How do you return to work after being out of work and/or on disability so long?

Three years, my how time flies.  It seems not long ago I took my medical leave of absence.  Here it is three years later.  A brief background: after taking a medical leave of absence in may of 2008 I was unable to return to work when my time was up so I was told I had to quit my job so that I could return whenever I felt ready (I would be re-hirable).  I filed for my disability several months later, realizing I wasn’t going back.  Finally after a very long battle of denials & appeals I was awarded my disability.  Now here I am three years down the road and I feel that I am ready to try again.  It’s not that I haven’t tried before.  I tried three times while waiting on my disability to be approved to return to work. All attempts failed within a matter of a few days to a few weeks.  However this time is different.  I have had plenty of rest and recuperation.  My mind is more focused.  It is in a better place.

So how do you return to work after being out of the working world for so long?  This is what I did.  I got my resume together.  I looked online at the job sites, just to name a few. Plus it is always good to check your local classifieds. I also checked mine online, most places you can do that online too now.  I also got in touch with local temp services.  Most companies in my area only use temp services to hire you these days.  It took me about two weeks but once I got serious about it, it only took me a couple of days and I had a job.  If you still have trouble finding a job, if you are on disability, social security offers a service called Ticket to work.  A brief description how this program works: If you are wanting to return to work, the T2W will help you find a job and will go as far as to retrain you if necessary (within limits) into another field.  For more information on the T2W program the application for the T2W program you can find here  and the actual website for the T2W program is here .

Now there are a few things you need to know if you are on disability.  First, if you do find a job you have to let social security know that you are working and you will have to report your wages in to them.  However, just because you have found yourself a job does not mean you will lose your benefits right away.  There is a benefit called the Trial work period/program (TWP).   It states that you can make as much money as you can for up to 9 months without losing your benefits. At the end of the 9 months if you are still working then your TWP is over and you are taken off disability and you are considered able to work.  If however within those 9 months for some reason you lose your job then it is considered a failed work attempt and you continue to receive your benefits.  You can get more information on the TWP here .

Wow. What a week I’ve had.  After starting work Wednesday, I rushed home Wednesday night had a quick supper and rushed out the door for church.  Then got up and did it all again Thursday.  Came home Thursday night, made a nice supper then homework, showers for school the next day, a quick look at the computer and then finally bed.  Then finally Friday, just get through one more day.  But it was a long day.  It was daddys’ weekend so as soon as work is done had to rush home grab a quick bite, get bug off to her daddy’s.  Then it’s a 45 minute trip up the freeway to meet bee’s daddy.  Then a 45 minutes trip home.  And finally, I can walk in the door drop on the couch and say WHEW! Its all done…time to rest and relax for two days, just me and the pups…. But wait…. I still have to check emails, check facebook, I haven’t been on in a while…. O-M-G!!!!  This work thing is harder than I remember….. but at the end of it all, to be honest…. I haven’t felt this alive in…well I can’t remember when.  I had forgetten how much I missed the fast paced, always going, never stopping life.  I am definitely in my element again, and it feels great to be ALIVE!!! ~~~Angel

4 thoughts on “How do you return to work after being out of work and/or on disability so long?

  1. You go, girl!! So glad to hear that you are back in the saddle again!! I’ve been out of work due to BP for over a year now, and I have just one thing to say about it — IT SUCKS!! I function so much better when I’m in a working environment — no social isolation, which leads to depression, which leads to suicidal thoughts, etc. Best of luck to you as you embark on your new career!!

  2. Angel,

    I got something in the mail recently from SS saying that I qualified for their “BOND” program, which was a further incentive to help people who are on disability benefits go back to work. It allows you to phase out your social security as you become more and more capable of handling a job. I don’t remember the details and I threw it away after calling them to remind them I was fired last year. But I am sure they have information on the social security website about this new program.

    You and I sound an awful lot alike! Only I was out for 12 years before finally going back to work. Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t work out. But every job is different and the job I took had a lot of bad things about it, so it’s better in the long run for me. I hope you have a different experience!


  3. Robin,

    There is a Facebook group for the Ask a Bipolar website – well two actually. One is a community page and one is a closed group. Both are great support and social contact through the computer for people who can’t go out to work. The group especially has helped me immensely.

    Good luck to you!


  4. Your story gives me hope. After being on disability myyself for three years… I have lost all my confidence even though I had worked for 30 years prior. There are days now I think I might be able to try again but fear is paralyzing.

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