Trial Work Period


Trial Work Period

Once deemed disabled and receiving benefits every month a Trial Work Period allows you to test your ability to work again. This trial work period relates to people receiving Social Security Disability benefits every month.

What does a Trial Work Period mean to me if I am on benefits?

It is the period of time you can work and will still maintain your disability.  Working over 9 consecutive months can lead to the termination of benefits. If you can work for nine months, in a five year period, Social Security will consider that your disability has ended, and that you can engage in substantial gainful activity.

So anytime that the 9 month period is met, that may trigger an end to your disability. However, you are unable to work 9 months in any 60 month period, you will still be deemed disabled and receive your benefits.

What is the standard in 2021 for a Trial Work Period?

In 2021, if you earn $940 or more, or work more than 80 hours in self-employment in a month you're considered to have worked a TWP "service month," which is counted toward your TWP. You may have heard of substantial gainful activity (SGA), but this amount differs from the TWP amount.

What this means is that if you've been awarded disability by Social Security and you'd like to try working again you can and still receive the difference in your disability payment. For 2020, if you go back to work and make $910 a month, you'll receive the difference in your disability payment.

However, once you start earning at or over $1260 a month for a non-blind individual, or at or over $2110 for a person who is deemed blind, then you are considered working at “substantial gainful employment.”

I am working and coming up on 9 months and feel better when I work, what should I do?

Remember, if you feel good again, your treatment is improving your disability and you want to work, go for it! Disability payments are a penance. It's not a lot of money to try to live on. An old saying idle hands are the devils playground. 


If you find that you tried and are not able to, then don't despair. You tried, and you can always try again if you like. If you are on disability benefits and want to try to work again, you always have “Ticket to Work” and other resources to contact for meaningful gainful employment.

Also if it ever does stop working out you can re-apply for Social Security Disability. 

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