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What are 'section 301 continued payments' for SSDI in New Jersey?

New Jersey residents may be surprised to hear that if an individual qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) he or she may not receive benefits forever. It is possible for people receiving SSDI to regain their health and return to the workforce. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has various ways to incentivize recipient's attempts to get back to work.

One of these incentives is "continued payment under section 301." This program allows recipients who have recovered enough from their disabilities to be able to work to complete vocational rehabilitation programs that will enhance their ability to remain at work, without losing the benefits they may be depending on before beginning to work again. Usually, if the SSA decides that a person receiving SSDI has had medical improvement such that he or she no longer meets the definition of "disabled" (or a child receiving disability benefits does not meet the adult disability requirements when he or she has come of age), then his or her benefits will be stopped. However, if that person is in a vocational rehabilitation program targeted at keeping the individual off the disability rolls for good, he or she may continue to receive payments under section 301.

Basically, to qualify for these continuing payments, the recipient must be enrolled in an appropriate course of vocational rehabilitation, such as the SSA's "Ticket to Work" program or with another vocational rehabilitation agency that uses a specific "Individualized Plan for Employment." The person may also have an individualized written employment plan with an employer's support services section, or, younger adults, an individualized education program of some kind. It is important that there be a specific plan in writing that is tailored to meet the goals of the individual recipient and keep him or her at work and off disability payments.

The continuing payments under section 301 will continue until the individual finishes or stops participating in the program, or until the SSA decides that the program will not make it more likely that the individual will be permanently off the disability rolls. The idea behind these payments is to ensure that people attempting to keep themselves in the workforce are not forced to prematurely leave a program before completion because their benefits have stopped and they must work immediately, which may make it more likely that they end up right back having to receive SSDI in the future.

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