Social Security’s Trial Work Period works like this: Wages below $640 (Annually Indexed, effective 2007) gross per month do not affect your benefits or count as trial work months. You are allowed one nine-month trial work period within five years. Every month you have reported earned income of $640 or above counts as one trial work month (prior to 2002 the amount was $200; for year 2002 it was $530). The nine months do not have to be consecutive but can fall within a 60 month period.
Once you use up all nine trial work months, Social Security looks at how much you earned for each month to determine if you have Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Social Security considers monthly reported earned income of $900 gross or above as SGA. When Social Security determines that you have SGA you will be notified that the $$ portion of your benefit will be terminated after an additional 3 month “Grace Period”.
If you earn above $640 each of your nine trial months you can keep working and not lose your SSDI $$ benefit.
If you earned below $900 each of your nine trial months and continue to work, the first month thereafter that you earn over $900 you will be notified by Social Security that you have SGA and that you will loose your $$ benefit after three months.
If you earned over $900 each of your 33 months of EPE (following your TWP and three-month Grace Period) and continue to work above $900 per month, you will be notified by Social Security that you have SGA and should not receive a $$ benefit.
If your $$ benefit is suspended during the 33 months EPE period, you can have your benefit reinstated if your income falls below $900 or you stop working within that period of time. Medicare stays in place through the nine trial months, the three-month Grace Period and the 33 month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). A federal law passed in 1999 continues Medicare for another four and a half years after EPE, but recipients will have to pay Part B premiums ($93.50 per month, 2007).
Click here for a blank, printable SSDI Trial Work Period/SGA Work Sheet - PDF (189KB)
Sample Trial Month/SGA Work Sheet
|Month/Year||Reported Earned Income||Trial Month Taken||SGA Takes Affect|
|FEBRUARY 2004||$600||#1 TRIAL MONTH (TM)||NO|
|MARCH 2004||$600||#2 TM||NO|
|APRIL 2004||$665||#3 TM||NO|
|JUNE 2004||$9000||#4 TM||NO|
|JULY 2004||$750||#5 TM||NO|
|AUGUST 2004||$600||#6 TM||NO|
|SEPTEMBER 2004||$675||#7 TM||NO|
|OCTOBER 2004||$695||#8 TM||NO|
|NOVEMBER 2004||$625||#9 TM ENDS||NO|
|MARCH 2005||$950||Reach SGA|