October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which helps to recognize the challenges that individuals with disabilities face both in Pennsylvania and other states. These individuals face difficulties not only with overcoming their disability-related barriers but also with convincing others that they are greater than their disabilities. Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSD, exists to help to alleviate some of the financial difficulty that comes with no longer being able to earn a living.
Some individuals assume that recipients of SSD have not worked and are simply taking advantage of the government system by getting money for minor disabilities. However, SSD is really an earned benefit. The Social Security Administration that administers these benefits can also help people return to work.
The administration has work incentives to encourage people with disabilities to go back to work, such as continued cash benefits for a certain amount of time while a person is working. Other incentives include continued Medicaid or Medicare coverage as well as assistance with rehabilitation, education and training to begin a brand new line of work. In some instances, the administration might even have the ability to deduct particular work expenses related to an impairment from a person's countable income, such as specialized equipment needed in the workplace, wheelchairs and transportation costs.
Millions of people are currently receiving disability benefits. In order to qualify for these benefits, a person must have completed enough work to pay into the SSD system. In addition, a person has to have an impairment that is expected to last for at least a year or lead to death. The individual also has to be incapable of performing substantial work. An applied understanding of the law may help people in Pennsylvania successfully pursue the SSD benefits to which they are entitled.
Source: mcphersonsentinel.com, "Work through disability with SS", Becky Ewy, Oct. 13, 2015