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How Long Does The Trial Work Period Last?


A trial work period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During your trial work period, you will receive your full Social Security benefits regardless of how much you are earning as long as you report your work activity and you continue to have a disabling impairment. The amount of money you can earn during a month varies from year to year (for the current amount, click here.) If you are self-employed, Social Security also looks at whether you spend more than 80 hours in your own business. The trial work period continues until you have worked nine months within a sixty month period. 

  • The nine months do not have to be consecutive months.
  • After 60 months, if you haven't used all nine Trial Work months, you are permitted additional months to work and receive benefits.  

NOTE: Social Security counts your earnings in the month they are earned not when you get your paycheck. Nevertheless, Social Security is too busy to track this carefully and tends to simply divide the quarterly payroll reported to them by three.  In order to avoid the risk of a miscalculation, watch and track exactly when you earned the money and keep the pay stubs showing the period earned.

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