Beneficiaries who wish to work while receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) often share a mix of concern about risk to their benefits, as well as excitement at the opportunity to explore future opportunities. At the core of this exploration lies the Trial Work Period (TWP), a pivotal phase designed to support SSDI recipients as they test their ability to rejoin the workforce. This blog discusses all of the details you need to know before embarking on your TWP.

The Basics of Trial Work Periods

The TWP stands as a nine-month window within a rolling 60-month period where SSDI recipients can test their capacity to work while still being considered disabled. Importantly, any month where earnings surpass a specified threshold triggers the count towards the TWP. For instance, in 2023, earnings exceeding $1,050 per month initiate a TWP month. This amount increases to $1,110 in 2024, aligning with the evolving economic landscape.

Earnings triggering the TWP don’t necessarily indicate an end to disability benefits immediately. It’s crucial to recognize that until an individual accumulates at least nine months of substantial work within the rolling 60-month period, the disability isn’t considered concluded. This allows for a more gradual transition, ensuring stability during the reintegration into the workforce.

The TWP provides a safety net for SSDI recipients, allowing them to have the freedom to explore future employment without immediate repercussions on their benefits. The flexibility within this period enables individuals to navigate their work capabilities while sustaining a balance between health and professional growth.

For self-employed individuals, earning more than $970 in a month or participating in 80 or more work hours during a month classifies as part of the TWP. It’s imperative to comprehend that a beneficiary is entitled to only one nine-month trial period within a five-year span. Once exhausted, unless SSDI benefits cease and qualify for expedited reinstatement, a new trial period isn’t granted.

Finding a Job for Your TWP: The Ticket to Work Program

The SSDI recipient also has access to the Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program, which offers invaluable assistance in seeking out work opportunities by providing access to Employment Networks. It’s a comprehensive support system, connecting individuals with employment services, aiding in career development, and guiding them through the complexities of navigating work while on SSDI.

After the TWP: Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)

Upon completing the TWP, beneficiaries transition into a 36-month Extended Period of Eligibility. During this phase, a person can continue to receive SSDI benefits as long as they meet disability criteria and don’t exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. For 2023, the SGA is set at $1,260 for individuals who are blind, ensuring continued support while exploring sustained employment. This means that if the individual continues to work within the 36 months following the TWP and exceeds the SGA limit, their benefits may be reduced or eliminated for that month.

In essence, the Trial Work Period serves as a beacon of hope, fostering a supportive environment where SSDI beneficiaries can explore their work potential while safeguarding vital benefits. It’s a testament to the commitment towards empowering individuals to achieve financial independence without compromising their well-being.

The team at the ADA Group are known as the most aggressive social security disability firm in Arkansas due to our experience and approach. Contact us today for a free case evaluation at 501-254-6955.