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Return to Work
Jan 26, 2012

Ever since being placed on SSDI due to an Aids diagnosis in 2008, all I could think about was returning to the work force and finding my place in the community again instead of the food banks and charity handouts. I am terrified of losing my ability to pay for meds (currently out of pocket approx $5K/yr), my medical care, and all the regular bills and taxes of the working kind as I have only been qualified and paying for Medicare for one year. Are there any insurance companies you know of that cover AIDS meds and the more 'generous' portions of doctor care that I might research and 'backdoor' my applications into companies they hold policies with? What would you reccomend to someone in my situation currently on Medicare A&B and Prescription plan D (doughnut hole nightmare) taking Atripla in generally good health otherwise?

Response from Mr. Chambers

I can appreciate your desire to return to work, and I certainly understand that returning can be just as scary as when you first went out on disability.

Being on SSDI, remember that you have a nine-month Trial Work Period (cumulative, not consecutive) that you can earn as much as you want without affecting your SSDI benefits or your Medicare coverage. This can give you a good idea whether you can handle a full-time job five days a week/week after week. Any month where your monthly "countable" income exceeds $720 counts as a Trial Work Month.

After you use up your nine months of the Trial Work Period, your benefits will continue as long as your "countable" income is $1,010 per month or less.

Medicare stays in place through the Trial Work Period and for the 93 months after that.

You can find more details on returning to work, how to calculate "countable" income, and keeping your Medicare in Social Security's The Red Book - 2012.

Good luck, Jacques



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