Every disability comes with its own unique challenges. But regardless of what the disability is, if it prevents someone from working, then Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can become an important part of their lives. But what if you want to try working again? How do you go about it and what will happen to your benefits if you do?
The Trial Work Period
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a number of programs designed as work incentives. One such program, the Trial Work Period, is tailor-made for those who want to attempt to return to work but aren’t sure if they’ll be able to sustain it. When an SSDI recipient decides they want give it a go, they simply need to inform the SSA and the Trial Work Period will begin.
Every recipient is allotted a total of nine months for the trial work period. During that time, they may work and still receive their full SSDI benefit. The nine months do not have to be consecutive, giving you the flexibility to work on-again/off-again if your circumstances demand it. Furthermore, not every month you work is necessarily counted toward your nine-month trial period. Only months when your work income exceeds a certain dollar amount ($940 per month in 2021) are counted – any months when you do not earn the threshold amount are disregarded.
If you complete the entire nine months of the Trial Work Period, and wish to continue working, you will be placed in a period of extended eligibility for SSDI benefits. During this period, the SSA will regularly monitor and evaluate your work and income, making adjustments to your benefit amount depending on how you’re doing.