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What is a trial work period?

What is a trial work period?

At Sharon Christie Law, a Baltimore Social Security Disability Law Firm, we are often asked the question, what is a trial work period? In this video, Sharon Christie examines this question and provides you with the answer.

Official Transcript: What is a trial work period?

Hi I’m Sharon Christie your nurse attorney for Social Security disability benefits. If you have been approved for disability benefits you may have heard of something called the trial work period and wonder what that is. Well let me explain it.  

Once you’ve been approved for Social Security benefits Social Security will allow you a test period or a trial period if you want to try to go back to work. Now it’s a little complicated the way that it works but these are the basics for every month that you work at any kind of job at all and you earn eight hundred and eighty dollars or more before taxes that counts as having completed one month of a trial work period.

Once you complete a total of nine months over any five-year span so understand when I say a total of nine months that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve worked nine months in a row. You may work three months this year and three months next year and three months the year after that for a total of nine months. Once you complete that ninth month earning eight hundred and eighty dollars or more before taxes well then, you’ve completed your trial work period and then Social Security is going to review your case to see what are you doing how much are you earning all together and do an evaluation as to whether you would be able to return to work or not now.. 

Sometimes people say to me well you know even if I earn over that eight hundred and eighty dollars a month if I’m still under what Social Security calls the substantial gainful activity limit then I’ll be okay. Substantial gainful activity is the amount of money Social Security says if you’re earning that much or more than you’re not disabled okay and that amount changes every year goes up a little bit. But in general, Social Security is definitely going to be looking at how much are you earning. Are you earning at or above substantial gainful activity but they’re also going to be evaluating your entire case to see you know if you might be able to do more?  

So, the trial work period is something that’s available for you to use if you are going to return to work even on a part-time basis. You do need to notify Social Security and let them know that you’re trying to work and what you’re doing and how much you’re earning and they’re going to follow up on that. If you fail to do that when your case comes up for its regular review Social Security is going to know of course that you have been working and if you have been earning above a substantial gainful activity level and they determine that you’re no longer disabled you may actually owe them money. So, it’s really in your best interest to let Social Security know if you do try to go back to any kind of work at all. You do have the trial work period I would strongly suggest if you’re thinking about returning to work or trying it out while you’re receiving disability benefits that you talk to your lawyer or talk to someone at Social Security to go over the trial work period rules again because it can be confusing and you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you lose your disability benefits because you just didn’t understand how it all worked.   

The Path to Social Security Disability Benefits with Sharon Christie Law

Step 1: Understanding Social Security’s Definition of Disabled

The definition of disabled, according to Social Security, is that you have severe limitations from your health problems that keep you from doing any kind of work for at least 12 consecutive months. This is the first thing we look at when evaluating your case. Your diagnosis is just the starting point. To get disability benefits for you, we must prove that your disabling condition causes severe limitations in your day to day activities.

Step 2: Medical Records in Your Disability Case

You must have medical evidence to prove your disability case. The most important evidence is your medical records that show your diagnosis, your symptoms, and your response to treatment.

Step 3: Don’t go it alone: How Sharon Christie Law Can Help You

At Sharon Christie Law, a Social Security Disability Law Firm, we recognize that no one ever plans to get so sick that they have to stop working. When you need to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits we recognize that you will be anxious about the process and whether you can qualify for disability benefits. Our goal at Sharon Christie Law is to help you win your case and give you the financial stability you need! Why work with us?

We do it all for you: At Sharon Christie Law we handle all aspects of the case for you, from preparing and filing your application through the hearing with a judge. We are with you every step of the way.  When working with us, you focus on feeling better, and we focus on winning your case.

We return your phone calls: We understand that you have many questions regarding Social Security Disability Benefits. We never want you to wonder what is happening with your case. We are here to answer your questions. All phone calls and emails are returned within 24 hours. That is our promise to you.

We believe in client education: The Social Security Disability process is confusing. We think it is important that you understand each step in the process. So, we created a section on our website that is accessible only to clients. This client’s only section tells you everything you need to know about the disability process.