August 30, 2014

Does Trial Work Period Start as of Onset Date or After Expiration of 5 Month Waiting Period?

I just got a fully favorable ruling from an ALJ, but the onset date has been amended.  Without going into a huge amount of confusing detail, I was supposed to get a partially favorable for a closed period, instead I now have a fully favorable with onset date starting Nov. 15, 2007.  To prevent losing my house, I had to start working some.  I am wondering if my trial period starts aftr the 5 month waiting period which would begin in April, or would the trial working period begin with the onset date?
–Jim

Jonathan Ginsberg responds: Jim, I believe that the trial work period starts as of your onset date.  The 5 month waiting period only has to do with payments.  I wrote about trial work periods on a fixed page on this blog – take a look by clicking on the link.

You should also speak with your lawyer about whether to appeal the decision.  If the judge stated on the record that he identified a closed period, and you start working, you may find yourself with a continuing disability review or an action to terminate benefits.

You only have 60 days to appeal a decision and you could lose your right to the closed period lump sum if you do not appeal.  Maybe it makes sense to appeal and maybe not.  I just think you need counsel about this issue and that you need to be proactive.

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Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 23 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.