There are various scenarios in which a person can work, yet still be entitled to receive Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. One of those situations involves the concept of a trial work period (“TWP”). The purpose of a TWP is to allow an individual to test his or her ability to work without losing SSD benefits. The idea is to provide an incentive to encourage people to try to resume working.
A TWP can last for a total of nine months, which need not be consecutive. The money a claimant earns for working those months is not considered to be evidence showing that a claimant's disability has ended, until the claimant has performed more than nine months of TWP activity.
I represent a 41 year old custodian whose SSD benefits were disputed because his annual earnings statement reflected that he received income after his disability onset date. I contended that none of the income after the onset date contradicted the claimant’s disability. As a factual matter, I stated that part of the income was from accrued sick and vacation time, which had nothing to do with work activity. As a legal matter, I argued that the remaining income after the disability onset date was attributable to a TWP.
In a decision received today, the Administrative Law Judge accepted my arguments. The result was that the claimant received an additional five figure sum as part of his retroactive SSD benefits.