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After SSDI: Can I return to work and still get disability benefits?

It's been a few years since you've worked. You have taken time to heal from your accident and the idea of returning to work sounds inviting. But you're not sure if you can return full-time or whether, once back, your symptoms may increase to the point where you have to take time off again. Is there a way to try working and see whether it's the right choice for you without losing the security of your monthly SSDI or SSI payment?

While it was no doubt daunting for you to navigate applying for SSDI benefits, the good news is that returning to work does not have to be difficult. The Social Security Administration wants to work with you and get you back on your feet. To that end, they have many programs in place.

Ticket to Work

One of these programs is called the "Ticket to Work" program. Once you are eligible, you will automatically receive information on this program along with information on how to use it. This ticket can be used to receive re-employment services from an approved agency of your choice. The agency will assess your work abilities, your strengths and weaknesses, and determine what jobs you might be ready for.

After the assessments, your agency will help you get the training you need, either by providing it directly, or by partnering with another school or agency that can help you. Once you have a skill-set, they will help you find a job and act as your advocate. Don't want to have to explain your disability to your new employer? You don't have to. Your agency will advocate for you on your behalf-from requesting needed accommodations, to coaching you on how to excel at your new job while still taking care of your health.

Can an attorney help me protect my benefits?

During the time you are using your Ticket to Work, you will continue to receive benefits for a specified period, Medicare (if you are currently eligible) and, most importantly, you will not be subject to a medical review.

Returning to work after receiving disability benefits isn't the right choice for everyone. Talking with a qualified Social Security Disability attorney is the best way to get your questions answered and to ensure that you use the program to your best benefit.

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