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Incentives to Return to Work

Posted on:10/21/2011
The Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) provides benefits to workers who have been able to make enough contributions through the social security Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax paid on their previous earnings.

The Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) is available to disabled Americans who have limited income and resources. The eligibility rules for payments from these two programs differ, but they both require the applicant to be either not working or earning less than some specified amount.


Both programs include incentives to get recipients back into the labor force. These incentives include a trial work period where some or all of the payments are retained for a certain period of time; continuation of Medicaid or Medicare even if cash payments have ended because of high earnings; reimbursement of impairment-related work expenses; exclusion of certain income from the earnings test if set aside for future self-sufficiency, such as education or starting a business; and referral and payment for vocational rehabilitation. Many of these incentives were only adopted recently as part of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999.
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