Workforce Wednesday: Training helps disabled teens become young professionals
If you or someone you know receives disability benefits, you are still eligible to work. The rules about how much, however, can be confusing — particularly for teens transitioning into the workforce.
"Often times parents have worked really hard to get their children established in benefits, and they're very concerned about their kids losing it," Larrisa Cummings of the Alaska Work Incentive Planning and Assistance Project told Daybreak Wednesday. "But there are some really powerful work incentives and work rules that transition-age youth can make use of in order to work at a higher level and not lose their benefits.
The University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Human Development has organized a two-hour online training on July 9, aimed at helping parents and teens navigate those rules. Cummings notes that the number of hours disability beneficiaries can work, and how much they can make, will depend on their benefits program, individual needs and personal situation.
"There's Social Security Disability Insurance that we pay in to, so then if we're injured or disabled then it's like an insurance program. And then there's Supplemental Security Income that is needs-based, income-limited benefit," Cummings explained. "And both of those programs have different work rules."
In addition to the online training, WIPA offers free benefits counseling for anyone who is working on benefits or wants to. The Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work program also offers a helpline where beneficiaries can pose questions.
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