Understanding My Social Security Benefits

SSI/SSDI

Once your application for disability benefits is approved by the Social Security administration you will begin receiving payments and potentially have access to medical insurance. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are the two most common types of benefits for people with disabilities. What many don’t know is that, after you start receiving Social Security disability benefits, Social Security puts in place many supports should you want to try working again. These special rules, called work incentives, allow you to test your ability to work and still receive monthly Social Security disability benefits.

Ticket to Work

Ticket to Work is a Social Security Administration (SSA) program that connects people with disabilities (aged 18-64) with Employment Networks (ENs) or the state public Vocational Rehabilitation program which coordinates and provides appropriate services to help you find and maintain employment. In Maryland, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) participates in the Ticket to Work program and has assisted many individuals with disabilities who receive SSDI and SSI benefits to return to work, often earning more than the amount of their cash benefits.

Benefits Planning Services

Once you have determined you are interested in exploring a return to work, you may need help navigating Social Security’s work incentives. There are trained and certified benefits counselors, sometimes called benefits planners, to help you understand the impact of work on your personal circumstances. Once you begin services with DORS, let your counselor know so that an appointment can be scheduled with a benefits planner.

Health Insurance and Work

If you currently receive Medicare, there are special provisions for you to remain eligible for at least 93 months after you achieve certain earning levels. If you receive Medical Assistance (Medicaid), there are several provisions to extend your coverage after employment. If you currently don’t receive Medicaid, you may be able to access it through a program known as Employed Individuals with Disabilities (EID) once you begin working. Your DORS counselor and a benefits planner can tell you more.

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