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Is a Return to Work Possible When You Are Disabled?

For many individuals on disability benefits due to illnesses or medical impairments, returning to work is the ultimate dream. Disability benefits provide a lifeline by ensuring you have necessary income, but the benefits usually don't pay as much as having a full-time job. Not only that, but many who are receiving benefits want to work for a living if possible because they want to have a job to do to feel productive.  

Our Manhattan disability attorneys know that the Social Security Administration encourages individuals who are receiving benefits to give work a try. The Social Security Disability Insurance program, for example, has a trial work period during which your benefits are not affected unless and until you make more than $750 for nine months within a 60 month period.  There is also a fast-track reinstatement period so if you've had your benefits stopped due to returning to work but you need them again, you don't have to reapply from the beginning.

The SSA tries to make working possible so you can have a chance to see if holding down a job is something you can do even with your work condition. Unfortunately, despite efforts from the Social Security Administration to ensure that disabled individuals have a fair shot at trying to work, actually finding a job while suffering from a medical condition or impairment can be very challenging.

Department of Labor Addresses Challenges of Working While Disabled

The Department of Labor is aware of the troubles that disabled workers face when trying to find gainful employment. The DOL reports, for example, that the disabled have an unemployment rate of around 12.7 percent as compared with the national average unemployment rate that is currently at around 7.5 percent.

The DOL has also identified some of the prime barriers that prevent employers from hiring disabled workers and/or that prevent disabled workers from being successful in the job market. For example, the biggest obstacles that can prevent a disabled person from getting a job include:

  • Insufficient skills to perform jobs that are doable even with disabilities. Many people who rely on SSA disability benefits worked in physical, labor-intensive jobs that took a toll on their bodies or that led to accidents that caused injuries. Many of these workers do not have college degrees and thus may be limited in finding other non-physical work that they can do despite their impairments or illnesses. 
  • Concerns about healthcare. Those receiving SSI benefits can generally qualify immediately for Medicaid while those on SSDI benefits can receive Medicare after a 24-month waiting period.  Concern about losing access to government medical benefits may make some disabled individuals reluctant to try working and to come off of these SSA disability programs.
  • Workplace discrimination. Employers may be reluctant to hire disabled workers despite the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bans discrimination on the basis of disability.

Because of these obstacles, it may be difficult for you to work when disabled even though the Social Security Administration allows you to try to get a job without jeopardizing your benefits income. The Department of Labor is trying to fix these concerns, though, and hopefully if the economy improves more opportunities will be available for the disabled.

If you are disabled and cannot work, contact the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today by calling (800) 692-3717.