This article is intended to provide information regarding a trial work period in general, and how the Social Security Administration determines what actions trigger the beginning of the trial work period.

Social Security recognizes the concept of a trial work period, during which a person eligible for Social Security disability benefits is permitted to attempt to engage in work and still collect disability benefits. A trial work period begins when the person engages in services in any given month. In this context, services are defined as greater than $780 per month (in 2015). In 2014, the services threshold was $770 per month. In 2013, the amount was $750 per month. In 2010-2012, the services threshold was $720 per month.  For self-employed persons, services can mean any month in which the person works 80 or more hours.

Social Security will not consider the services performed during the trial work period as showing that the person’s disability has ended until such time as the individual engages in services for at least nine months in a 60-month period. The months do not have to be consecutive, but any month in which the individual engages in services as defined above. When an individual engages is services  for nine months in the 60-month period, the individual will go into what is called an Extended Period of Eligibility where an individual’s earnings and medical conditions are assessed by the Social Security Administration.

If an individual eligible for Social Security disability benefits does perform work for money, or puts in hours in self-employment, it is important to keep meticulous records of wages earned and hours worked.  This is not only because an individual needs to the ability to definitively state whether his/her earnings or hours are considered services, but to have that information in the event there is ever a contention by the Social Security Administration that the individual has engaged in services, when in fact they had not.

If you have questions regarding a trial work period and how it applies to your specific situation, please contact our office. The Social Security Administration has a very informative FAQ section on a trial work period, which can be viewed here and here.

Our firm has been practicing Social Security Disability Law since 1994. If your claim for Social Security Disability benefits has been denied, it is crucial you appeal the Social Security disability denial within 60 days. As a Tampa Social Security Law Firm, we will do everything in our power to keep you from losing out on disability benefits you deserve. Our firm assists clients with applications, request for reconsiderations, request for hearings, and administrative hearings. If you have questions for a Social Security Disability attorney in Tampa, call our office for a free consultation.