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Returning to work after receiving disability benefits

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Social Security Disability benefits are meant to provide income for people who are not able to earn a living due to injury, illness or other condition. However, many people who receive the benefits eventually find they wish to return to work.

For these people, the Social Security Administration offers a program called Ticket to Work, which is meant to ease their transition back into the workforce, and to preserve their ability to recover benefits if they need them again.

Ticket to Work is an optional program for people receiving benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income and other Social Security programs. It works in conjunction with state vocational rehabilitation agencies and other agencies to help disabled people find suitable work without completely losing their status under their benefits programs.

For example, imagine Eric, who injured his back in a work accident two years ago has been receiving SSD benefits for a year. Now, his condition has improved and he feels he would like to return to work. However, after being out of the workforce for two years, he is not sure how to re-enter the job market. He’s also afraid that by returning to work will force him to give up his benefits, and if he finds that he is unable to continue working, he will have to start the disability benefits application process all over again.

Under the Ticket to Work program, Eric can have help finding a suitable job. After he returns to work, he has up to five years to ask to have his benefits restarted quickly using a program called Expedited Reinstatement. So, two years from now, if he finds his injury is acting up again, and he can no longer work, he can quickly return to receiving benefits.

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