A gentleman named Ken asks the following question about trial work for disability claimant:
I am a self taught guitar player, not professional by any means, I could not do this for a living. But I do get paid periodically to play with a partner at bars and restaurants and such. This is fleeting at best, and most of the time there is nothing going on. Right now I’m making around $500 to $600 a month, but next month I could be making
nothing, and that usually will last for months.What is my situation with ssd (I am collecting ssd for stomach ailments and nerve problems) Do they average out what you might make in just 6 months, over the course of a full year?
Jonathan Ginsberg responds: Ken, your question has to do with two provisions of Social Security law – the "trial work period" and the "extended period of disability." Here’s how they work:
After you are found to be disabled, Social Security wants you to try to work. During any 60 month (5 year) period after your disability starts, you can and should try to work. If you earn less than $640 in a particular month, there is no problem. If you earn more than $640 in any calendar month, that month counts as a "trial work period month." You can have up to nine (9) trial work period months in any 60 month period.
Once you show nine trial work period months, your classification changes to something called the "extended period of disability." During this period, you will receive your check for any month in which your earnings fall below $900 ($1,500 if your disability is based on blindness). So, for example, if you earned $1,200 in June and $50 in July, they would count June as a month where you earned "SGA" (substantial gainful activity) but July would not count.
At the end of the 36 months your extended period of disability stops as do your disability payments.
If, however, during a five year (60 month) period from the start of your extended period of disability, your condition worsens and you cannot work, SSA will restart your benefits immediately without requiring you to file a new application. However, if SSA later determines that you are not disabled, you will be expected to pay back the restarted benefits
My advice, therefore, is to keep very good records of your earnings. I have been involved in cases where SSA miscalculated or showed too much earnings for a particular month in the extended period of disability.
Note also that the dollar figures for trial work periods and extended periods of disability may change from year to year. To the best of my knowledge, the above figures are accurate for 2007.
You can read more about trial work periods or extended periods of disability in the official SSA publication 05-10095.
[tags] extended period of disability, trial work period, SGA work [/tags]