Trial Work Period

A trial work period is a nine-month term during which, if you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits under Social Security Disability standards, you may attempt to work without jeopardizing your benefits. You may work for a maximum of nine months over a five-year period. Months do not have to be consecutive as long as they are within a five-year span.

If you want to be eligible for trial work period, you must have completed an initial reinstatement term and have not previously received one. Social Security Disability beneficiaries are permitted only one trial work period, and only if they are classified as having a disability under Social Security Disability Title II.

If you qualify for a trial term of work, you may work without jeopardizing your Social Security Disability benefits. This means that you will receive benefits from both Social Security Disability and the money you earn while working.

The SSA established the program to provide an incentive for Social Security Disability recipients to work and eventually become self-sufficient. Additionally, the program can be used for self-employment, allowing you to try your hand at starting a profitable business while still receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

You are required to disclose all employment activities and earnings during your trial work period. Any month in which you earn less than $720 (as of 2011) does not count toward your months of service. Your trial work period may last up to nine months during which you earn at least $720, and your Social Security Disability benefits cannot be lowered or cancelled based on the work you perform or the money you receive during this period.