Street sign showing success, career, growth and developmentThinking about your employment goals for the New Year? If 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. In this blog, we take a look at these 3 topics and share the latest updates to them.

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What's New in 2020

Jan 15, 2020

Street sign showing Success, Career, Development and GrowthIf 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. During your TWP, you'll receive full SSDI benefit payments, no matter how much you earn — as long as you report your work activity and continue to meet Social Security's rules for disability. The TWP continues until you accumulate 9 TWP service months (not necessarily consecutive) within a rolling 60-month period.

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 2020?

Social Security has adjusted the TWP amount in 2020, so that any month you earn more than $910 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 more than $910 per month, will count toward your TWP.

For example, if you earn $1,500 in January 2020 and $700 in February 2020, only January will count toward your TWP.

Substantial Gainful Activity

Social Security uses the term "substantial gainful activity" (SGA) 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.

What's new in 2020?

Social Security has adjusted the SGA monthly threshold to $1,260 in 2020. 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 2020 is $2,110.

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 2020 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.

We share 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

If you'd like to learn more about these changes, please visit https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/sga.html.

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.

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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