Ask Larry

How Will My Trial Work Months Be Determined If I'm Paid On Commission?

I am receiving SSDI and have not worked since it was awarded.

I am thinking of trying a job that will be commission based because it might be flexible enough for my disability. The commission will be high-ticket so one deal will be over the amount for it to count as a TWP month. My question is, if I don’t close a deal every month (only plan a few per year) will only the months that it shows up on my paystub count towards the 9 months of TWP?

I’ve read that sometimes bonuses will be spread out over the year and didn’t know if they would try to do that if the total end of year earnings were really high.


Hi. If you're employed and working for wages, then your trial work months would be determined by the amount of your monthly earnings. It's true that bonuses are counted as having been earned in the month(s) for which the bonus was paid, and that's basically also true for regular wages. However, unless Social Security can readily determine the months for which wages are paid, they typically just count the wages as having been earned in the month they are paid (

However, if you're considered to be an independent contractor, then your trial work months would be determined using the rules governing self-employment. In 2023, for example, any month in which a self-employed person either earns more than $1,050 OR they devote more than 80 hours to their work activity could count as a trial work month.

Best, Jerry

Apr 12 2023 - 11:40am
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