In response to SH:

There are a lot of new helps for people to get off of disability. The problem you will find is finding someone who can actually implement them. I don't know where you are from but where I am and where I've been it seems like no one has all the info. There is a booklet called the Red Book that you can call or go on line to get a copy. In it it will explain a program newly started for people trying to get off of disability. There is the Trial work period. This is I believe a 6 month period of time, during which your benefits will not be touched. No matter what you earn it will not be touched. (It might be a three month period though I forget) You will have these months for find out if you will be able to find and maintain what SSA calls gainful employment. You can find out what gainful employment is for you from your local office. If you are able to maintain gainful employment consecutively for this period of time, than your benefits will stop. If however, you are not, your case stays open and you can automatically go back to your original SSA benefits. Things to watch out for I have found is medical benefits, and preexisting conditions. If you are on Medicare and you need that coverage (or may need it in the future) be careful. A lot of insurance's will cover you now, but if you have a set back they will throw this preexisting conditions stuff in your face. Check before, with your case manager, (always document who you get what info. from!!!!) to see what you need to do to stay safe. I believe Medicare will still cover you for 2 years after you're off of disability. Watch your SSI. This stuff is crazy. You will have to bring them your pay stub every time you get paid in order to prevent overpayment!!! The system is generally so far behind it will take them 3 months to figure out if you've been over paid and by then you will have been over paid 3 months. Not good. Also, if you've been out of the working world for a while and are a bit nervous or you are unsure about how to go at it again, contact your local Vocational Rehabilitation Office. These people know a lot about traps people have fallen into and how not to burn bridges with your benefits. They will be as hands on or off as you like. I enjoyed having someone else get all the information for me so I could concentrate on finding work. It's a good program, but again, Document document document, all names all who said what's. People sometimes misspeak, and it you ask their names it may make them feel aware enough to check their own info. I hope you are able to get off of disability. I don't think there is anything in the world that gave me a better feeling than being independent. Be careful though. Just don't go too fast. And good luck.

anonymous Z


Getting Back to Work

i have a friend who is going to help with that. i go for a hearing on March 2 to decided if they think i am able to go back to work. i am willing to try again.

over the last 20 years i have been unable to work for long periods of time and have relied on one government program or another. usually i start back when i start to feel better and i always go in part time at first. that way i can still collect a partial payment to help me feel secure as i venture out. this time i have a girlfriend who has a clothes consignment shop and i will charge her 37.50 a day three days a week and if i feel real good getting out and doing that then i can put another job with another friend into my week. and slowly but surely need the system less.

the important part is to have a doctor or therapist who will work closely with you and if you begin to have any relapses then they will be there to help you through and if need be to stop one of the jobs and go back to collecting partial help. the thing for me that makes it easier is that i don't put all my energies into one place that drains me. having different sources to go to helps to keep me going.

I'll write again to you in a couple months to let you know how it is going and then you will get an idea how the process works. that my give you the courage and some direction and ideas for yourself. if you ask many voices for my email I'll give them my permission to give it to you so we can perhaps write back and forth and help each other. it would help a lot of us if we could keep in touch on things like this. jacki


I Did It

I don't know if you have any education or previous experience. But first of all, contact Social Security. Let the rep know you are ready to go back to work, and ask what you need to do. They'll tell you over the phone and they'll probably send you a booklet "Going Back to Work."

They'll want to know where you are working. I really got nervous with this one. The rep told me they usually don't call the employer--unless you work and don't tell them.

I purposely picked a job not in my field, just to test it out. It worked OK.

So call Social Security, find out what you need to do. Benefits may continue. If you are overpaid, you will need to pay it back. That happened to me. I just paid it back.

Now go to employers. Be aware that many employers are now doing background checks. Theymust have your signed permission.

I have had many background checks because I have worked with kids and money. In Illinois, if you work with kids, you are going to have a background check. Usually it's done by the State Police who check for criminal violations. I passed. (No record.)

When you work with cash, the employers will want to bond you--there's a background check there, as well. I guess to make sure you don't run off with the money. I passed this too. (No record.)

As a general rule, many employers will do a credit check. This means pulling your credit report. I guess I passed this one too. Although with $30-$40K in student loans, with a giant asterisk next to it, I don't know how! There is a note on my credit report, put there by the lender that essentially says, "We can't tell you about these student loans, and they are being paid, but be sure to probe her about this note." No employer ever asked me about it, but I did get asked about it when I bought my car.

People have different ways of going back to work. I had no history. I made up something I knew I could do. I said I worked for my family. I've actually had employers call to verify this, but only one or two.

So be sure to pick your references carefully. Make sure they will say what you want them to say. Hope this helps!




I have just gone to my hearing for disability and they feel I am ready to go back to work. They are reviewing my case to get me on a program to assist me in the transition.

Before you go off SSI or SSD get with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor so they can get you on a program. There is a PASS that I'm trying to get on. That stands for a program that assists you so you can still collect while you are working if you are starting your own business.

If you are just trying to go back to work you can get on a 301 program that will let you make a certain amount for a year and if you can't handle it working, you won't have to apply again for disability.

If you bring up the on the web you can browse through the pamphlets and download information on programs to help you become self-sufficient. I emailed off the site to someone asking them about any programs available and she emailed me back a list of pamphlets to get. ssa publications #05-10095, 05-11017, 05-10050 & ob-10022 are the ones I printed out. Or you can call the 1-800 number in your phone book and ask them to send them to you and set an appointment to talk to a case worker at your local office. good luck with it. - jacki