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Extended Period of Eligibility

All SSDI beneficiaries get a 9-month Trial Work Period (TWP)

  • The TWP allows the beneficiary to work, at any level of earnings, for 9 months during which their SSDI payment continues.
  • The TWP is completed only when the beneficiary achieves TWP-level earnings ($1,110 gross per month in 2024) in 9 separate months during a period of 60 consecutive months.

The 36-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) begins as the TWP ends

  • This SSDI work incentive begins immediately after the ninth TWP month and runs for 36 consecutive months whether the beneficiary is working or not.
  • To qualify for the TWP and the EPE, the beneficiary must continue to be disabled under SSDI criteria.

After the TWP, a 3-month Grace Period begins after the first month of earning at the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level

  • This first month of countable earnings that are more than the SGA level for the year ($1,550 or $2,590 for the blind in 2024) triggers a Cessation Month.
  • SSDI continues during a 3-month Grace Period (the Cessation Month and next 2 months).

After the Grace Period, SSDI eligibility is determined month-by-month during the EPE

  • If countable earnings are at or below the current year’s SGA level, the beneficiary is eligible for an SSDI payment that month.
  • If countable earnings are more than the SGA level, the beneficiary’s SSDI is “suspended” for that month.
  • This month-by-month determination continues for the remainder of the 36-month EPE.

After the EPE, SGA-level earning leads to SSDI termination

  • After EPE month 36, if a beneficiary has already experienced a Cessation Month and Grace Period, the first time they have SGA-level countable earnings, their SSDI benefits are terminated.
  • If the beneficiary completes the EPE without experiencing a Cessation Month, a month of SGA-level earnings will trigger a Cessation Month and the 3-month Grace Period during which SSDI payments will continue. After the Grace Period, SSDI payments stop.

Two ways to restore SSDI benefits after termination due to SGA

  • If the person is no longer earning at the SGA level and meets the necessary criteria, they can restore their SSDI benefit using the Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) provisions. (See Tool 5.)
  • If the person is no longer earning at the SGA level, they may apply for SSDI again with a new application.