A disabling injury or illness can affect a person's income and self-image. Often disabled people, once hard workers and breadwinners, long to return to the workforce. Even when finances are not a problem, they may wish continue being a contributing member of the economy. Social Security can help those receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) to reenter the workforce.
Returning to Work
People who receive Social Security Disability and want to return to work should contact their local Social Security office to learn the location of the state vocational rehabilitation agency. There they will speak with a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VR counselor) and discuss employment goals.
The VR counselor will make a determination about whether the agency is able to serve the client. If this agency can't assist, the counselor discusses the option of using another participant in the program who can provide what the client needs. If the counselor feels that he can work with the client, they begin developing a plan to get the disabled person back to work.
A Ticket Work
The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 broke down many of the barriers that once affected a disabled person's choices about returning to work. Those receiving SSDI need noo longer worry about losing medical benefits when they become employed. A trial work period allows them to work for at least nine months to see if they can handle the job. During this time they receive all benefits as long as they remain disabled. If they continues to work after this period, they have 36 months to receive benefits for any month they earn less than a substantial amount. In 2010 this monthly amount is $1,000.
Who Pays for VR?
The Social Security Administration pays for vocational rehabilitation that results in the client returning to work for at least nine continuous months. In some instances the vocational rehabilitation program assists a client financially if new equipment, such as hand controls for a car or voice recognition technology for those who can no longer type, is required to help the person get back into the workforce.
How Disability Benefits Are Affected
The Social Security Administration continues to help a person after she has found a job. Work incentives, special provisions of the law, help. If the person remains disabled but can work, she receives Medicare benefits for 93 months. If she becomes unable to work, she may ask for reinstatement of all benefits at an expedited rate.
Nancy Virginia Varian is a freelance writer in New Mexico. A widely published author of fantasy fiction for more than 25 years, her short stories have been published in "DragonLance Tales Vol. 2" and "The Year’s Best Fantastic Fiction vol 1." Her range of interests include gardening, disability issues, history, language and the internet.