Is Ticket to Work right for you?

Once you have been approved for disability benefits, some disabled workers find that for a variety of reasons, they may experience an improvement in their disabling condition. Perhaps it is because of improved health care or because they no longer engage in the type of work that caused or aggravates their condition.

They may even begin to think that they could return to some type of employment that may not be as damaging to their health, but they worry. Given the arduous challenge of obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, they don't want to attempt a return to work and lose their eligibility for SSD benefits, then risk having their health deteriorate and find themselves back in the position of being unable to work and without a SSD benefit.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes this concern and created a program that allows disabled workers to test the waters and make an attempt to return to work for a period of time without endangering their eligibility for disability benefits.

The program is known as "Ticket to Work," and it allows disabled workers to earn income beyond the ordinary limits for SSD beneficiaries and keep their Medicare benefits.

With many disabled individuals needing legal assistance during the application process with administrative law judge hearings or other aspects of the SSD appeal process, few want to risk the many months or years it could take to reapply and regain benefits.

Fortunately, this is not necessary, as SSA allows what is known as "Expedited Reinstatement," and if they again are disabled, they can request a restart of their SSD benefits for up to five years, can receive temporary cash benefits and be covered Medicare or Medicaid, while SSA reviews their request.

If you are thinking about returning to work, SSA's Ticket to Work may be the program you need to see if you can return to work.

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