Trial Work Period (TWP)
The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for at least 9 months. During your TWP, you will receive full SSDI benefits regardless of how high your earnings might be as long as your work activity has been reported and you have a disabling impairment.
Your TWP starts the first month you are entitled to SSDI benefits or the month in which you file for benefits, whichever is later. The TWP continues until you accumulate 9 months (not necessarily consecutive) in which you perform what SSA calls “services” within a rolling 60-month period. SSA uses this “services” rule only to count TWP months.
In 2017, SSA considers your work to be “services” if your gross earnings are more than $840 a month, or if you work more than 80 hours in self-employment in a month. After you complete your TWP, you begin your Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), unless SSA conducts a continuing disability review and finds your impairment has medically improved.
When your TWP is complete, you become eligible for other employment supports and SSA considers whether any of them apply to your situation. You are not eligible for disability benefits or a TWP if you work at the SGA level within 12 months of the start of your impairment(s) and before SSA approves your claim for disability benefits. This is because your impairment does not meet the SSA definition of disability.
SSA will not conduct a continuing disability review if you are participating in the Ticket to Work program and you are using your ticket (see the section on Ticket to Work). The dollar amount of TWP “services” can be adjusted each year based on the national average wage.