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Trial Work Period

Trial Work Period (TWP) basics

  • The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program offers a 9-month Trial Work Period (TWP) to all SSDI beneficiaries.
  • During 2023, a TWP month is one where gross earnings were more than $1,050.
  • If the beneficiary is self-employed, 80 hours of work in the business during the month or net self-employment earnings (after deducting business expenses) make it a TWP month.

There is no risk to SSDI during the TWP

  • During the TWP, the SSDI payment will continue, with no change in payment amount, as the beneficiary works and earns money.
  • It does not matter how much the SSDI beneficiary earns during a TWP month—they remain eligible to receive their SSDI payment.

The TWP ends if 9 TWP months are used in 60 consecutive months

  • The 9 TWP months do not have to occur one after the other.
  • If an SSDI beneficiary has wages that go up and down or even has months with no wages, it is important to know that only months with wages more than the TWP level for the calendar year will count as TWP months.
  • If a TWP earnings month took place more than 60 months ago, it will be dropped and not considered when deciding if the TWP has been completed.

An SSDI beneficiary should get free help

  • The Social Security rules that apply to the TWP are complicated.
  • Most Work Incentives Counselors or Benefits Planners have received extensive training on the Social Security rules, including the rules governing the TWP. Their services should be free.
  • Vocational rehabilitation counselors should have information on how to obtain benefits planning services.