I am wanting to start working to see if I can get off of SSDI. Ideally, I would like to use my Trial Work Period months to earn the maximum I can i.e. I would rather use a month in which I earn $2000 vs $850. I may have a work place that is willing to pay me out about 2-3 x year so that I can have higher earnings per month. Is this ok? I am not sure how social security will count "earnings"-is it when I actually get paid or the months in which I worked the hours.
My second question/idea/option is related to doing contract work (1099). I was told that if an employer pays my LLC, it will not count against my SSDI. Is this true? I would then have the LLC pay me a lump sum every so often to maximize how I use my Trial Work Period until I can be confident that I can physically tolerate full time work.
I thank you in advance for any insight regarding if the above are legitimate approaches.
No, neither of the strategies mentioned would help you avoid using trial work months. Social Security counts trial work months based on when you earn the money, not when you are paid. So, any month in which you earn over $840 this year will count as a trial work month regardless of when you are paid for the work.
In the case of self-employment, or work as an independent contractor, a trial work month can be based on either net earnings of more than $840, or 80 hours of time devoted to the self-employment. The reason they use work hours to establish trial work months is because in some trades (e.g. realtors, farmers), people receive the proceeds from their work long after the work is performed.
For more information on working while receiving disability benefits, refer to the following pamphlet: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf.