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i'm thinking of getting off ssdi but dont think i can
Apr 10, 2012

Hi here is the deal i have been on ssdi for at least 10 years now. I have had a full blown Aids diagnosis for about 12 years. what i have been doing for the past 7 years is going to school and working part time as a nurses AID in home care. I just got my second Associate degree in December. Friday i took my state boards and now i am an licensed RN. I have been living in an apartment with my mother for the past 12 years and sadly my mother died from a massive stroke!!1 its horrible and i am heart broken.. i am broke this apartment is too expensive. i am not in public housing nor do i want to move into public housing ... i work in public housing and i am sorry it is not for me ! my school loans will be due soon. my question is can i afford to go off ssdi? is there a shut off for ADAP? and will i even be able to work full time? my back is ruined from this job. my legs hurt all the time? i was thinking mom would live till 95-110 instead of 84.. she was very healthy... i can put off my loans by going for my BSN at an online university, which is what i planned on doing anyway.. can you help me? I am kinda in a panic here.. what happens if i find i cant do the job or workload? or i get sick? can i go back on ssdi or will i be homeless...i am 50 and i live in Rhode Island...please help and thanks Tom M. RN

Response from Mr. Chambers

Tom, first congratulations on becoming an RN. That's quite an accomplishment, especially given all you have gone through. Also, my condolences on the loss of your mother.

Before you actually go back to work, I recommend you first see how you can handle a regular schedule. You have been out of the work force so some time so this will be a big adjustment for your body. With your legs and back problems, you need to make sure you can physically handle a regular work schedule.

Get you get out and do something on a regular basis. It can be volunteer work, it can be just going to the library to read the paper. But get up and go, every morning at a set time. Do that for a week or two and see how your body handles it. You don't have to stay out for eight hours, at least at first, but you do need to get up and go out on a regular basis as if going to work. Once you go to work you will be expected to be there every day, not just when you feel up to it.

SSDI offers some generous benefits to encourage you to try going back to work once you are ready to actually work at a paid job. They provide 9 Trial Work Months (cumulative not consecutive) when you can earn whatever you are able to earn without affecting your benefits.

After those are used up, you will still be able to collect your SSDI benefits and stay on Medicare as long as your Countable Earnings does not exceed $1,010 per month (in 2012). Countable earnings are generally gross earnings less any out-of-pocket expenses for work related care, call Impairment Related Work Expenses or IRWEs.

Clearly this can get complicated so Social Security has put out an excellent book on going back to work and its impact on SSDI and Medicare (as well as SSI and Medicaid which you do not appear to be getting). It is called The Red Book available at this link.

Do NOT return to work until you read it and understand the rules. You do not want to end up with an overpayment of benefits when you were working too much and benefits should have stopped.

Treating patients as an RN requires a lot of standing and walking, so you may want to look for jobs, even part-time, that are more consulting and advising rather than direct patient care. Insurance companies, as well as medical facilities, utilize a lot of RNs in various desk jobs.

I realize you have a serious need for additional income, but you need to know what you are able to do and what the SSDI rules are before actually going back to work.

Good luck, Jacques The Red Book.



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