When a health issue takes a California resident out of the workforce, many people mistakenly believe the disabled individual is enjoying their time away from work while receiving Social Security Disability benefits. However, nothing is further from the truth-without a job, many people feel they have lost their sense of purpose and community. Additionally, SSD benefits provide a bare minimum amount of financial compensation-it helps recipients get by and make ends meet, but in no way does it replace the earnings they were likely receiving when they were earning.
Seeking SSD benefits is not a decision to stop working forever, though many people do not know this. Their program, Ticket To Work, was specifically designed to help residents get back on their feet and achieve financial independence, while continuing to receive SSD benefits for an adjustment period. TTW provides recipients with the opportunity to test the waters without losing their SSD benefits.
While testing their ability to work, recipients can continue to receive SSD benefits for nine months. When the trial work period ends, SSD benefits are protected for an additional 36 months. This is done by providing full SSD benefits for the first three months and then receiving SSD benefits for any months in the next 33 that earnings fall below a certain level. Medicare coverage continues for a number of months as well, and if someone becomes ineligible to work once again, they can request to have their SSD benefits restarted without filing a new application in the next five years.
By incentivizing work while continuing to provide coverage, the Social Security Administration aims to get people feeling productive again. If a California resident feels they are willing to take this step, they should consider consulting an experienced attorney to determine what steps should be taken next.