Landing a new job or returning to work after a lengthy absence can trigger many questions and even bring on feelings of apprehension. While employers have made great strides in granting candidate requests to address the ever-evolving employment landscape, employees still wonder: What can I expect? Will my employer create an environment that allows me to have balance yet flourish? Can I ask for what I need to be successful?
Findings from research organizations suggest that prospective employees have more latitude today than in recent years – particularly during the Great Resignation when millions of workers left their jobs to seek higher pay and better work environments. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the majority of American workers who quit a job in 2021 cited low pay (63%), a lack of opportunities for advancement (63%) and feeling disrespected (57%) as their top reasons. The survey also reports that those who quit and found new jobs are likely to say their compensation is better, and they now have more balance and flexibility as well as more advancement potential.
Entering Or Reentering The Workforce
As these findings show, workers are now more than ever able to request and receive flexibility, better benefits, higher compensation and special accommodations if necessary. That's great news for us at Allsup Employment Services (AES) because it's our mission to help people get back to work after a serious illness or injury. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that among people with disabilities ages 16-34, only 37% are employed.
What Can You Expect When You Return To Work?
Whether you are starting your first job or going back to work after an extended medical absence, it helps to be aware of federal programs that may prove beneficial.
First, remember that employees and their employers pay Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll taxes, which help fund Social Security. These taxes help qualify an employee for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if they find they are no longer able to work because of a severe illness or disability. While younger, healthy workers may not anticipate something that could prevent them from working and earning income, it can and does happen. In fact, the Kessler Foundation reports that over 5.5 million workers, or 3.9% of the total U.S. workforce, have disabilities.
SSDI is a lifeline for people who find they can no longer work due to their condition or disability. If they meet Social Security's eligibility criteria and go through the disability application and approval process, they will receive monthly income (the 2023 monthly average is $1,483) as well as Medicare benefits and possibly dependent benefits. One little-known, yet essential program available to all SSDI recipients is the free Ticket to Work (TTW) Program.
The Value Of Employment Networks
Employment Networks play a crucial role in helping SSDI recipients transition back to work. Whether it's a lack of confidence from being out of work for so long, a fear of jeopardizing their medical progress or simply feeling unsure about the job search and interview process, the road back to work can be unsettling, even scary. Trained vocational case managers not only ease these anxieties, but also provide much-needed support and resources along the way.
With the help of Social Security-approved Employment Networks like AES, SSDI beneficiaries can return to work if they are medically able. Social Security's TTW Program provides significant benefits and protections for those re-entering the labor force. In the first year, the Trial Work Period, they can earn unlimited income and still retain SSDI benefits. Medicare coverage will also remain for more than seven years.
This year and beyond, newcomers will join the workforce with more requirements and expectations that employers will strive to meet. At the same time, people with disabilities who stepped away from the job and collected SSDI benefits can take advantage of Social Security's TTW Program as they transition to working again. And, as they do, AES will be there to help them find employment that aligns with their abilities and interests.
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