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Consumer News

Helping People Move From Benefits To Work

Posted: 2/14/2013

Thanks to a program, it may be possible for someone receiving Social Security “disability” benefits to begin working and at the same time keep their Medicare coverage
Thanks to a program, it may be possible for someone receiving Social Security “disability” benefits to begin working and at the same time keep their Medicare coverage.

(NAPSI)—There’s good news for the millions of Americans who receive disability benefits from Social Security and want to work. There’s a free, voluntary program that just may be their ticket to employment.

The program, called Ticket to Work, makes it possible for those who receive Supplemental Security Income—also known as SSI—or Social Security Disability to begin a job while maintaining access to some of their benefits.

In the case of Terry Anderson, it was more than a ticket to work. It allowed her to take control of her life. Terry went on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) after being diagnosed with cancer and losing her job due to downsizing. As a result, she took an extended period of time away from work.

A year later, with her cancer in remission, Terry learned about the Iowa Development Workforce Center, an American Job Center that’s one of over 1,000 disability employment−focused organizations that provide free employment-related support services to Social Security beneficiaries through the Ticket to Work program. She decided to see what her local American Job Center had to offer.

Fortunately, the staff was able to provide her with expert advice about disability benefits and employment. For example, she learned about special Social Security rules called “Work Incentives,” which are intended to help people who receive disability benefits transition to the workforce and become financially self-sufficient.

She also found out that recipients of SSDI can keep their Medicare coverage and their cash benefits while gaining work experience during the Trial Work Period. Terry also learned that thanks to another Work Incentive called “Expedited Reinstatement,” she might be able to restart her Social Security benefits without a new application, if she has to stop work because of her disability within five years.

Eventually, Terry found work as a loan-servicing specialist and now works a second job at Walmart, where she trains cashiers and enjoys interacting with customers.

Grateful that Social Security helped her “…get through the storm,” Terry acknowledged she was happy to leave benefits behind.

To learn more about the program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at (866) 968-7842 (V); (866) 833-2967 (TTY/TDD) or visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work.

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