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Social Security Disability and the Trial Work Period

     Recipients of Social Security Disability benefits often wonder about returning to work while still receiving benefits. The trial work period (TWP) "is a period during which you may test your ability to work and still be considered disabled." A trial work period can last up to nine months, but the months do not have to be consecutive. In 2012, monthly work earning $720.00 or more per month or self-employment of 40 hours or more are considered "services" countable as trial work against the nine-month total. Work performed at a lower level should not be counted as TWP months. 

"Services" are any activity (whether legal or illegal), which is done in employment or self-employment for pay or profit, or is the kind normally done for pay or profit. Work done without remuneration is not generally considered services if it is done merely as therapy or training or if it is work usually done in a daily routine around the house or in self-care. Also, work done as a volunteer in the federal programs describes in section 404.1574(d) in determining whether claimant has performed services in the trial work period.

     In order for a claimant to have a TWP, she must have established a period of disability, must be eligible to receive benefits (cannot begin during the five-month waiting period), and the must continue to be medically disabled.  Once the TWP has ended, if the claimant continues to earn wages at SGA, then disability benefits will be cut off. If the individual continues to be medically disabled, she is eligible for an extended period of eligibility if the earnings fall below SGA.

     A person can seek or claim a TWP prior to a finding of disability though it is never a guaranteed finding. The claimant will have to prove that when he returned to work his impairment was expected to last 12 consecutive months.  

     There is only one TWP during a period of entitlement to cash benefits and the TWP only applies to Title II benefits.

If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.

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