Help! I am a 47 year male who has always worked as a driver. I hurt my back unloading my truck when some boxes fell off and knocked me down. In fact, tests show that I have three herniated disks L3, L4, & L5. There is no way I will ever be able to sit for any length of time and driving is all I know how to do. I am on SSDI. I am told that if I have a Ticket To Work that I might get free job help. I am afraid to call Social Security because if I get a job I might lose my cash disability payments.-Billy in Florida
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Dear Billy,

Sorry to hear you were injured and I can certainly understand your fear of losing your SSDI payments. First of all you cannot lose any benefits just by calling the Social Security Administration and asking questions. But let me save you a call and let you know that you (may be) are automatically eligible for the Ticket To Work Program if you receive SSDI . The wonderful thing about this federal return to work program is that you do not lose your disability determination or even your cash benefits while you try working at a job. You can earn money from work AND still receive SSDI benefits. Learn more at .

Once you decide you want to return to work, you assign your Ticket to a Social Security Administration Certified Employment Network who, if they work like Employment Options, will assign you a personal vocational counselor.

Without any cost to you, the counselor will spend time getting to know you – your past work history, your interests and abilities. They will talk to you about your past employment history and may give you some skills tests. It isn’t painful at all and, really, most of my clients, are relieved to finally have someone help them find a job.

Although you can not return to work as a driver, it is possible that there is another profession which will not aggravate your back and that you can do well. The beauty of working with a vocational counselor is that they know how to discover your most employable skills and can match your skills with a job that it is suitable for you.