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Trial Work Period

If you receive SSDI (Title II) benefits, you are entitled to a Trial Work Period (TWP) which allows you to test your work skills while continuing to receive your full cash benefit. There is no limit to the amount of money you may earn during the TWP and still get your cash benefit.

NOTE: Answer "Yes" to the WorkWORLD question "Are you in your Trial Work Period or Grace Period?" if you are in either your Trial Work Period or Grace Period. See below for further explanation.

The TWP begins the first month in which you perform what the Social Security Administration (SSA) calls "services". SSA considers your work to be services if you earn more than $780 a month for the calendar year 2015 or work more than 80 self-employed hours in a month.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Neither Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs) nor Subsidies are subtracted from earnings in determining a Trial Work Period service month.

The TWP continues until you accumulate 9 months in which you performed "services" within a rolling 60-consecutive-month period. These 9 months do not have to be consecutive, but they must occur within a 60-month period (that is, within the 59 months prior to the 9th TWP month). You are allowed only one TWP within any one period of disability.

Once you have completed your TWP you begin your 36-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). If your earnings exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level, you also begin your 3-month Grace Period.

You should be aware of the fact that after your Grace Period your SSDI cash benefit will stop for any month in which your earnings exceed the SGA level.

TWP Services Amount Thresholds for Previous Years

Beginning with calendar year 2001, the dollar amount is adjusted each calendar year based on the national average wage.


Effective Date


January 2015


January 2014


January 2013


January 2012


January 2011


January 2010


January 2009


January 2008


January 2007


January 2006


January 2005


January 2004


January 2003


January 2002


January 2001


2000 or earlier



See Also:

SSDI Work Incentives

Work Incentives Overview

NOTE: In the 2001 & 2002 versions of its "Red Book," the Social Security Administration (SSA) began using the term "Employment Supports" in place of "Work Incentives." See the SSA Red Book topic for additional information. The latest version of SSA's Red Book on Employment Support is available online at:



COLA data from Social Security Administration at:

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