So, I'm in the process of trying to get back to work and I thought someone might benefit if I chronicled my experiences of how that happens. For a start, I have been living largely off social security disability(ssd) since the stroke and I was unable to return to my job, but we've really been feeling the financial pinch as things have been breaking around the house and requiring $ to get fixed, like the $500 we recently had to pay to have our furnace repaired with Winter bearing down on us. So, I contacted a state agency called "Michigan Rehabilitation Services" which is dedicated to helping disabled individuals get back to work. We've been looking at Accommodations that can be made to help me perform a job with my physical limitations, which for me is mainly needing a 1-handed keyboard as I work in I.T., but they're also looking at other ergonomic issues like desk height, proper chair accessories like arm-rests so my affected arm won't hang down all day and aggravate my shoulder to sublux.
Also, there is the issue of what happens to ssd benefits when I return to work. I have only been "released" to work part-time and with my diminished capacities, I'm unlikely to be able to earn $ on a level where I had been. As far as ssd, the mrs agency has had me meet with an ssa expert on staff there. What he told me was that I automatically have a 9-month trial work period during which I can earn any amount without affecting ssd benefits. Beyond that, however, if I earn more than $1040 gross in a given month, ssa can determine that I am no longer disabled and discontinue my case. It isn't the type of deal where they reduce your benefits like 50cents for every dollar you earn, etc. It's all or none, which kind of stinks in my view. There's surely no way I can provide for my family on that $1040 gross/month.
MRS has referred me to an employer in town which specializes in hiring disabled workers and helping them acclamate to working again. With them, I have several meetings next month to check out what I can do there. In addition, however, I recently interviewed for a part-time I.T. position at the local community college with a previous supervisor in my early I.T. days. If I get offered this job, MRS will come in and do a workplace analysis to see what accommodations would be needed in their view to enable me to do the job, like a 1-handed keyboard, which is basically just a small usb keyboard about as big as a laptop keyboard. I'll know about this job by next week, so I'm keping my fingers crossed(at least on my non-affected hand ;)