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Will I Still Receive Disability Benefits After My Trial Work Period Ends?

Once an applicant is approved to receive Social Security disability benefits, they might try to go back to work. A trial work period is given by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to those who are taking home benefit checks to encourage them to go back into the job market.

A trial work period spans for a complete 9 months. During this window, designated applicants will still receive a monthly check by the SSA, but once the trial work period has ended your benefits may be suspended.

Keep in mind, a trial work period spans for 9 months, yet only the months where you bring home more than $850 a month contributes toward your trial work period. This number is evaluated and adjusted each year by the SSA. So it is important that you verify your salary before beginning any form of work.

Also, the months that contribute to your trial work period are not required to be consecutive. Which means any months out of the 60-month calendar, which is used by the SSA to determine trial work periods, may contribute towards your trial work period of 9 months.

Once Your Trial Work Period Is Over

Once your trial work period has been fulfilled by nine eligible months, the SSA will evaluate your earnings record to make sure you that you maintained substantial gainful activity (SGA) during the period. This practically means that the SSA will be able to know if the work you completed earned you enough income to sustain yourself.

The SSA defines substantial gainful activity as income at or above a particular threshold. That amount is reviewed and possibly adjusted each year to compensate for inflation and changes in the cost of living. The 2018 SGA threshold is $1,180 each month for a non-blind, single recipient of Social Security disability benefits.

If your average earnings during your trial work period meet or exceed the set SGA limit, then the SSA will suspend your Social Security disability benefits. However, if you managed to earn below the set SGA amount, then you will continue to receive monthly benefits from the SSA.

What Is An Extended Period of Eligibility?

If you continue to receive monthly disability benefits and are able to perform expected work duties, then you will qualify for an extended period of eligibility or EPE. This window, which consists of 36 months after you’ve ended your trial work period, will allow you to maintain eligibility for disability benefits. However, your monthly earned income during your EPE will determine if you will continue to be paid monthly disability benefit checks by the SSA.

Specifically, during the 36-month span after finishing your trial work period, any month where your monthly income met or exceeded the SGA limit will result in the SSA not providing you a disability benefit check. However, if you’re able to earn an income that is below the limit, then you will continue to receive the expected disability benefit amount for that month.

After your 36-month EPE, you will continue to receive disability benefits as long as you do not meet or exceed the SGA threshold. This means that if you earned more than the SGA threshold during month 42, then the SSA will suspend your disability benefits, even if you do not exceed the SGA threshold during any following months.

If you become disabled after the end of your EPE, you may apply for expedited reinstatement of benefits, under the condition that it has been less than 5 years since you last received a disability benefit check. If it’s been longer than 5 years since you were last receiving SSD benefits, then you will need to complete and file a brand new application for Social Security disability benefits if you become disabled again.

What You Need To Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits

How Does The Social Security Administration Define A Disability?

If you wish to qualify to earn Social Security disability benefits, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your condition must be considered severe. Not every condition is automatically viewed as severe. While severity is somewhat subjective, the Social Security Administration (SSA) typically distinguishes severe from non-severe by determining if the condition substantially impairs someone’s ability to complete normal daily tasks. This is measured in adults by evaluating their ability to complete work requirements. Whereas in children, the SSA evaluates their ability to complete daily tasks that otherwise healthy same age children should be able to perform.
  • Your condition has to last at least one year or result in death. 12 months is the minimum duration that a condition must last to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSA). If your condition is considered severe and disabling but won’t last at least 12 months, you will not be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. SSD benefits are meant to provide financial assistance to those with permanent disabling conditions, so this requirement is stringent.
  • Your condition has to result in sufficient physical or mental limitation or even both so that the individual cannot complete work from a previous occupation (any past work completed within the last 15 years). It must also be severe to the point where the individual is unable to perform normal responsibilities for a different occupation.

If you meet each of these requirements, it’s very likely that you will be able to receive Social Security disability benefits successfully. Most applicants are denied during the initial application and reconsideration stage, primarily due to the consensus that the applicant can work a previous job or another occupation suited to their condition. If the SSA determines that you are in fact able to complete work outside of your current occupation, then it is unlikely that they will further consider your case.

However, if you make it to the court hearing stage, you may be able to defend your case to the court rather than the solely the SSA. Even if you do not have a lawyer, you may still choose to present your another form to the court and challenge the SSA’s decision on your ability to complete another form of work.

Objecting to the SSA’s ruling will require a well documented work history for the past 15 years as well as strong knowledge regarding commonly discussed concepts like substantial gainful activity (SGA), unsuccessful work attempts, work skills transferability, and several medical-vocation guidelines which are utilized to determine if you are disabled or not depending on several factors. Naturally, it’s highly recommended you have a professional Social Security disability lawyer to represent you in court and help you strengthen your claim to increase your chances of winning the favor of the court.

What Do I Need to Qualify For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

The criteria that are necessary to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are more strict than the requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Eligibility for SSDI benefits requires that you meet each of the following criteria:

  • Work an occupation that the Social Security Administration covers
  • Work an eligible occupation for at least 5 of the past 10 years
  • Possess a medical condition that is severe enough to prevent you from working and satisfies the SSA’s definition of disability.

Most SSDI applicants are denied because they have not fulfilled the requirement where you must work five of the past ten years. There is still hope; if you don’t happen to fulfill each of the SSA’s requirements to earn SSDI benefits, you could still qualify for SSI benefits. Also note, the five of the past ten years requirement is on a case to case basis, as you may not have to work that long to qualify if you are a younger individual.

If you are a younger adult who became disabled at 19, naturally you will not be able to collect the same amount of work credits as a 65-year-old adult. You may only need 1-2 years of work credits to qualify for SSDI, depending on your age and the actual amount of work credits earned.

Another component of SSDI is that you need to work an occupation that pays into Social Security through certain taxes. SSDI is funded from select taxes, so if you haven’t paid into Social Security, you will not be able to earn SSDI benefits.

What Do I Need To Qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a Social Security disability program provided to those with a disabling condition and don’t earn enough money to be considered as substantial gainful activity. Some circumstances allow 65-year-old applicants to qualify for SSI even if they are not entirely disabled according to the SSA’s total disability guidelines.

For those younger than 65 years, it is required that you provide substantial evidence that you are entirely disabled and do not possess any other means of revenue to support yourself if you wish to qualify for SSI benefits. You will need to be able to provide evidence that shows not only that your disability prevents you from completing your current work, but ANY potential occupations.

SSI has a financial requirement that you cannot possess more than $2,000 worth of total countable assets. However, if you are married, you may jointly possess up to $3,000 in countable assets. Countable assets are anything of value that you posses excluding your home and one vehicle. Your assets could include money in savings and checking accounts, IRAs, and other retirement accounts, cash value in life insurance plans, vehicles (other than the primary vehicle), and practically anything else with a dollar value.

If you meet the SSA’s definition of disabled in addition to providing proof that you’re in financial need (possessing no more than $2,000 in assets), you may be eligible for SSI benefits.

If you wish to submit an application for Supplemental Security Income, you can speed up the application process by completing a considerable chunk of your application online. You may also contact the Social Security Administration at their toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment to meet with a Social Security representative.

If you are a disabled adult looking to apply for both SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance, you may apply online for both benefits simultaneously if you meet the following conditions:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 65;
  • Have never been married;
  • Aren’t blind;
  • Are a U.S. citizen residing in one of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands; and
  • Haven’t applied for or received SSI benefits in the past.

If you’re unable to apply for SSI online, you can instead contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment, either in person or via telephone, with a Social Security representative.  Parents or guardians typically can apply for blind or disabled children under age 18. In certain situations, some third parties can apply for children.

It’s recommended you have the necessary documents when you go to submit an application. Regardless if you don’t have everything at hand, it’s best to apply anyway. The SSA can help acquire anything you need. Necessary documents include:

  • Your Social Security card or a record of your Social Security number;
  • Your birth certificate or other proof of your age;
  • Information about the home where you reside, such as your mortgage or your lease and landlord’s name;
  • Payroll slips, bank books, insurance policies, burial fund records, and other information about your income and the things you own;
  • The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of doctors, hospitals, and clinics that you have been to, if you are applying for SSI because you are disabled or blind;
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen status; and
  • Your checkbook or other papers that show your bank, credit union, or savings and loan account number

If your application is approved for SSI, you have to get your benefits electronically. The SSA provides benefits through direct deposit, the Direct Express® card program, or an Electronic Transfer Account.

A note for people who are blind or disabled

If you are blind or disabled, and currently working, there are certain rules in place to assist you. It is possible to receive SSI benefits while you’re employed. As your earnings increase, your SSI payments will be reduced or stopped proportionately, but you may able to maintain your Medicaid coverage. You could also save some money on the side for a work goal or to attend school. In this situation, the money you put aside will not reduce your SSI benefits. Blind or disabled people who submit an application for SSI could get free special services to assist them while working. These services could be counseling, job training, or help finding a job.

The average Social Security retirement check is $1,371 every month, according to the August 2017 data released by the Social Security Administration. It’s very common to seek professional counsel to plan out your retirement, but if you find yourself relying on just your Social Security benefit, there are several options as to where to retire just below the U.S. border. Believe it or not, you can live comfortably in retirement on Social Security benefit alone in these three beautiful Latin American destinations.


Since it’s so close to us, let’s start with the home of several stunning beaches and sunny weather. Mexico is an excellent choice for many people retiring because it’s close to home, making trips back to the United States for the holidays or seeing family a breeze financially. And there’s so much more to Mexico than just our close neighbor. To become a resident in Mexico, you must provide evidence that you’re received a consistent monthly income, including Social Security benefit, of $1,300 for the past 6 months, you’ll need more for a permanent residency.

Once your residency is accepted, you can enroll in the Instituto Nacional para las Personas Adultas Mayores (INAPAM) program or the National Institute for the Older Adults. Taking this tiny plastic card with you gives you discounts on a variety of goods and services such as healthcare, leisure activities, public transport, restaurants, and plane tickets. Property taxes and water bills in some areas can also be subject to discounts.

Chapala, a lakeside town, has a huge expat community, wonderful weather, and a low cost of living. A one bedroom apartment in the citer center is only $148 a month, while utilities, Internet, and cell service total a mere $75. Groceries also are affordable, with a standard monthly grocery bill costing just $135. This includes bread, cheese, meat, produce, and a little room for treats. Overall, an average monthly budget in this beautiful and sunny lakeside town including dates, a gym membership, and public transportation calculates to be $675 a month.

Click here to learn about more beautiful retirement destinations.

When we discuss Social Security claims, you can choose to retire at many different ages. 62 years of age is the earliest time for a worker to retire and receive benefits. Age 70, however, is the oldest you can be to wait on collecting Social Security benefits. Now ages 66 to 67 are in the equations as well considering that’s full retirement age for those born in 1943 or later, respectively.

Actually, of all the ages that qualify you for Social Security benefit, age 69 isn’t exactly the most common choice, but it’s a choice regardless.

Why You Should Choose to Retire at 69

An argument for claiming Social Security at age 69 is that extending your retirement will increase you benefit stipend. For every year you wait to claim Social Security past full retirement age, you’ll receive an 8% raise that will remain for the rest of your life. What that means is if your full retirement age is 67 and you wait two years to claim benefits until 69, you’ll raise your benefits by 16%. So if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t immediately need the money, this is a risk-free and straightforward option to raise the amount of stipend which you deserve.

Another reason to claim Social Security at age 69 is to help compensate for the lack of retirement saving. In 2017, the average amount that senior workers, aged 56 to 61, saved was a mere $17,000 approximately, which is plainly not enough to live on. If you don’t have much in your savings and are relying on Social Security to pay the bills when you’re older, then you need to make a huge effort to raise your benefit as much as possible before it’s too late.

Also, due to people still being in the workforce until they claim Social Security, if you choose to claim at age 69 and earn income in your career for a few more years, you’ll simultaneously save more money, but also increase your Social Security benefit. See, Social Security benefit is determined on your highest 35 years of earnings, so if you replace a few low-income years or zero income years with some higher income years, then your Social Security benefit will rise in response. If you love your job, or can at least tolerate it, and your health is in good shape, then it may pay off, in the long run, to wait and claim Social Security later than sooner.

Click here to learn the opposing argument of why not to wait to apply at age 69.

Look out moms, motherhood’s tolls can push through to retirement.

Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research revealed in a new paper that mothers with one child receive on average 16% less Social Security benefit at age 62 than non-mothers. Keep note; every additional child reduces benefits by 2 percent or more.

These gaps are slightly due to parents and non-parents being opposite groups when it comes to working and retirement options, says co-author Mathew Rutledge, a research economist from the center. Mothers typically have a lower lifetime earnings sum due to unpaid time out of the workforce to nurture their children, and that comes at a financial penalty. Keeping everything else the same, the center discovered moms with one kid have a lifetime earnings sum that’s 28% less, with 3 percent less for each additional kid.


 Learning about the possible Social Security gap might allow mothers to close it, even if only slightly.
Make an effort to continually be in the workforce, even if that means only part-time or as a consult, when you need to raise a child, explains financial planner Nora Yousif, vice president of RBC Wealth Management in South Easton, Massachusetts. Your Social Security benefit at full retirement age (FRA) is determined by your highest 35 years of earnings, and naturally, it’s better to have a low-income year instead of a no income year in that formula.
“The most important thing is to make sure they are employed, and it’s not an under-the-table job,” Yousif notes.
Another option is retiring later or “phasing into retirement” to compensate for an absent or low-income years adds financial planner Victoria Fillet, a co-founder of Blueprint Financial Planning in Hoboken, New Jersey.
A 2016 article from the center revealed that 46% of woman, who work until 62 years of age rather than 62, replaced a no income year in the Social Security benefit calculation. Every dollar you earn in late-career earnings could raise your benefit at full retirement age by 15 to 90 cents, the center determined.
However, working for longer is a tough method to rely on, added Rutledge. Health complications or an event that requires you to provide care for a loved one could make you clock out earlier than expected, and elderly workers could be discriminated.
“There is some evidence that women are more likely to face discrimination than men,” Rutledge discloses.
You can read the full article here to learn more.

Social Security’s purpose is to aid workers during their elderly years, but it’s not enough alone. If you’re currently relying on Social Security to be your only source of income when you’re older, then you are going to be facing a terrible financial situation.

In 2017, the average monthly Social Security stipend is $1,368 monthly, although some individuals get a higher stipend if they paid more during their working years, a lot of people receive far less.

The average monthly stipend from your Social Security would put most people at federal 2017 poverty level, $12,060 annually if used as the primary source of income. Even if you managed to receive the maximum benefit, which is extremely hard to get, that would only net $42,456 a month, which still is far below the cost of comfortable living, especially in the major cities.

People need a lot more than poverty-level income, especially seniors. Here are four reasons why you cannot live on Social Security alone and why you need to make sure you save enough for retirement.

1. Any accident that leads to unplanned expenses could be devastating.

When you crunch the numbers, you learn that the average American senior spends about $3,700 a month or $44,600 a year due to expenses such as healthcare, groceries, and housing. If you wish to live a middle-class lifestyle your Social Security benefit will be substantially lower, even if you manage to get the maximum benefit.

If your income from Social Security is at the average, then your budget will get even tighter. You’ll be forced into a low cost of living site. If you don’t, you can expect to spend your entire month of Social Security just to cover rent “The average monthly rent for a single-bedroom apartment in the top 50 major U.S. cities is roughly $1,234,” according to madison.com.

Due to Social Security benefit being too low or just enough cover essential life expenses, any attempt to save money for things such as an emergency will make you realize that it’s not possible or that it’s extremely difficult. Just about half of all seniors right now have no money saved, and unfortunately you’ll join this group if you are or plan to live on Social Security alone. Sadly, emergencies do arise, and it’s important to be prepared rather than not. If your car requires immediate repair, your fridge stops working, or you accidently hurt yourself you could find yourself in debt, difficulty paying your bills, and no savings to rely on when things get dark.


Check out the full article here for more reasons.

Calculating Social Security Benefit

The majority of Americans are qualified to join Social Security if they’ve completed 10 years of work. Once you qualify, how much money you’ll receive from Social Security benefits is determined by a complex formula which converts your past wages into current dollars and then adjusts that number lower at specific income levels called “bend points.”

Social Security determines your benefit on your highest 35 years od adjusted income divided by 420, the number of months that create 35 years. This provides your average indexed monthly earnings or AIME.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the bend point multiplies to determine your maximum monthly Social Security benefit at your full retirement age. Full retirement age is based upon the individual’s birth year, so if you were born in 1956 your FRA is 66 years and 4 months, and if you were born during or after 1960, it’s 67 years old.

For 2017, the calculations reveal that the average monthly Social Security check is $1,377 with a maximum benefit of $2,687 a month. But in 2018 Social Security’s cost of living adjustment (COLA) and an increase in income that succumbs to payroll taxes will raise the average and maximum Social Security stipend benefit to $1,404 and $2,788.


So How Can You Get the Biggest Check?

Social Security typically replaces about 40% of your pre-retirement income, so if you earn less than the maximum benefit that’s subject to payroll taxes, a pay raise will be the best chance to get the biggest benefit possible, according to the article. In 2017, payroll taxes are collected on income earned up to $127,200. However, they’ll be collected on income up to $128,700 to adjust for inflation.

If you’re currently receiving Social Security and you’ve at your full retirement age, then a pay bump will still be able to give your benefit stipend a raise due to Social Security recalculating your benefit amount annually.

If your current income is already at the maximum taxable income point, then you should be focused on how many years you’ve worked. Social Security uses the highest 35 years of your work history regarding income to find your benefit stipend. If you haven’t worked for at least 35 years then continue to will replace any potential zeros in your Social Security calculation. If you’ve worked for more than 35 years, but your income is currently higher than it was at the start of your career, you can still work to help remove low-income years that may be lowering your benefit stipend amount.

You could also utilize delayed retirement credits to help get a bigger check as well. If you choose to not collect benefits until after your full retirement age, then those credits can increase your stipend by 8% per year, up until age 70. Delayed retirement credits can be used to increase you benefit stipend above the maximum Social Security payment; this means if you qualify for the maximum amount, waiting a few more years to obtain Social Security could help tremendously. For example, if you qualify for the maximum $2,788 in 2018, you’ll receive 129.33% of that amount if you wait to claim benefits until the age of 70. This will give you $3,605 each month.

While it’s easy to get fixated on maximizing your Social Security check, you need to make sure to not only consider payment when reviewing your retirement options. You’ll want to compromise on your wish to get the maximum Social Security benefit with your spouse’s and your health and retirement plans.

You can read the full article here.

Social Security is widely considered the most necessary social program provided in the United States.

As of this past August, near 62 million individuals received benefits and more than 42 million of those people were retired workers. Most of these retired workers, which make up 62% of social security beneficiaries, expect their monthly payment from the Social Security Administration or SSA for at least 50% of their income.

Social Security is Going to be Different in 2018

Perhaps there’s no better time for Social Security beneficiaries to be focused than now due to the annual announcement regarding SS changes arriving in 2018. Similiar to the U.S. economy, the payment, tax, and qualifying guidelines of Social Security aren’t permanently fixed. Since the SSA released their plans for social security in 2018, the USA TODAY created an article detailing the seven biggest changes to Social Security in 2018.

Social Security Beneficiaries Get A Raise

It’s finally here; the most anticipated change now has the logistics thanks to the inflation info released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Coming in 2018, Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 2% cost of living adjustment. 2% may not appear to be a lot, but it turns out it’s an added $27 for the average retired worker, which is actually the highest inflationary increase in the past six years.

Make sure not to celebrate too early for the 2$ raise, which a lot of beneficiaries will actually see little or no raise whatsoever. If you’re part of Medicare and have your Part B premiums deducted from your monthly Social Security payment, and the hold harmless clause has shielded you in the past years, you are liable to have some or all of your raise consumed by Medicare. Hold harmless is the legal clause that ensures Part B monthly premiums don’t rise faster than the Social Security’s annual cost of living adjustment.
You can read the full article here to learn more details about other changes to Social Security in 2018.


The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you to create a “My Social Security” account to calculate and track your Social Security Benefits!  Here are four reasons to sign up today!

  • Accurate records could mean higher Social Security benefits – Your my Social Security account will show the amount of money you earned each year prior to retirement, so it is a good idea to keep track of the amounts to ensure they are accurate.
  • You can calculate the best age to retire – Your my Social Security account will show you the estimated amount of benefits you will receive at different ages.  You can quickly find out what you will receive during early retirement, full retirement and later.
  • Staying aware of your estimated Social Security benefits is a good reality check – Social Security was designed to help individuals during retirement, not to be a replacement for a retirement plan.  Your my Social Security account will allow you to see the estimated payments you will receive so you can better plan for your full retirement.
  • You can manage your benefits without having to wait in line at a Social Security office – If you are currently receiving retirement or disability benefits you can view and update your personal information including address and banking information as well as request a replacement Social Security Card or Medicare card.  In addition, if you are a new applicant you can view the status of your application.

It’s important to get an idea now of what your estimated Social Security benefits will be so you can plan realistically for your financial future.

Opening a “my Social Security” account is the place to start tracking your earnings and managing your benefits.

Read the full article at: www.usa.gov