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HIV POS and going back to work.
Jun 15, 2012

Mr. Chambers , I have been reading your answers to several people who are wanting to go back to work. One thing you seem to always forget and thats " What if I go back to work, and find out I cannot do it, after the fact that I let my SSDI and or SSI go and how to get back on it. In this day and age, it is harder for a person with HIV/AIDS to get back on disability. I feel that you need to make people aware of this. Just think of how many persons will follow your advice then find themselves a year later having to get support from NO ONE . This is a FACT. Thanks

Response from Mr. Chambers

Thank you for your suggestion. You are certainly correct that one of the main questions to be answered is, "What if I go back to work and can't make it?"

However, I had hoped that I explained to those writers that Social Security allows plenty of time for a person to "experiment" with work before benefits are terminated and only started again by going through the entire application process. In my experience, no one who returns to work while on SSDI or SSI is terminated a year after doing so, and they shouldn't be given the programs available.

Under SSDI, you have nine months of Trial Work Months in which you can earn as much as you can and still receive full benefits. After that, you will still get benefits as long as your countable income is under $1,010 per month. If it is over $1,010, your benefits do stop, but you remain in an Extended Period of Eligibility for three more years, during which it is very easy to restart your benefits if your health prevents you from continuing to work. Medicare extends even beyond that.

Under SSI, benefits reduce as your wages increase and you stay on SSI. If your income becomes high enough to stop SSI benefits completely, you will still remain an active SSI recipient even though you do not get a monthly check from SSI.

Compared with the private insurance disability plans I deal with, Social Security is far more generous and its return to work programs do take into consideration the fact that someone may try to work but not be able to continue.

I apologize if I misled anyone into thinking otherwise. And thank you again for your comments. I greatly appreciate it when readers make suggestions that improve my responses.

Jacques



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