A Trial work period is a 9 month period of time in which, if you are qualified for Social Security Disability the program under Social Security Disability regulations, you may try to work without losing any of your Social Security Disability benefits. You may work for up to nine months in a five year rolling period. The months do not need to be consecutive, as long as they fall within a five year period of one another.
To be eligible for a trial work period, you must complete an initial reinstatement period, and you must not have already had a trial work period. Social Security Disability beneficiaries are only allowed one trial work period, and only if they fall under Social Security Disability Title II.
If you are eligible for a trial work period, you may work without losing your Social Security Disability Benefits. This means that you will benefit both from your Social Security Disability payments and from the wages you earn while you are on the job.
The program is set up by the SSA as a means of giving Social Security Disability beneficiaries an incentive to work and to try to eventually get off of Social Security Disability. The program can also be used for self employment, allowing you to attempt to start a profitable business while still collecting Social Security Disability benefits.
You must report all of your work activity and income during your trial work period. Any month in which you did not have earnings of $720 (as of 2011) or more does not count against your months of services. Your trial work period can consist of up to nine months in which you earn $720 or more and your Social Security Disability Benefits cannot be reduced or eliminated based on work you have performed or income you have earned during this period.