What is A Trial Work Period?

If you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, you can attempt to return to work without fear of losing your benefits immediately.

The Social Security Administration allows you nine (9) trial work months during any five-year period. In 2023, any month in which work earnings exceed $1,050 is considered a month of services for an individual’s trial work period. This amount increases slightly yearly. Therefore, you should consult the Social Security Administration prior to beginning a trial work period in contemplation of a trial work period ending or as soon as it ends.

How Many Trial Work Periods Can You Have?

Generally, you will not be entitled to another trial work period once you have used these nine months. However, as with many rules, there are a few exceptions to keep in mind. Did your disability benefits end because you started working? Did you later qualify for benefits again? Have five years or more passed since your trial work period? If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, then there is a possibility that you might be eligible to begin a new trial work period.

Trial Work Period: Extended Period Eligibility

It is also important to note that once your trial work period is exhausted, you don’t automatically lose benefits. In fact, you can receive an Extended Period of Eligibility for thirty-six (36) months. During this 36-month period, you receive benefits for all months your earnings or work activity are below the substantial gainful activity level as long as you continue to have a disabling impairment.