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What is the SSDI Trial Work Period?

Not every disability lasts for a lifetime. With proper medical treatment and a little luck, people can recover from some conditions covered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and return to their normal lives.

But what if you’re uncertain if you’re well enough to return to full-time work? The Social Security Administration has a program that allows people on SSDI to test the waters to see if re-entering the workforce is a good fit.

Going back to work

If and when you’re ready to start working again, you may enter the SSDI Trial Work Period. The Trial Work Period begins in any month in which you earn a certain preset amount of income. As of 2019, you meet the income threshold after earning $880 in one month.

Just because you meet the income threshold, though, this does not mean your SSDI benefits cease. Instead, you are allowed nine months – not necessarily consecutively – in a 60-month period in which you may meet the income threshold and still receive benefits. During these nine months, you will receive both your SSDI benefit payment and keep whatever income you’ve earned.

Unable to continue working

If, after attempting to return to work, you find your disability impedes your job, you can return to full SSDI benefits without penalty. This can happen after either working the full nine months, or at any time you stop working within the 60-month period as long as you haven’t earned $880 for nine months. Your benefits will return automatically, and you do not need to fill out a new SSDI application.

Be informed

No one wants a disability. Becoming disabled is daunting, and the stacks of paperwork involved in filing for and continuing on SSDI can be overwhelming. If at any time you feel the system isn’t working right for you, you may consider seeking the help of a legal professional who can sort out the details.

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