Debunking the Myths about Disability Benefits and Work
There are a lot of myths floating around about how work will affect disability benefits and health care. Here are the 4 most popular myths and why they are just plain wrong.
Myth Number 1: I will lose my health care coverage: If I try to go to work, I will automatically lose my Medicare or Medicaid.
This just isn’t true. First of all, as long as you keep receiving a benefit check of any amount you will keep your health insurance. And, even if your earnings rise to a level that you stop receiving benefits, you can keep your health insurance.
Myth Number 2: If I go to work, Social Security will perform a medical review on me and I will lose my benefits
Once again, this is a myth. If you use your Ticket to help you go to work, Social Security CANNOT perform what is known as a Continuing Disability Review to see whether you still have a disability. Social Security will postpone doing a medical review on you when your Ticket is in use and you are making progress toward your work goals, even if you would otherwise be scheduled to have one.
If you don’t use your Ticket, but have been receiving SSDI benefits for at least 24 months, Social Security cannot perform a medical review on you just because you go to work and start earning money. Social Security will of course look at how much you are earning to see if your benefit level needs to be adjusted, but cannot review your medical condition. You will still have a medical review of your case when it was regularly scheduled, but going to work and earning money will not cause Social Security to review your case sooner than it otherwise would have.
Myth Number 3: If I go to work then have to stop working, I will have to reapply for benefits all over again. It took me forever to be approved for benefits and I cannot afford to have to wait that long again so I should not try to work.
Not true. Let’s say that you lose your benefits because of work, and then your disability becomes worse and you have to stop. If this happens within 5 years of your last benefit, you do not have to file a new application. You can just ask us to start your benefit again under a special Work Incentive called Expedited Reinstatement.
Under Expedited Reinstatement, you only need to fill out an abbreviated form. Social Security will then quickly make a decision about whether you qualify to have your benefits started again, usually within 6 months. Social Security will also pay you something called provisional benefits for up to 6 months while they are making a decision. These provisional benefits will start at the time you file your request for your benefits to be reinstated. If Social Security ends up deciding you are not entitled to receive benefits again, you will not have to pay back any of the provisional benefits you received.
If you receive SSDI, you might not even have to use Expedited Reinstatement to get benefits back. Within the first 36 months of when your Trial Work Period ends, SSDI has a Work Incentive called the Extended Period of Eligibility. Within those 36 months, all you need to do is tell SSA that you aren’t working anymore and your benefits can be started again.
Myth Number 4: There is no help available to assist me in going to work. I have to do this all on my own.
Once again, this is just plain false. To name just a few, there are:
- The Ticket to Work program
- Work Incentives
- Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Projects
- Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security
“Debunking the 3 Biggest Myths about Disability Benefits and Work” downloadable PDF flyer.