UntitledHi! My name is Natasha and I work for PolicyWorks. I am the Ambassador/Peer Mentor for University of California Berkeley. In spring of 2014, I was enrolled in Paul Hippolitus’ Professional Development and Disability Course. This class changed my life! I learned many things from this course. My favorite topics were the social security topic and when Peggy Klaus came to class as a guest speaker, I gained great self-confidence after taking this course. I learned that despite my multiple disabilities, I am able to work and I will not be discriminated against because of my disabilities. I consider myself and I have been told to be a very outgoing and giving person. I am able to get along with everyone that has come into my life’s path. I love to extend myself and help those in need.

I started working for PolicyWorks in August 2014, I was very excited to get my very first paying job but at the same time very scared and nervous about losing my Medicare/Medi-cal benefits. I was reassured by my PolicyWorks team and staff at UC Berkeley that everything was going to be okay. I just needed to follow some steps to ensure that I would still be eligible for my social security income, and my Medicare/Medi-cal insurance. The steps that I took were:

After 2 weeks of being employed, I received my first pay stub. I took a copy of that to my local Social Security Administration Office and explained to them that I had started working. I also told them my hourly pay and that I get paid biweekly. At this visit, I was told about the 9 month Trial Work Period. You automatically get enrolled in this program if you qualify.
I have been enrolled in the Trial Work Period for five months now, I was told at my last visit at the social security office that for one of the previous months I had gone over in payment and I had used up one of my trial work months. The Social Security officer reassured me and told me this was okay. I just needed to be careful and watch how much money I make so that I can still receive social security and medical benefits.
I also went to my local Medi-cal office and explained to them that I started working and showed them a copy of my pay stub as well.
It is recommended by the Social Security Administration that you submit a copy of your pay stub to them and to Medi-cal as well. You can either mail it in to your local respective offices or hand it in personally. I like to hand in all documentation because I have requested them to sign and stamp each pay stub as this is proof that they have received it.
I highly recommend all persons with disabilities to find some type of work. It is a life changing experience. It will not only help you gain experience but it can open many doors to your independence!

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Advice From a Young Professional

The Basics

“Trial Work Period” refers to the duration of time where a recipient of Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) can test their ability to work by concurrently earning wages and receiving benefits. The Trial Work Period lasts for nine  months. Months counted for the Trial Work Period occur in a 60-month rolling timeframe and do not need to be consecutive.