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Every month, across the country, thousands of people apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. These benefits are provided to people who can no longer work due to a disability.
In general, to be eligible for SSD benefits, an individual must be both medically and financially eligible. In other words, you must be physically unable to work and unable to support yourself while out of work.
According to the Social Security Administration’s most recent monthly statistical snapshot, more than 14,000 individuals were collecting SSD benefits in the U.S.
Because of the huge numbers of people who need these benefits, it has become increasingly difficult to have one’s application approved.
This is why our Social Security disability lawyers encourages people in Orlando, Winter Park and throughout Florida who believe they are eligible, to get help from an experienced SSD benefits attorney. An attorney can assist you through every stage in the process, including representing you if your application is initially denied.
However, even when an application is approved, a person may find that the benefits payments provided – disabled workers receive, on average, $1,165.18 per month, the SSA reports – simply fail to cover basic needs, including housing, utilities, groceries and other bills that can pile up each month.
As a result, many SSD recipients may want to return to school and become employable in another field of work so they can raise their monthly income.
However, if you are in this situation, you may have a legitimate concern: If I go to school, will I lose my right to receive disability benefits?
The reality is that the SSA may, in fact, consider discontinuing your benefits if you attend school or enroll in a training program. The SSA may find that, since you are healthy enough to go to school or get training, you should be healthy enough to work. Thus, you no longer meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled.”
Of course, our law firm understands that your ability to advance your education and skills is far different than your ability to work – especially if you previously held a labor-intensive position.
However, the SSA is looking to reduce its costs wherever possible. The agency may not see your situation the same way as you do.
To check up on SSD benefits recipients, the SSA performs a Continuing Disability Review (CDR). Generally, CDRs are performed every three years.
If the SSA has reason to believe that your condition may have improved, a CDR may be performed sooner than every third year. On the other hand, if the SSA has reason to believe that your condition is not likely to have improved since your last review, it may perform the CDR less frequently than every three years.
In addition to a CDR, the SSA will also conduct a redetermination. This is an analysis of a benefits recipient’s income, resources and living arrangements. The goal is to determine whether a recipient still meets the financial eligibility requirements as well as medical eligibility requirements.
If you are facing an impending CDR or redetermination, it will help to retain the services of a Social Security disability lawyer – especially if you are concerned that your enrollment in a school could threaten your ongoing receipt of benefits.
Of course, the best way to protect your benefits may be to participate in the SSA’s Ticket to Work program. We will explain how this program works.
In an effort to help people get off of SSD benefits and back into the workforce, the SSA has initiated this program. The goal is to encourage individuals who are currently receiving benefits to give re-entering the workforce a try.
Outside the program, people who return to work may automatically lose their benefits without notice or after a CDR is performed. However, if you take part in the Ticket to Work program, you will not face an automatic loss of SSD benefits.
In fact, while you are participating in the program and making “timely progress” in returning to work, you will not be subject to a medical eligibility review.
In addition, there are work incentives available to individuals through the Ticket to Work program, so they can maximize their income before going off benefits.
There are many avenues they can pursue in the program, including working with a local employment network or vocational rehabilitation agency. You can find one nearest to your location by going here.
While these programs may not be higher education in the traditional sense, they can open doors to a new and better career and help to reintegrate a person into the workforce so they can better support themselves and their families.
The Ticket to Work program could be an excellent option for those who want to further their careers through education but cannot risk losing access to SSD benefits.
If you would like to learn more, you can call (866) 968-7842 or (866) 833-2967.
Our law firm is dedicated to helping disabled individuals to receive and keep the SSD benefits they need and deserve.
We believe that everyone has the right to pursue an education – even while getting disability benefits – and to seek ways to improve life for themselves and their families.
Attorney Frank M. Eidson takes a personal, hands-on approach to each case that our law firm handles. He can guide you through the process of applying for SSD benefits and fight for you if your application is initially denied. Additionally, he can be by your side as you go through continuing disability reviews.
Our law firm understands the challenges that disabled individuals in Orlando, Winter Park and other areas of Florida face – even after they start receiving monthly benefits payments. Our goal is to use our legal skills and experience to help you through a stressful time and to help you keep your life on track.
To schedule a free review of your case, simply give us a call or reach us online today.