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Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act

Posted on:12/2/2012
The Supplemental Security Income program provides more realistic cash allowances to disabled recipients than general relief programs do for the nondisabled unemployed. Moreover, it is complemented by Medicaid coverage of sometimes extremely costly health-related needs, including a regular, monthly outlay for personal assistance services when required.


The Supplemental Security Income program provides more realistic cash allowances to disabled recipients than general relief programs do for the nondisabled unemployed. Moreover, it is complemented by Medicaid coverage of sometimes extremely costly health-related needs, including a regular, monthly outlay for personal assistance services when required. Frequently, severely disabled recipients are unable to earn anything approximating these forms of income, and certainly not from an entry-level job.

 

When individuals drawing (and needing) large total benefit amounts moved into employment (thereby relinquishing eligibility for SSI and Medicaid), they placed themselves in serious financial jeopardy. Work sometimes offered no additional income and sometimes even entailed a reduction. This is especially true when personal assistant salaries were paid, as group medical policies available through work will not cover this expense.

 

Even more demotivating, the threat of failure or delay in reestablishing eligibility for benefits following an abortive job attempt generated fears of catastrophic life disruption or even institutionalization. Under such circumstances, the decision not to work and to opt instead for a life on welfare hardly can be viewed as social irresponsibility. It was simply a very rational decision.

 

Disincentives rooted in the welfare system have been a tremendous barrier to employment, however. Fortunately, after long and emotional years of testimony, Congress recognized the double bind facing many citizens with severe disabilities and passed the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act in 1999.


  
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