Trial Return-to-Work Period (TWP)

Massachusetts Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Attorneys

The Massachusetts disability lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates have helped numerous workers return to employment after recovering from a disability. Based in Boston, we are dedicated to maximizing compensation and work incentives for clients in Essex, Plymouth, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and other counties throughout the Commonwealth. We obtain substantial awards for disabled claimants throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

What is a Trial Work Period?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages disabled beneficiaries to return to work by continuing the payment of benefits during a trial work period (TWP). As they recover from medical impairments, beneficiaries can “test” their ability to work—earning wages—while still collecting disability benefits. During a TWP, the employee is still considered “disabled” and therefore unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Work performed during this period does not count toward termination of disability until earnings exceed a certain amount. The monthly rate triggering a trial work period changes each year. In 2014, any month in which the worker earns more than $770 counts toward the “performance of services” starting the TWP.

Continuing SSDI Eligibility

SSDI beneficiaries continue to receive payments during the TWP as long as they report any changes in work activity—including duties, hours, pay, and disability-related expenses—to the Social Security Administration. SSA examiners periodically review cases for any medical improvement or ability to do SGA. Eligibility for benefits terminates with the claimed disability, not the TWP. Characteristics of the TWP include:

  • 9 months during which beneficiaries can work and receive benefits
  • Begins only after later of filing date or first month of SSDI eligibility
  • Start date measured by first month of “services” earning over SGA rate
  • Start date also triggered by over 80 work hours per month if self-employed
  • After TWP, eligibility period “extended” if unable to work at SGA level
  • No benefits or TWP working at SGA level within 12 months of disability
  • 9 months’ TWP, within a rolling 60-month period, need not be consecutive
  • Medical recovery before end of 9 month period may end TWP and benefits

Any “unsuccessful work attempts” are not considered “performance of services” and therefore do not count toward the TWP. If, at any time, the SSA finds that the person is not disabled based on the SGA level or medical recovery, benefits will cease. Special rules apply if earnings fall below SGA rates during an extended eligibility period or if a “medically improved” claimant is participating in a vocational rehabilitation program.

TWP and Extensions

If you wish to return to work during a TWP or want to extend your period of eligibility, the Massachusetts Social Security disability attorneys of Kantrovitz & Associates can help. For over 25 years, we have succeeded in recovering prematurely-suspended or terminated disability benefits during the TWP. We have also helped claimants resolve disputes over alleged SGA levels and the end of a TWP. At Kantrovitz & Associates, we want to make sure you can return to work with ease. We are dedicated to protecting your rights, and will guide you through the return-to-work process from beginning to end. Let us help you recover the benefits you deserve. Call (800) 367-0871 today for a free consultation or contact us online.