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What is the SSDI trial work period?

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2022 | Social Security Disability Benefits

Not everyone who suffers from a disability has the option to work. But what if you want to? Will you lose your benefits? You may be concerned that even trying to work will risk the benefits upon which depend. What should you do?

The trial work period explained

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is not immune to the concerns of those who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). It has a number of work incentive programs designed to help benefit recipients – including those who receive SSDI. Known as the trial work period, it allows recipients to test the waters of working without jeopardizing their SSDI benefits in the process.

For up to nine months, an SSDI recipient can work as much as they like or are able and still receive their full benefits. The benefits are in addition to any income they receive from their employment. The nine total months do not have to be consecutive and not every month you work will necessarily count against your trial work period. Instead, only months in which you earn at least $970 (in 2022) will be counted.

If you decide that continuing to work is not right for you, your SSDI benefits remain uninterrupted and you can return to your life as before. If you complete the nine months of the trial work period and decide to continue working, you enter a 36-month period of extended eligibility for benefits, when your benefits can be offset by your income, depending upon how much you make. Regardless, if your income is below a threshold amount during the extended eligibility period, the process can be halted without you having to reapply for SSDI benefits.