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Why aren't more disabled workers looking for jobs?

Suffering a serious illness or injury can throw your life into chaos. You can be in serious pain and unable to work indefinitely, making your family and financial situations quite complicated.

It is very common for many people in this situation to struggle enormously with feelings of stress, fear, isolation and depression. Some people believe that getting back to work can help disabled workers regain some sense of independence, pride and personal connections, which may very well be true. However, only a very small amount of people who are collecting disability benefits end up going back to work.

This is a subject that was explored in this article in The Atlantic earlier this year. The article took a comprehensive look at the many challenges facing programs like Ticket to Work which are aimed at getting SSDI recipients back to work. Unfortunately, these programs are largely unsuccessful and critics are looking at why this might be.

Though there are resources in place to help people find work, the fact is that people don't have to go back to work. After spending months or years even trying to secure benefits in the first place, workers may just want to take some time to focus on their health and recovery while collecting benefits.

There are also fears connected to the loss of benefits once earning gets to a certain point. Many people feel that collecting benefits indefinitely is a much safer and more stable route than taking the risk of getting a job which can be lost.

Another reason such a small percentage of SSDI recipients go back to work could hinge on the fact that getting a job may require a person to get additional training or certifications. While these things can ultimately improve a person's life, it can be incredibly daunting to try and get back to learning new things after being out of the workforce for some time.

Critics of current programs argue that unless more is done to incentivize the prospect of going back to work, disability recipients will have more reason to ignore employment opportunities.

What do you think? Would you want to go back to work after suffering a disabling injury or illness, or would it be easier to just collect SSDI and stay unemployed?

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