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Should SSDI Benefits Offer More Than Financial Help?

Posted Jessica L. Kurtz on Dec 22, 2014 in Social Security Disability

If you have ever applied for or received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you know firsthand just how frustrating and difficult the process can be. Because of the challenges faced while applying for these benefits, many people are afraid to return to work for fear of losing their benefits. Should their disability return or worsen, they would be faced with another battle and months of financial uncertainty.

While many people unfamiliar with SSDI benefits have a negative stereotype associated with them, the fact is that most people receiving these benefits would much prefer to go back to work. SSDI supplemental income is nothing compared to the earning potential of any standard job, and for people who may be able to work if given special accommodations, the choice is seemingly clear. Unfortunately, due to the difficulty obtaining SSDI in the first place, the risk does not always seem worth the reward.

How the ADA Can Help You Prior to Applying for SSDI

Many people who have studied SSDI claims have realized that many of these claims could be prevented or delayed through positive intervention in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects those with disabilities from being discriminated against in the workplace, which means that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. If you have developed a disability or your disability has worsened, speak with your employer about your rights under the ADA. This act is meant to protect your rights in your pursuit of a livelihood, and can help you continue to support yourself.

SSDI Employment Incentives: Problematic, But Promising

The SSDI program currently offers two employment initiatives, TTW and BOND, both of which have not seen high numbers. TTW, or Ticket to Work, offers those currently receiving SSDI benefits vocational rehabilitation and counseling, as well as assistance finding work. The problem with TTW, however, is the same—once the beneficiary returns to work, they lose their SSDI benefits, which is a chilling prospect for many.

The answer to this problem was BOND, or Benefit Offset National Demonstration. BOND allows SSDI beneficiaries returning to work nine months of continued benefits at their normal rate, followed by a slow reduction in benefits as earnings top their substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount, which has been set at $1090 monthly earning for non-blind individuals. Despite the obvious benefits of BOND, so far, there have been few takers.

Do You Have Questions About Your SSDI Benefits and Returning to Work?

If you currently receive SSDI benefits but are considering returning to the workforce, you may have many concerns and questions. At Schmidt Kramer, we take pride in helping many Pennsylvanians navigate through the complicated SSDI program. For more information about returning to work and keeping your benefits on a trial basis, contact us today by phone or through our live chat link.