Many people assume that the individuals who receive Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are not allowed to perform any work at all. These people think that if work is performed by a disabled individual and income is earned, an immediate termination of disability benefits will commence. In truth, SSDI and SSI recipients can earn an income without it affecting their right to disability payments – up to a point.
The Social Security Administration understands that individuals who receive Social Security Disability benefits may, at some point, want to try to return to the workplace. They also understand that these individuals will be less likely to do so if they risk losing their Social Security Disability benefits by engaging in work activity. This is why a trial work period is offered to individuals who receive SSD benefits.
Individuals who receive Social Security Disability payments are entitled to a nine-month trial work period without the risk of losing their disability benefits. These individuals can earn an unlimited amount of income for a total period of nine months without their disability status being affected. The trial work period begins with the first month the individual begins earning more than $720 per month or works more than 80 hours in a single month of self employment.
While a disability recipient is allowed nine months of gainful work activity before it affects their disability benefits, it is important to understand that those nine months do not have to be consecutive. A disability recipient cannot work eight months, then take a month off only to resume work a few months later. The recipient is allowed a total of nine months of work activity in a 60 month period. If a Social Security Disability recipient works a total of nine months during the 60 month period, their disability benefits will be affected, although a complete loss of benefits may not be experienced. The extent to which your disability benefits are affected will depend on how much income is earned as a result of your work activity.