You’ve worked hard at polishing your resume and your interview skills. Now you have a job offer. Congratulations! Returning to work and going through the job search process can sometimes make you want to give up. But you persevered and have landed a job and are now on a path to self-sufficiency. As you transition to the workplace, remember that your Ticket to Work (Ticket) service provider can continue to offer you supports and services. Many Employment Networks (EN) have Benefits Counselors on staff. These trained professionals can discuss your Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI) and Social Security Work Incentives that you’re eligible for as you start earning income.
So now that you have the job offer, there are a few questions you want to ask yourself before accepting:
- How does this position help me meet my work goal?
- Do I understand the responsibilities of the job?
- Do the wages or salary help me toward my earnings goals?
As a rule of thumb, there are some questions that are off limits during the interview process. Now that you have a job offer, be sure to ask your new employer these questions prior to signing any offer agreement.
- What is my total compensation package?
- Make sure you understand what your hourly wage or your salary will be as well as any additional compensation, such as medical benefits. If you receive a job offer that includes medical benefits, it’s a good idea to ask when those benefits will start.
- Who will my supervisor be?
- You may have discussed this during the interview process, but it’s a good idea to know who you’ll report to. That person will be able to give you the best overview of your responsibilities and will be the one evaluating your work once you start.
- Who should I discuss reasonable accommodations with?
- If you’ve made the choice to disclose your disability to request an accommodation, knowing where the request should be submitted can help make the process easier. This person may be your supervisor, a different manager or someone in Human Resources.
Returning to work? 5 Steps to Take After Getting a Job Offer
- Understand the Job Offer
A job offer is a cause for celebration. It’s also easy to get so excited you forget to ask the right questions before you accept the position. When the phone rings, take a deep breath, and hold off on saying “yes” until you feel confident you understand the job offer. Of course, you’ll ask about compensation. Compensation isn’t only your salary. Most employers offer a compensation package that includes salary, insurance benefits, paid time off, and in some cases, retirement benefits. There’s nothing wrong with asking about any of these things. In fact, not asking up front could cause an awkward first few weeks at your new job.
- Getting to Work
Another task that you need to have completed before accepting a job is figuring out how you’ll get to work. If you have your own transportation, make sure you know how far the job is from home. Figure out how long it takes to get there during heavy traffic. Also, consider what you’ll potentially spend each week for gas. Is the commute something you can manage? If you rely on public transportation, make sure you know which bus route will get you there on time. Using the Google Maps Transit option on a computer or mobile application can tell you the best routes to take and what time to leave home to ensure you arrive to work on time. Starting a new job can be stressful and you don’t want to add to the stress by having trouble getting to work.
- How the Job Affects Your Benefits
Before you accept a job, talk with your Ticket to Work representative. Their priority is helping you take advantage of employment opportunities. They also help you understand how it will affect your disability benefits. This is important so that you are aware if benefits end up being reduced due to employment. Also, you may qualify for work incentive programs that help minimize reductions to your benefits.
- Review the Company’s Disability Policy
Before returning to work, review your company’s long-term disability policy. It will outline the steps you need to complete to return to your position and whether your disability benefits will continue after you have resumed work. Look for an occupational clause in the long-term disability policy. These clauses determine when and how you can receive disability benefits from your employer. The two different types of occupational clauses are:
- Own-Occupation Clause (OCC): You can receive employer disability benefits if a medical condition prevents you from fulfilling the responsibilities of your job.
- Any-Occupation Clause (ACC): You can receive benefits if a medical condition prevents you from fulfilling the responsibilities of any job.
You may be able to return to work in a different position while also receiving benefits if your company’s disability policy includes an own-occupation clause. If your company’s policy includes an any-occupation clause, you can receive benefits if you are unable to work.
The number of hours you can work and the tasks you can perform after returning to work will be outlined in your company’s disability policy. There may also be limits to how much you can earn while still receiving employer disability benefits.
- Make Sure You’re Ready
It’s important to consider whether you can realistically perform your previous job duties without causing further harm to your health. Be sure to assess your own mental readiness to take on a work routine. Allow yourself the necessary accommodations to make your transition more tolerable. Returning after being off for any significant amount of time can be overwhelming, so it’s important to give yourself what you need to cope, whether it’s quiet breaks to regroup, working from home part of the time or just easing back into the workplace slowly.
The most important thing to do during the whole process of accepting a job offer and returning to work is to keep the SSA informed of what you are doing. If you return to work without informing the SSA of your intentions and continue to draw Social Security disability benefits, you can face stiff penalties and consequences. Once you evaluate the offer and accept the job, you’ll want to be ready for the first day. You got the offer because you showed you have the skills and did well in your interview. Take some time to ensure that you are ready to get going on your path to success.
To learn more about Workplace Learning Solution’s Ticket to Work Program visit the WLS-ADEN ticket to work resource page
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