Gillette Law - August 2018

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As Labor Day approaches and we prepare to celebrate the hardworking men and women of our nation, some of the individuals we have helped to be approved for Social Security disability benefits over the years may be considering attempting to return to work despite continuing disabilities. We want to help all our clients to achieve their goals. Returning to employment is a huge step toward greater independence and opportunity. However, the fear of losing the support of Social Security benefits can hold many people back from attempting to return to work. It’s a very real concern. I’ve had clients who have pursued job and educational opportunities despite their disability, only to lose their benefits upon undergoing a Continuing Disability Review. This is the Catch-22 many people with disabilities find themselves in, where an attempt at bettering their situation may result in losing their primary means of stability. It’s an incredibly frustrating situation when people are punished for trying to build a future for themselves. That’s why I want people to know they have options. The Social Security Administration does recognize the need for employment services and support for individuals attempting to enter the workforce. In 1999, they put a program in place meant to bridge the gap: the Ticket to Work Program ( This program gives thousands of people every year the opportunity to seek employment or educational opportunities without risking their benefits. Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program offered by the Social Security Administration that can help people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits and who are interested in returning to work or working for the first time. Individuals receive support throughout their journey to financial independence. As long as you are making good progress toward your employment goal, Social Security will not review your case to see if you still have a disability. Not only that, but you may continue to access your cash and Medicare and/or Medicaid health care benefits as you transition to full-time work; and, you may be able to return to benefits if you are no longer able to work due to your disability.

unable to work. Work is more than just a paycheck. It can be a social avenue, a point of pride, a means of expression, and a path toward new skills and higher learning. The vast majority of my clients want the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest and to work if they are able.

Work is more than just a paycheck. It can be a social avenue, a point of pride, a means of expression, and a path toward new skills and higher learning.”

But recovering from or adapting to a disability takes time, and finding a job that fits their needs after being out of the workforce can be incredibly difficult. That’s why the Ticket to Work program is so important. The cynical among my readers may be asking, “What’s Brian’s angle? Do we need a lawyer to apply for this? Is he going to end this article saying we should give him a call and schedule a consultation?” No! Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program offered by Social Security. If you decide to participate, getting started is easy! First, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 / 866-833-2967 (TTY) to verify your eligibility. If you want to call our office, we’ll be happy to point you in the direction of some great resources, but we certainly won’t charge you for that! The truth is, I hate to see people trapped in what can feel like an impossible situation. As our nation gets ready to celebrate the value and the dignity of work, I want to tell the people I’ve represented and gotten to know over the years that there is a path forward. The way I see it, my job doesn’t stop after your claim for disability benefits has been approved. I want to do all I can to help you find success.

N e x t D o o r Bu

It can be difficult to understand the deep frustration or guilt that is often experienced by an individual who is disabled and deemed

–Brian Gillette

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