Maintaining public benefits to cover medical care, food, shelter, and clothing are incredibly important for an individual with special needs. Also important is to live a life of purpose and structure.
Some adults with special needs find purpose and structure through employment.
However, this can get tricky. It may be hard to know if a job will be suitable or even doable. If it is not, the individual can find him/herself unemployed and without benefits. Fortunately, there are a few safety nets to protect the special needs adult so s/he can experience the perks of employment. Likewise, the community and employers can experience the advantages of hiring an individual with disabilities.
The best-known program to explore employment is Ticket to Work.
It’s a bit complicated and involves more math than we feel like doing so be sure to click on the links throughout this article when your brain is ready.
In a nutshell, Ticket to Work is set up so an individual can ease into employment without the risk of losing benefits if the job and individual are not compatible. This easing in phase is called the trial period and during the trial period an adult with disabilities can earn up to $780/month. The trial period ends if payroll exceeds $780 nine times in a 5 year period. Once the trial period is over, the clock resets to a three-year period of time where the individual can immediately regain benefits if less than $1,090/month is made. See, we told you a lot of numbers were involved. There are also annual limits and the numbers change if under 22 so, yeah, more numbers.
Go to the Social Security Administration website for the full scoop.
The below video from SSA gives a nice overview of how the program works for men named Ben: