Can I work while on SSDI?

Most people don’t want to be on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – often, the payments alone aren’t enough to support oneself, and no one wants a disability. So, if you feel well enough, you may want to return to work. But how will employment affect your SSDI benefits?


Trial Work Period

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers a program that allows people receiving disability benefits to test the waters before returning to the workforce permanently. Known as the Trial Work Period, this SSA program allows people to still collect disability benefits for nine months while working.

The Trial Work Period allows people to slowly transition back into employment, and the goal of the program is to allow people who rely on SSDI payments to regain their financial independence.

Trial Work Period specifics

The Trial Work Period allows people to receive SSDI benefits while working for nine months during a 60-month period. The nine months need not necessarily be consecutive. A month only counts toward your allotted nine months if the income you made from working is $880 or greater.

For example, if one month you earned $1,200 and the next you only earned $700, that would only count toward one of your nine Trial Work Period months.

Will working affect future benefits?

If you return to work through the Trial Work Period, it will not affect your ability to receive benefits in the future. To the SSA, working does not mean that your disability has necessarily ended. Rather, if you complete the nine months, it shows that you’re well enough to support yourself at the moment.

If you decide during the Trial Work Period that you are not able to return to work, and you haven’t completed all nine months, your benefits will continue as normal.

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