SSDI and trial work periods

New York residents receiving SSDI might want to return to work if their condition improves. There are trial work periods that allow you to try to transition while continuing to receive your benefits.

How do you get a trial work period?

As a recipient of Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI, you are automatically allowed to have a nine-month trial work period. You can continue receiving your benefits after returning to work and can even earn an unlimited amount of income during the trial work period. You don’t have to work consecutively throughout the nine months. For example, you might work for six weeks, stop and then resume three months later.

You can only get the single nine-month trial work period within five years. It’s only possible to get a new trial work period after your SSDI benefits have ended and you are eligible for benefits again by applying again or having your previous benefits reinstated.

What are the restrictions on income during your trial work period?

You might be at risk of losing your SSDI benefits if you earn more money than what the Social Security Administration allows. There is a cap known as substantial gainful activity or SGA, which amounts to $1,310 per month or $2,190 for individuals who are blind.

Throughout your trial work period, you can continue receiving your full SSDI benefits as long as you report your work to the Social Security Administration.

What happens when your trial work period ends?

You might worry that you will lose your SSDI benefits once your trial work period has ended. However, this isn’t always the case. You might get an extended period of eligibility that lasts for 36 months. The Social Security Administration will review your work and income to see if you make more money than the cap. If you don’t go over the cap, you may continue receiving benefits. However, if you continue working past your trial work period and earn more than the cap limit, you may no longer be considered disabled.

If you are still disabled and have to stop working, you can have your benefits reinstated by requesting an expedited reinstatement.

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