Trial Work Period (TWP)

All persons who get SSDI benefits can try out working for any 9 months within a 5-year window without losing their benefits. This is called the Trial Work Period (TWP). During the 9 months of your TWP, you can work and earn any level of income while still keeping your full SSDI benefits. This is a great way for you to get a job without having to worry about losing your SSDI benefits.

Trial Work Month

Each month your gross earnings (your earnings before taxes) are greater than $880 (in 2019) is called a Trial Work month. The 5-year period in which you are allowed 9 Trial Work months without losing your SSDI benefits is called the 5-year window. Your 9 Trial Work months may occur one right after the other or at irregular intervals within the 5-year window.

If you earn more than $880 in a month, you’ve used up one Trial Work month. If you earn less than $880, you haven’t. Either way, you continue to get full SSDI benefits until you have used up all 9 Trial Work months.

Example

Carolyn is a SSDI beneficiary who works part-time in a flower shop. Her hours vary from month to month. Her gross monthly earnings for the first 4 months of 2019 were:

Carolyn's Earnings

January:

$1,150

February:

$600

March:

$970

April:

$400

Because she earned more than $880 in January and March, both months were considered Trial Work months. February and April were not considered Trial Work months because her earnings were less than $880.

She continued to get full SSDI benefits in all 4 months because she was in her Trial Work Period and had not used up all 9 Trial Work months.

Note: Before you start working, you should check with Social Security or a Benefits Planner to see if you've already used up any Trial Work months. You may have used up some or all of your Trial Work months in the past and not realize it.

Count Your SSDI Trial Work Months: