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Understanding the SSDI trial work period

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) programs are essential to provide regular income for individuals who cannot work because of illness or injury. Yet, some individuals in New Jersey may be unsure of their ability to return to work. The SSDI Trial Work Period allows them to try working in a normal capacity.

What does the trial period allow you to do?

Essentially, the trial period allows those receiving SSDI to try out their ability to work without affecting their Social Security disability status. SSID beneficiaries can test their ability to work for nine months without affecting benefits. The work period doesn’t involve consecutive days or weeks. Beneficiaries can continue to receive full benefits during this test period. However, the rules are complicated. Gross earnings cannot exceed $1,050 per month. If you are self-employed, your service is capped at 80 hours per month.

Once you have worked at or above the threshold for nine months, the Social Security Administration will assess your earnings and determine whether you have worked at substantial gainful activity. Subsidy and Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs) can reduce your countable income. If you reach substantial gainful activity (SGA) during the trial work period, your disability payment will stop after a three-month base grace period. However, if your income is below that, your payments will continue.

Disability rules can be confusing

SSDI rules are strict. Often, those who qualify don’t understand what they need to do and are denied disability benefits. Applicants must follow all disability rules precisely, whether it involves filing for an initial claim, providing necessary medical documentation or asking for an appeal. Missing even one piece of essential information can result in a denial.

The SSDI trial work period is particularly complicated and challenging to understand, as those going through it may not work continuously during the time that they attempt to return to full-time employment. Applicants may be eligible for an extended period of eligibility under certain circumstances and may also qualify for subsidies. However, not documenting trial work situations properly could reduce or terminate your disability benefit income.

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