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Can I Continue to Work While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?: The Trial Work Period


Many individuals make a sincere effort to continue working while on Social Security Disability. Some want to supplement their disability benefits, others truly need the extra income, and others are simply bored staying at home and not contributing to the workforce. If you receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, and if you want to go back to work, there are a few considerations you should make before applying for or accepting a job. Unfortunately, working while on SSDI can affect the amount of benefits you receive; in some instances, working while on SSDI may be cause for the discontinuation of your benefits entirely. Because of this, our Fort Lauderdale Social Security disability lawyers encourage you to take the time to read up on and understand the special rules that the Social Security Administration has for allowing people to continue to work and still receive their monthly benefits.

Trial Work Period

If you feel that you can work, but you are hesitant to discontinue your benefits in case you should find that you are still unable to work comfortably, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows individuals a test period—otherwise known as the Trial Work Period (TWP). During the TWP, the disabled individual has nine months to work and make as much money as they can without any repercussions from the SSA, and without any deviation in their currently monthly benefits. These nine months do not have to be consecutive either—they just must occur within a 60-month period. So for instance, if an individual thinks that they are ready to go back to work, and they work for one month, but after that one month determine that they are not ready, they can quit and continue to rest and recover. Then, if they feel up to another TWP within a few months, they can go back to work for another month to test their abilities. This second month would be counted as month two.

It is important to note that a TWP month can either be a calendar month, or a month marked by monetary gains. The SSA has what is called a TWP earning threshold, and according to this threshold, an individual can make as much as $810 before their “month” restarts. For example, if you work a full-time job during your trial work period, at $11 an hour, your “month” would restart after just two weeks of service, as after two weeks, you would have made $880. If you own your own business or are self-employed (freelancer, contractor, etc.) your “month” would restart after working 80 or more hours in any given calendar month.

If you are concerned that your trial work period could lead to an investigation by the SSA, and therefore, to a termination of your benefits, just keep in mind that a TWP is meant to encourage individuals to go back to work, so the SSA is not going to do anything extreme to keep individuals from testing their limits. Even if the SSA does conduct a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) during your TWP, they will only look at your medical records for evidence of your health status, as they normally would whether or not you were on a TWP.

Consult a Fort Lauderdale Social Security Disability Lawyer

At The Pendas Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale Social Security disability lawyers have a thorough understanding of how SSDI benefits work, and how the SSA determines eligibility and ineligibility for benefits. Our lawyers can help you navigate the fine line between “testing the waters” and working too much as to call attention to yourself. If you currently receive SSDI benefits but want to go back to work, consult with a Fort Lauderdale social security disability benefits lawyer before making any sudden decisions. Contact us at 1-888-LPENDAS to schedule a meeting with our team today.

We also service clients in the Orlando, Tampa, Daytona, Bradenton, Jacksonville, Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Myers areas.


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