If a Georgian has an injury or illness keeping them out of work, they may receive Social Security Disability benefits for financial support. Many people worry that once they start receiving benefits, they must stay out of the workforce forever. However, applying for these benefits does not mean that one must stop working long-term. In fact, the disability benefits program is designed to help recipients get back to work, once medically able.
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Ticket to Work program gives people who are receiving disability benefits the chance to get back to work without risking their benefits. There are over 600 employment networks in the U.S. offering free support services to help disability recipients. Some of these services include speaking with employers regarding accommodations, helping recipients improve their stamina and energy and assisting with the SSA’s reporting processes.
Generally, disability recipients can retain their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for nine months during a trial work period, where they test the waters and see whether they can handle the rigors of full-time employment. After the trial work period, they may be qualified for an extended period of eligibility to further protect benefits for another 36 months.
During this extended time, one will likely receive full benefits for three months, followed by benefits on an as-needed basis for 33 months (months where income is below $1,180 for non-blind individuals and below $1,970 for blind individuals). Once this 36-month period ends, the benefits restart without having to file a new application, if one becomes unable to work again over the next five years.
There are also additional perks to participating in the Ticket to Work program. For example, those in the program are exempt from the disability reviews conducted by the SSA and will continue to receive Medicare Coverage for up to 93 months after the 9-month trial period.
Many disability recipients in Fayette County find that they can go back to work eventually with some assistance. An attorney specializing in disability benefits can help one decide if the Ticket to Work program is right.