Not everyone who qualifies for SSDI benefits will remain permanently handicapped. They might start to feel a little better, which would leave them unsure of what the future might bring. The idea of returning to work becomes appealing, but worries about whether their illness might worsen prompt a dread of losing the necessary benefits. What if they are ultimately unable to work?
Thankfully, SSA disability laws give you the freedom to work. An attorney from companies that offer disability insurance might help if you believe you might be capable of returning to work and would like to secure your benefits.
The Time of the Trial Work.
Returning to work does not automatically mean giving up your benefits. A trial work period, or TWP, under the SSA allows those who can work again to do so without forfeiting their SSDI benefits. But, as you may have suspected, there are some restrictions:
- You are eligible for a nine-month TWP;
- These months do not have to be consecutive and may lead out over a five-year period;
- any month in which your income is below the statutory threshold ($970 for 2022) will not affect your TWP.
As a result, even if your income exceeds the monthly SGA cap, you can still get your full benefits for up to 9 months of employment.
Unfortunately, if you are earning different amounts during the trial work period, it may be confusing. Self-employed individuals may find it particularly challenging. An attorney who specializes in handling disability claims can offer you the advice you need if you have concerns regarding your return to work.
What Takes Place at Your TWP’s End.
Following the completion of your TWP’s nine months, you enter what is known as an “extended period of eligibility,” or EPE. The SSA will decide whether you obtain your benefits monthly during this time period, which can last up to 36 months, based on whether or not you earned greater than the SGA limit. You will not be eligible for benefits if your earnings exceed the SGA cap. Benefits will be paid even if your earnings fall below the SGA ceiling.
Your benefits will end the first month you receive more than the SGA cap at the end of the 36-month period. This implies that you will not be eligible for benefits the following month, even if your income is below the SGA limit.