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Disabled workers explore jobs without losing benefits

Disabled New Jersey workers receiving Supplemental Security Income or Social Security disability benefits may be interested to learn about a work incentive offered by the Social Security Administration, called "Ticket to Work." The program actually provides a ticket to disabled workers, who can present it to any SSA-certified training provider in exchange for free services that may include career counseling, specialized training, job placement and ongoing support services.

The program is one of many work incentives recently discussed by Kathy Martinez, the Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. In her position at ODEP, Martinez works to address barriers to employment facing people with disabilities.

Yet disabled workers in New Jersey and nationwide often have many fears about returning to the workforce. For example, many are uncertain about how employers will view their disability and have concerns about being able to fulfill all of the duties required by a job -- even with the assistance of reasonable work accommodations. Others may worry that a job might disqualify their eligibility for SSI or SSDI benefits.

As a preliminary matter, accepting a job will not immediately result in a termination of disability benefits. Recipients can continue to receive SSI or SSDI benefits until their wage earnings or other source of income exceeds the applicable limits set by the Social Security Administration.

Fortunately, the SSA offers several work incentives which permit disabled workers to explore the viability of returning to work without jeopardizing their benefits. One such incentive is a trial work period. Another work incentive permits disabled workers to subtract certain types of earnings from their gross income, which may mean continued eligibility for benefits. Yet another incentive, created by Section 1619(b) of the Social Security Act, enables Medicaid recipients to continue receiving benefits even after their SSI payments have stopped due to employment earnings.

Source: The Washington Post, "Assistant Labor Secretary Kathy Martinez on how disabled former workers can find employment again," Kathy Martinez, Sept. 5, 2012

  • Our firm handles situations similar to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Newark Social Security Disability page.

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  • Toll Free: 877-892-0197
  • Fax: 973-364-1348
  • Phone: 973-200-6629
  • Toll Free: 877-892-0197
  • Phone: 609-207-7905