The possibility of being able to work again through the Ticket to Work program may be very appealing from a personal fulfillment standpoint as well as from the possibility of financial improvement. However, many people have concerns about losing their current Social Security Disability benefits if a return to employment does not work out.
The Social Security Administration puts these three common worries to rest with the truth about the Ticket to Work program.
1. Losing Medicare and/or Medicaid
Health care concerns may have more influence on the decisions of someone who has had a disabling condition and relied on Medicare and/or Medicaid. Fortunately, people in the Ticket to Work program do not need to worry about it. Even those who make enough to terminate their SSDI payments will continue to receive Medicare for up to 93 months after they pass their nine-month Trial Work Period.
Other health care factors may apply depending on the state’s earning threshold, federal and state protections and individual circumstances.
2. Becoming ineligible
The SSA conducts periodic reviews of each person’s medical condition to determine whether the health condition is still at the level of a disability. The SSA does not schedule a Continuing Disability Review for those who are making progress in the Ticket to Work program, so they do not have to worry about losing their benefits while they participate. However, if the SSA has already scheduled the CDR before the participant begins the program, it does not cancel the review.
3. Starting over
The SSDI application process can be long and daunting, so it is natural for people not to want to have to start at the beginning again. As long as it has been less than five years since the benefits stopped, a participant who has been working can use an expedited reinstatement. The SSA reviews the request to reinstate benefits due to the same disability and the participant receives up to six months of benefits while waiting for the response.
With these protections and others in place, trying out the Ticket to Work program is relatively low risk.