Street signsSocial Security adjusted the amounts for Trial Work Period and Substantial Gainful Activity in 2019. Learn more about how these changes may affect you as you pursue financial independence through work.

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What's New in 2019

Feb 12, 2019

Street signsIf you're working with a Social Security Ticket to Work service provider as you pursue work, you may have heard of Trial Work Period, Trial Work Period amounts, and Substantial Gainful Activity. Today, we take a look at these 3 topics and share the latest updates to them.

Trial Work Period

If you receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), the Trial Work Period (TWP) is a Social Security Work Incentive that allows you to test your ability to work for at least 9 months in a rolling 5 year period. The 9 months do not need to be consecutive, but they may be. During your TWP, you'll receive full SSDI benefits regardless of how much you earn, as long as you report your work activity and continue to meet Social Security's rules for disability. Social Security compares your gross earnings, which is the amount of earnings you have in a month before subtracting taxes, to the TWP amount to decide if a month counts as a TWP month. Once you finish your TWP, other Work Incentives, like Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE), may help you as you pursue financial independence through work.

What's new in 2019?

Social Security has adjusted the TWP amount in 2019, so that any month you earn $880 or more will count toward your TWP.  If you are self-employed, any month that you work 80 or more hours in your business, or have net earnings from self-employment (NESE) of $880 or more per month, will count toward your TWP.

For example, if you earned $1,500 in January 2019 and $700 in February 2019, only January will count toward your TWP.

Substantial Gainful Activity

Social Security uses the term "substantial gainful activity" to describe a level of work activity and earnings. If you receive SSDI, Social Security uses SGA to decide if your eligibility for benefits continues after you return to work and complete your TWP. Social Security generally compares your monthly earnings to set amounts, known as earnings thresholds, to evaluate if your work activity is SGA. The monthly earnings amount considered as SGA may depend on the nature of your disability.

What's new in 2019?

Social Security has adjusted the SGA monthly amount to $1,220 in 2019. The Social Security Act specifies a higher SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals, so for people who are blind and receive SSDI, the SGA monthly amount in 2019 is $2,040.

Stay up to date!

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI) and want to work. Through this free and voluntary program, eligible participants can work with service providers to receive the supports and services they need to find and maintain employment as they move toward financial independence through work.

As you think about what these 2019 updates mean for you, you may have questions. Working with a Ticket program service provider, like an Employment Network or State Vocational Rehabilitation agency, that has a Benefits Counselor on staff may help you find the answers and information you're looking for.

The Ticket program shares information about Work Incentives and employment resources for people with disabilities on a regular basis. Subscribe to our emails and follow us on social media to stay up to date on the program and discover resources designed to help you on the path to work.

Learn More

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

Learn More

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967  (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

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