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Trial Work Period


When a beneficiary starts working after SSDI payments start, they get a Trial Work Period (TWP) to test their ability to work. They still get their full SSDI payment during this period. To be eligible for a TWP, the beneficiary must continue to have a disability that meets the SSDI disability criteria.

About the 9-Month Trial Work Period (TWP)

Person uses Braille keyboardWhen an SSDI beneficiary begins working, they get a Trial Work Period (TWP) to explore their ability to work while receiving their full SSDI payments. The TWP continues until the beneficiary has used 9 TWP months within a period of 60 consecutive months.

An SSDI beneficiary uses a TWP month by working at a certain level:

  • Beneficiaries who earn a wage use a TWP month if their gross monthly income is over $1,050 per month in 2023. The gross monthly income needed for a TWP month usually changes each year based on the National Wage Index.
  • Self-employed beneficiaries use a TWP month if either their net earnings from self-employment are more than the TWP level ($1,050 per month in 2023) or they perform more than 80 hours of self-employment activity.

A beneficiary could use up the 9 TWP months in only 9 consecutive months if their income is consistently high enough. However, if earnings go up and down, the TWP could extend over several years.

Note: When an SSDI beneficiary begins work, they are always given a 9-month Trial Work Period. During this period, they can test their ability to work while still getting their SSDI payment.

SSDI Payments Stay the Same During the TWP

If the SSDI beneficiary has not yet used all 9 TWP months, they keep the same SSDI payment no matter how high their monthly gross earnings.

Don’t confuse SSDI with SSI! Unlike Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the SSDI payment will not change based on earnings.

Note: An SSDI beneficiary gets their full SSDI payment each month of Trial Work Period no matter how high their gross wages.

How to Know When the TWP Ends

Examining dataThe TWP ends when the SSDI beneficiary has had 9 TWP months during 60 consecutive months. TWP months do not have to occur one after the other. Many beneficiaries have uneven earnings. Their wages may go up and down, or they may experience some months with no earnings. SSA will count a month as a TWP month only if gross earnings are above the year’s TWP level.

The TWP continues until 9 TWP months are used within 60 consecutive months. Even when an SSDI beneficiary works a ninth TWP month, the TWP will continue if the 9 months in question occurred in more than 60 months.

Example of a TWP: Liam

Liam started getting SSDI in 2018. In November 2020, he began working at the local grocery store, earning $930 per month with an essential worker pay incentive. He earned $930 from November 2020 through March 2021.

Starting in April 2021, Liam received a raise and earned $980 per month through August 2021, when he quit.

In November 2021, he took a retail job for the holidays and earned $900 per month through January 2022. Liam stopped working after the holidays. In November 2022, he again worked the retail job, but now he earned $1,000 per month through January 2023.

The table below shows how Liam’s gross earnings interacted with the TWP levels set by SSA for each calendar year: Only the months that Liam worked and earned more than the TWP level counted as TWP months. Because all 9 TWP months fall within a 60 month period (looking back from December 2022 to January 2018), Liam has used his TWP. Liam continued to get his full SSDI payment every month during the TWP, no matter how much he earned.


Gross Earnings

TWP Month?

November 2020


TWP Month 1

December 2020


TWP Month 2

January 2021



February 2021



March 2021



April 2021


TWP Month 3

May 2021


TWP Month 4

June 2021


TWP Month 5

July 2021


TWP Month 6

August 2021


TWP Month 7

November 2021



December 2021



January 2022



November 2022


TWP Month 8

December 2022


TWP Month 9

TWP levels: 2020 - $910, 2021 - $940, 2022 - $970

Tip: This site has basic information about the TWP. When an SSDI beneficiary starts a job, they should work with a Benefits Planner/Work Incentives Counselor to discuss their situation and ensure that their TWP goes smoothly.

Getting Free Benefits Planning in Your State

A person explaining how to get free benefitsThese services may be called by another name, such as Work Incentives Counseling or Benefits Advisement. Their purpose is to help a beneficiary of SSDI (and/or SSI) understand what will happen to cash benefits and health insurance benefits (like Medicare or Medicaid) when they go to work. The benefits planner can also help to maximize the use of work incentives available through SSDI, SSI, Medicaid, and Medicare.

State-based Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Projects

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides grants to either nonprofit agencies or government agencies to serve as Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects. Based on the beneficiary population in a state, a state may have just one WIPA project or it may have several.

WIPA projects provide free benefits planning services through Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs). They can provide one-on-one services over a period of months to assist an SSDI or SSI beneficiary move toward their work goals while limiting any immediate impact on benefits.

SSA has, as a WIPA grant condition, made it a priority for WIPA projects to serve transition-aged youth and Veterans.

You can find the WIPA project serving your state or region at Social Security’s Ticket to Work Find Help page. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842, toll-free (or 866-833-2967 for TTY).

Benefits Planning Offered through a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agency

A few state VR agencies use their own trained staff, but most VR agencies fund other agencies to provide benefits planning services. The type of service and amount of benefits planning services available varies from state to state.

If you are served by the state VR agency, ask for a referral for benefits planning services.

You can use the Ticket to Work Find Help page to find contact information for your state’s VR agency. Or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842, toll-free (866-833-2967 for TTY) and ask for contact information for your state VR agency.

Benefits Planning from an Employment Network (EN)

Some Employment Networks (ENs), operating through the Ticket to Work Program, provide benefits planning services. If an EN accepts a beneficiary’s Ticket, any services they provide must be free.

To locate ENs in your area, visit the Ticket to Work Find Help page. You should be able to find out if an EN offers free benefits planning services. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842, toll-free (or 866-833-2967 for TTY) and ask about ENs serving your area. You can then call these ENs and ask if they offer benefits planning services.