Zephyrhills, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 24, 2013 - A congressional committee held a hearing into programs that encourage disability beneficiaries to return to work.
Bob Williams, a Social Security Administration official, testified before the Social Security subcommittee of the House Ways and Means committee. He runs the SSA's Ticket to Work program, which is designed to help recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance to re-enter the workforce.
“A robust effort to help disability beneficiaries return to work is a key part of a lasting SSDI program,” said Zephyrhills social security attorney Robert Alston. “When someone is out of the workforce for a number of years and wishes to return to work despite a disability that may be ongoing, the challenges can be enormous – especially considering the overall weak job market in the U.S.”
Williams said that some 4 million disabled Americans are employed, and most earn less than $20,000 per year. He said that policymakers need to help them find better jobs that enable them to support themselves.
Williams has cerebral palsy and communicates using a computer-generated voice. Lawmakers praised his desire to work hard despite his condition and criticized those who would benefit from SSDI without having serious disabilities.
Rep. Xavier Vecerra, D-CA, suggested the government needs to “go after” those who abuse the system, saying they “ruin it for everyone.”
Rep. Jim Renacci, R-OH, recalled regularly golfing with an SSDI recipient who carried his own golf clubs, saying the man could have returned to work, but simply did not want to. Renacci also quoted a report that said 40 percent of beneficiaries want to return to work, but just 0.5 percent actually leave the program. Renacci said lawmakers should figure out how to better serve that 40 percent.
The Ticket to Work program provides job training, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement services. All SSDI and Supplemental Security Income recipients are eligible. A trial work period protects workers from losing their benefits while they re-adjust to working life. During the first nine months, benefits will continue no matter how much workers earn. After that, a ceiling on earnings applies, beyond which benefits are suspended. Workers are also exempt from Continuing Disability Reviews while enrolled in Ticket to Work.
Robert Alston is a partner in the firm of Alston & Baker, P. A. To contact a Zephyrhills Social Security lawyer, Zephyrhills accident attorney, or Zephyrhills divorce lawyer, visit http://www.alstonbakerlaw.com.
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