May was National Stroke Awareness Month and the questions of if, or when, to return to work after a stroke play an important role in recovery. The National Stroke Association provides information about what stroke survivors should keep in mind when considering going back to work.
A key to assessing work-readiness is understanding the impact of the stroke on a survivor’s physical and cognitive abilities. As a first step, stroke survivors are encouraged to think about the specific skills and abilities that were required to perform previous job tasks.
There are many ways to approach achieving workplace tasks after a stroke. Adaptive technology, flexible work schedules and other workplace accommodations can help stroke survivors accomplish key aspects of their jobs. The National Stroke Association recommends that individuals interested in learning about workplace accommodations contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN offers free over-the-phone assistance with workplace accommodations. JAN also provides extensive information about a variety of workplace accommodations and workplace rights for people with disabilities. For more information about workplace accommodations, visit JAN’s website.
Stroke survivors are also encouraged to consider their financial situation when thinking about returning to work. Increased income from working can impact a survivor’s eligibility for government benefits like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Fortunately, Social Security provides a free employment support program called Ticket to Work. Ticket to Work is designed to help individuals receiving benefits return to and maintain employment. Individuals participating in the Ticket to Work program can experiment with going back to work while still receiving health insurance and cash benefits during a trial work period. This “work safety net” is referred to as Work Incentives. The Ticket to Work program site provides more information about the program and Work Incentives.
Returning to work while taking into account physical and cognitive abilities and your financial situation can be overwhelming. To ease the process, the National Stroke Association provides a decision tree flow chart for stroke survivors to follow.
Each stroke survivor is unique and each person has different factors weighing into the decision of returning to work. Visit the National Stroke Association’s website for more information about returning to work after a stroke.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL STROKE ASSOCIATION
The National Stroke Association provides stroke education and programs to stroke survivors, caregivers and the healthcare community. The association believes that caregivers and the survivor’s circle of support are core to their recovery. To facilitate stroke recovery and education, the association’s programs and materials are provided to the stroke community for free. The association works closely with the healthcare community, ensuring that every research and practice is being pursued to aid the stroke survivor in their recovery process. Lastly, through prevention messaging, the association works to drastically reduce the number of strokes in the U.S. To learn more, visit the National Stroke Association’s website.