have up to nine months to use this program. Importantly, those nine months need not be consecutive.

People who are using this trial work period must perform services. This is categorized as an activity – even if it is not considered substantial gainful activity – as a form of employment. It can be working for someone else or through self-employment.

A work month in 2023 will be one in which the person earns $1,050 in that month. Those who are self-employed will be assessed on their income or the number of hours they worked.

If they work at least 80 hours in a month, it is considered a work month in the nine available months of the trial work period.

The Social Security Administration must be kept up to date on the person’s progress and their income. Those who go beyond the minimum monthly income during the trial work period will be considered to have been engaging in substantial gainful activity. The amount changes annually, so people need to keep track of it when they are taking part in this program.

Once that happens, the person will get their full benefits for that month plus two more months. If the earnings end up below substantial gainful activity levels and they are within the 36 months where they can try to work, the benefits can be restarted without an extended process or reapplying.

Trying to work does not mean SSD benefits will end

People who are getting Social Security Disability benefits are often reluctant to do anything that might jeopardize them. In many cases, they are unsure if they can get back into the job market either for someone else or working for themselves.

They need to be aware of the trial work period and how it can give them the opportunity to find out their capabilities. If there is confusion or a dispute about this or any other aspect of SSD, it is imperative to know the facts.