Articles Posted in Trial Work Program

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As many as one- third of all Social Security disability beneficiaries are unaware that the Social Security Administration also provides them with the opportunity to access help when it comes to returning  to work after being on disability benefits.

The Ticket to Work program is a free program operated by the Social Security Administration and is aimed at helping individuals who have suffered a medical condition, illness, injury or disability that makes it difficult for them to work full time. When a person who has been on disability benefits feels that he/she is now healthy enough to work again, the individual can use the program to access help.  This program is only applicable to Social Security Disability Income/Medicare beneficiaries and not for Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries.

The Ticket to Work program protects your benefit and healthcare during a nine month trial work period.  The program also may allow for you to continue with Medicare/Medicaid even when your benefits may stop due to earnings.  The platform is specifically devoted to the development of career opportunities for persons who have been on disability benefits and would like to explore work.  In order to be eligible for support under the program, you must be between the ages of 18 and 64. The Ticket to Work program is a step towards complete financial independence and lowered dependence on disability benefits.

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The Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase of 5.9 % for disability beneficiaries in 2022.  It was the highest COLA increase in years, taking into consideration inflation and the increase in the cost of basic goods and services. However, all signs are that the increase hasn’t helped disability beneficiaries keep up with the soaring costs of living.

For many Social Security disability beneficiaries, especially those in poor socioeconomic conditions, these monthly disability benefits checks are their only source of income.  Disability beneficiaries are not able to work and earn any other income.  This group of people relies solely on benefits to manage their living expenses and they stand to be hurt the most by the rising cost of living.

The average 2022 benefits increase is about $76. According to many disability advocates, once expenses like Medicare are removed, the final amount left is meager.

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The term “Substantial Gainful Activity” refers to work activity that provides a certain monthly income beyond a limit. Remember, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will deny a claim if it has reason to believe you are earning more than a predetermined SGA limit.

What is the SGA limit?

The limit depends on a number of factors. The most important factor is the type of disability. Some conditions may allow a person to receive disability benefits even if they are earning a higher income than another person who is denied. For instance, persons who suffer from blindness may have a much higher SGA limit while still retaining their eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) Ticket to Work program allows disabled individuals who are currently deceiving disability benefits payments to transition back into the workforce.

If you are currently receiving disability benefits, and are between the ages of 18 and 64, then you may qualify for the Ticket to Work program. The program allows you to go back to work, and begin earning an income again, while retaining your eligibility for Social Security benefits. The program also allows you to continue to retain some of the benefits that are available to you under the Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as some cash benefits.

The Ticket to Work program also allows you to benefit from an employment network that will help you get in touch with employers and organizations to get started working again. The Employment network will require information about your disability, your work history and other issues, and can help you find that is a good fit.

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides incentives for disability claimants who want to go back to work.

SSA is invested in helping disability beneficiaries enter back into the workplace. It does this by allowing beneficiaries a trial work period. This trial work period is for nine months, and it will allow beneficiaries to test their ability to return to work.

During this work period, you will continue to be eligible for Social Security benefits and continue to receive benefits. However, you must continue to have the disability, and you must report your work to SSA.

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I had an interesting meeting last week with Sheila Zipf of the non-profit Bobby Dodd Institute in Atlanta. The Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI) is “committed to reducing the unemployment rate by helping people with disabilities and disadvantages overcome barriers to work.” BDI works in partnership with governmental agencies and private enterprise to help train and place people with disabilities. BDI provides vocational training and job placement for many disabled adults who otherwise would not be able to enter the workforce.

Sheila and I discussed some mutually compatible territory between us through the Social Security Trial Work Program. Helping to re-integrate individuals with disabilities into the larger community with employment as part of the process is a worthy goal. With rehabilitation and vocational training many individuals may overcome obstacles to employment. However, individuals who might be candidates for part-time or modified employment may be discouraged from attempting this type of employment for fear of losing Social Security benefits.

In recent years, Social Security has encouraged trial work periods by alleviating the perceived fear of forfeiting hard-won Social Security benefits. During a trial work period, a beneficiary receiving Social Security disability benefits may test his or her ability to work and still be considered disabled. SSA allows a beneficiary to work for at least 9 months in a rolling 60 month period. Earnings at or above $720 in a month will constitute a work period. After a trial work period, you have 36 months in which you can work and still receive benefits for any month that earnings are not “substantial” ($1010/month or $1690/month if you are blind). If your benefits become “substantial” then you will no longer receive Social Security payments. However, you have five years during which you may request for benefits to be reinstated if you become unable to work again because of your medical condition. You will not have to file a new application for benefits and your benefits will begin immediately.

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