Can I Work While I Receive Benefits?Posted June 4, 2015 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® In our experience, the majority of claimants who receive Social Security Disability benefits would prefer to work, but their physical and/or mental impairments prevent them from doing so. In some cases, a claimant will realize some medical improvement that will allow them to test a return to work. The Social Security Administration has a program in place to encourage disabled claimants receiving Social Security Disability benefits to return to work. This program is called the Trial Work Period (TWP).
The TWP is a program that allows a claimant to perform unlimited work activity for a period of nine months while still receiving their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. This TWP begins when a claimant’s earnings reach over $780.00 a month or the work involves more than 80 hours in self-employment in a month. It is important to remember that the TWP cannot begin until the month you are entitled to benefits, or the month you file for benefits, whichever is the later date. (See Social Security’s Redbook 2015 regarding employment supports: https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/eng/ssdi-only-employment-supports.htm)
The nine month TWP does not necessarily have to be consecutive, but it must occur during a rolling 60 month period. Once a claimant completes the TWP, the Social Security Administration will start evaluating the earnings to determine whether or not they are evidence that the claimant can work at the substantial gainful level.
At Premier, we feel it is important for our clients to take advantage of programs like the TWP. While some claimants may be permanently disabled, there are others who are able to rejoin the workforce someday. This program goes a long way in allowing them to test their ability to work while still receiving benefits.
However, there are other considerations in making the decision to use this program. Claimants must remember that a TWP does not shield them from a Continuing Disability Review. At any time, Social Security can consider medical evidence demonstrating your medical improvement before you complete a TWP. Also, this program only applies to claimants receiving SSDI benefits. Beneficiaries of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program will have their earnings count against their benefit amount.
If you are thinking of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, or you have a claim pending, it is important to give strong consideration to hiring an experienced Representative who can help you navigate the pitfalls even after you are awarded benefits. If you are interested in a free evaluation of your claim, please contact our office.
By: Devon Brady of Premier Disability Services, LLC®