Life with a disability is a challenge to be met on a daily basis. A serious injury or debilitating illness can be a life-changing event that affects your income-generating ability and eventually your quality of life. Prior to your disability, you may have been a person who earned your own income and was financially independent. An accident or illness may have changed all that. You may have become dependent on a monthly Social Security disability benefit to cover your bills and expenses, possibly on a permanent basis.

A return to the workforce can help you cope with a physical, mental, or psychological disability. The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program is tailored for individuals who want to rely less on monthly benefits in favor of earning their own income again and achieving their financial independence goals. Read more about how SSA’s Ticket to Work program helps individuals meet the challenges of living with a disability.

Disability and Employment

A disabling injury or condition oftentimes changes your financial status. The loss of hearing, sight, or a limb; a debilitating respiratory or cardiac condition; or the diagnosis of a mental illness often means you are out of work for an extended period of time as you recover from your injury or undergo treatment for your illness. A disability can take away your ability to earn the full-time employment income that you are used to having and, with it, the lifestyle you’ve become used to.

The option for disabled individuals is applying to Social Security for benefits. The Social Security Administration offers two types of disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides income to people who’ve paid into the federal system and are now restricted in their ability to be employed because of their disability. You’ll have to undergo medical evaluation of your disability as part of your application for SSDI benefits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is an income-restricted program for individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t contributed enough to Social Security to qualify for SSDI benefits.

Man with prosthetic leg working in warehouse

Return to Work

You may find over time that you are able to perform a job despite your disability. A return to the workforce is possible even if you are a recipient of disability benefits. The Social Security Ticket to Work program guides and supports people with a goal of returning to work without risking their benefits.

Ticket to Work is a voluntary program that connects disabled people with a variety of job placement and career counseling services to help them eventually transition off SSDI or SSI and back to meaningful employment. You’ll be guided to meaningful job opportunities offered by Employment Networks and state vocational rehabilitation agencies. Once you are paired with a potential employer, you’ll continue to receive benefits for a specified period as you earn an income in your new job and be evaluated on your success in maintaining employment.

Overcoming Disability

Your physical or mental disability may be permanent if you are receiving disability benefits, but your financial status does not have to be. The SSA Ticket to Work program can help you prepare for a return to the workplace and the opportunity to improve your income potential. Through Ticket to Work, you’ll be able to do this without your disability holding you back.

DisABLEd Workers is an approved provider of the SSA Ticket to Work program that helps individuals with disabilities pursue and reach their employment goals. If you are disabled and receive Social Security disability benefit income and want to plan a return to full-time work, contact DisABLEd Workers today at 877-291-9806 to speak with a career specialist.

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