Nearly 14 million people in America receive some kind of disability benefits through governmental programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) each year. Being awarded approval for such benefits can be a long and stressful process, but what happens after you have them? Many people experience changes in their medical or financial status after starting to collect disability, so how can they proceed into the workforce without losing all those hard-won benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has built a comprehensive program called Ticket To Work, which helps people currently on disability to gain employment experience, while keeping their medical, and in some cases, their financial benefits. This free and voluntary program is built on a network of employers and service providers from all areas of the country, coming together to create incentives for people with disabilities to return to work or to begin work for the first time. Under the provisions of the Ticket To Work program, you can explore wage-earning opportunities without having to surrender your SSDI or SSI benefits.
It is well documented that people who engage in some kind of work tend to be happier, more fulfilled, and feel more independent. It's also a great avenue to meet new people and learn new skills that can help you earn income now and down the road. In order to qualify for the Ticket To Work program, you must be:
Between the ages of 18 and 64
Currently receiving either SSDI or SSI
Ready and willing to work
When you are disabled, and have been out of work for a long time, or have never worked before, it can be intimidating to enter the workforce. The SSA understands this, and has built in protections for your benefits if you experience what is known as an unsuccessful work attempt, or UWA. It's okay to not get it perfectly right on the first try, and you may need to stop working again due to your disability. This safety net is one of the many benefits provided by the Ticket To Work program, among many others like:
Educational and training incentives
If you are currently collecting disability, and would like to explore your potential employment options, talk to a qualified Portland area disability attorney or Ticket To Work representative today at JP Law!