What is a Trial Work Period?
One of the most common questions I am asked is whether you can work and receive disability. The short answer is yes. The long answer is more complicated and potentially life-changing because working – an earning too much money – can result in your disability benefits being stopped. This article will apply ONLY to SSDI benefits, because Supplemental Security Income (SSI) has different rules.
A lot of people who come in my office have a basic understanding of Social Security disability. They’ve read online, or perhaps talked to a friend, and know that “Substantial Gainful Activity” (“SGA”) is the amount of money you must be able to earn for your benefits to be cut off. A quick online search will tell you that SGA for 2017 for blind individuals is $1,950 and for non-blind individuals is $1,170. So that seems straight-forward, right? It seems like you can earn up to that amount and still get your benefits.
Except that’s not really true. Yes, those amounts are SGA for 2017. However, there is something known as a “Trial Work Period” and it has totally different rules. During a Trial Work Period, you can test your ability to work while still receiving benefits. You would think the amount of money you’d need to earn to trigger a trial work period would be the same as SGA, but you’d be wrong. It’s much lower. For 2017, anything that exceeds $840 per month will trigger a trial work period. And if you earn over $840 for any 9 months (it doesn’t have to be consecutive months) in a 60-month period, you could face losing your benefits.
As it turns out, the rules for working while receiving disability aren’t so straightforward, and getting them wrong can be life-changing and devastating. If you are appealing your denial for Social Security disability benefits, let our experienced disability lawyers help you. Gardberg & Kemmerly has been representing Social Security disability claimants throughout the Gulf Coast in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana for over 30 years.