Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cornell University does SSA one better re: WORK INCENTIVES for those w/ mental health challenges receiving SSI/ SSDI

Cornell University has created an excellent set of documents for people who want to work but are afraid to re: receiving SSI or SSDI and fearing they will simply 'lose it all' should they step out and try to work.

For a list of their publications associated w/ disability benefits (cut and paste this into your browser):


To contact Cornell people re: questions associated w/ disability:

Contact Us
Thomas Golden
201 ILR Extension Building
Ithaca, New York 14853
Tel: 607-255-2731
Fax: 607-255-2763
Email: tpg3@cornell.edu

There was a presentation at American Psychological Association meeting in Boston, August, 2008, by Raymond Cebula, JD, from Cornell, as well as some of his colleagues who were psychologists.

The acronym page was worth a lot in of itself. See it here: (for the life of me I cannot this link thing down so cut and paste this into your browser):



When people who are disabled try to return to work, they move through what is called a Trial Work Period (TWP). This is only available to people who receive SSDI---NOT SSI (e mail conversation w/ Ida Campbell, SSA/ NC: ida.campbell@ssa.gov : work incentives coordinator NC). There are protections afforded people during this phase.

Trial Work Period (TWP)

"Unless medical recovery is an issue, individuals receiving Social Security based on disability are entitled to a nine-month TWP, which provides opportunities to test work skills while maintaining full benefit checks regardless of any income earned. The TWP is a work incentive and begins the first month that individuals are entitled to Title II benefits or file applications for disability benefits (whichever is later). Effective January 2006, only months during which an
individual earns over $620 or works over 80 hours in self-employment are
service months and count as TWP months."

What I have found re: my clients who have been disabled and are attempting to return to work, is that they are frequently given only pieces or bits of information by SSA.

This matter of Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) was NEVER given to a client of mine prior to vast manipulations of her SSI/ SSDI/ medicare/ Medicaid----putting, it seems----all of it at risk which of course meant not knowing how much money would be coming in from month to month which of course made her mental health more unstable.

EPE is ONLY available to people who receive SSDI (per Ida Campbell: see above)

"Extended Period of Eligibility (for persons still medically disabled)
36 consecutive months

• Begins the first month after the 9th TWP month
• Receives no cash benefits for months earning over SGA (2006 = $860/$1,450)
after the 3 month grace period
• If work stops or earnings drop below SGA, receive benefits and any earnings.

reference: Cornell

Now, if you go to the Social Security Administration Red Book, which has to do w/ the matter of people who are disabled returning to work, and you type in the 'search' box "Extended period of Eligibility", you get a confusing array of FAQ's, etc., that don't address the really very basic issue.

This is what you get at the SSA Red Book:


Moreover, recently a client of mine was happenstancedly informed that she could BUY HER MEDICARE to the tune of less than $100/ month even though her medicare was to end!!! Oh that she had been told that sooner (cut and paste into your browser):



"It is possible for individuals with disabilities to buy into the Medicare program
once the extended Medicare coverage is exhausted.

(cut and paste into your browser)


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