(08/15/2012)
This Labor Day, many Americans commemorate the fruits of their hard work by taking a day off from it. There will be gatherings and games, barbecues, and baseball. Labor Day was established in 1882, and it has become an American tradition to celebrate with family and friends.

For many Americans who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, Labor Day can be a good day to think about the future.

It may be that, in spite of your disabling condition, you would like to attempt to work. But perhaps you're apprehensive because you don't want to find out you're not quite up to the task and risk losing your benefits and critical medical coverage.

We have good news for you. Our work incentives can help you go to work without the worry.

Work incentives include: Continued cash benefits for a period of time while you work; Continued Medicare or Medicaid while you work; and Help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new line of work.

For example, a trial work period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months without affecting your benefits. Beyond that, an extended period of eligibility allows you to work another 36 months and still receive benefits, depending on your earnings.

If your benefits stopped because your earnings were too high, but you find that your disabling condition does not allow you to stick with the job, you're eligible for expedited reinstatement without having to complete a new application.

If you are successful at returning to work, but you fear the loss of your medical coverage, here's more good news. You can continue to get Medicare Part A for at least 7 years after your cash benefits end, and after that you can buy Medicare Part A coverage by paying a monthly premium.

Through it all, you can opt to continue paying your Medicare Part B premium for that additional coverage.

In addition to these incentives, you also may be interested in the Ticket to Work program, which may be able to help you receive vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals, and other employment support services free of charge.

This Labor Day, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work to learn more. Or read our publication, Working While Disabled—How We Can Help, available at http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10095.html.


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