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Trial Work Period


A "Trial Work Period" is the name Social Security gives to the period of time when a person receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits attempts to return to work. A Trial Work Period lasts for nine months.

The trial work period is only used when a person tests the ability to work despite a health impairment. It does not apply after health impairments stop.

During the Trial Work Period:

  • You may earn as much as you want and still receive full SSDI benefits.
  • If you have been receiving Medicare, you can continue receiving your coverage even though you may also become covered under an employer's health insurance plan.
  • Medicaid: If you are receiving Medicaid, Medicaid is a benefit that accompanies Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and follows the SSI work rules. See SSI - Return to Work.

Returning to work does not postpone any previously scheduled Continuing Disability Review. If you are scheduled for such a review you will still have to go through with it. See If An Investigator Comes Calling for tips about Continuing Disability Reviews.

An Extended Trial Work Period continues some benefits after the Trial Work Period ends. See Extended Period of Eligibility.

Termination: The trial work period stops at the point that Social Security decides that your disability has improved to the point you are no longer "disabled" for SSDI purposes. (See Continuing Disability Review.)

Just because a Trial Work Period ends, doesn't mean that your benefits end. To learn more, see Extended Period of Eligibility.

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