Trial Work Period For SSDI Recipients: Answers To Your FAQs
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program aims to provide essential financial support to individuals who cannot work because of a disabling medical condition, but not all recipients will receive benefits indefinitely. If you have achieved a certain level of recovery, you might want to return to the workforce, but doing so can be overwhelming. On the one hand, you may have concerns about whether you can sustain employment considering your disability; on the other, you realize that making too much money might lead to termination of your benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) Ticket to Work program is intended to cover such scenarios.
The program envisions a tiered approach to returning to the workforce, allowing you some flexibility during a Trial Work Period (TWP). It is critical to consult with a Maryland Social Security Disability lawyer if you are considering going back to work, as mistakes could result in disqualification. Some answers to common questions may help you understand the basics.
How does the TWP work?
SSA encourages people to test the waters if they are considering going back to work, but a recipient could lose benefits by earning too much under SSDI regulations. The Trial Work Program is a means of balancing these factors. TWP enables you to act on your desire to work, but it also provides a fallback in case the effort fails. Specifically, you can continue to receive SSDI benefits for up to nine months while earning an income.
What about Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?
Throughout the entire nine-month duration of your Trial Work Period, your earnings are irrelevant to eligibility for SSDI benefits. Your income does matter for purposes of identifying a qualifying month under TWP, however. When you make more than the amount designated by law, that month counts toward your nine months.
Do the nine months need to be consecutive?
No, the SSA imposes a five-year time period during which you can accumulate the nine months of TWP. In other words, you can work a month here and there and not lose SSDI benefits; however, once you hit the nine months within a 60-month period, your TWP ends.
What happens after I accumulate nine months of work under the TWP?
The TWP is just the first tier in the SSA Ticket to Work program. Once you reach the nine-month mark, you can enter the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). This program allows you to receive benefits for up to 36 months while working, but it DOES take SGA into account. You might not get payments in a month where you made above the respective amount for that year.
Our Maryland Social Security Disability Attorneys Can Answer Additional Questions
It is useful to review some general information about the TWP, but legal representation is critical to avoid problems with SSDI benefits. To learn more, please contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC to schedule a free consultation. We can meet with you at our offices in Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Ellicott City, or Annapolis, MD.