Understanding the SSDI Trial Work Period

| Jan 19, 2021 | Social Security Disability

If you’re receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, what if you find an opportunity to earn money doing something you think you might be able to handle? Many people are afraid to take a work opportunity because they fear that they’ll lose their benefits. Then, if they are unable to continue working, they’ll have to go through the application process again.

To help encourage SSDI recipients to start working again if they can, SSDI offers a Trial Work Period (TWP). Under the TWP, a person can work and still receive their usual SSDI benefits. They must continue to meet the eligibility requirements for disability and report their work activity and their earnings.

What is the Trial Work Level?

If a person is able to earn enough money to exceed the Trial Work Level (TWL) for at least nine months any time over a period of five consecutive years, they will no longer be considered disabled for the purposes of SSDI. That TWL gets a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) each year. For 2021, it is $940 per month (before taxes). If a person is self-employed, any month they work more than 80 hours or their net earnings exceed the TWL is counted toward their TWP.

Like many things where the Social Security Administration (SSA) is involved, the TWP can be confusing. The SSA offers more detailed information to recipients. However, if you have any concerns that your earnings will impact your ability to receive SSDI or if you believe that your SSDI benefits were wrongfully discontinued because of your work, it may be wise to talk with an experienced Social Security disability attorney.


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