George smiles with his AAC in his office
George Russo in his office at Easter Seals of Southeastern PA.
A Lifetime of Assistive Technology
The Making of an Accessible Career

George Russo has a bright and cheerful presence, when he laughs you can't help but laugh, too. Unusually open about his life and experiences, he's the type of person you're instantly comfortable with. George was born with cerebral palsy. Over the course of his life he has had a front-row seat to the development of many types of assistive technology, but his experience with communication devices has been particularly in-depth.
Kimiko stocks shelves at the pet store where she works.
Kimiko stocks shelves at the pet store where she works.
Work Incentives: It Always Pays to Work!
An excerpt from our financial education booklet, Cents and $ensibility: A guide to money management .

Work Incentives are programs that the Social Security Administration (SSA) offer to people with disabilities who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to help make it possible for people to explore work while still receiving health care and cash benefits. The Work Incentives are slightly different depending on whether you receive SSI or SSDI; however, all the Incentives are designed to encourage you to enter, re-enter or continue in the workforce.

A few examples of SSDI Work Incentives include:
  • The trial work period. This allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months without losing your Social Security benefits, regardless of how much you earn.
  • Extended period of eligibility benefits. After the trial period, you have 36 months during which you can work and still receive benefits for any month in which your earnings aren't "substantial," as defined by the SSA.
  • Expedited reinstatement. If you continue working after the trial work period and the extended period of eligibility for benefits, your SSDI will stop. However, if within five years you are unable to continue working because of your disability, you can resume your SSDI benefits without having to file a new application.

A few examples of SSI Work Incentives include:

  • Continuation of SSI. If you begin working, SSA will continue to pay you your SSI benefits unless your earnings exceed the SSI income limits.
  • Expedited reinstatement. After SSI is stopped, if within five years, you are unable to work again because of your disability or medical condition, SSA will not require a new disability application.
  • Deduction of work expenses related to the disability. Money spent on items and services necessary for work because of your disability (e.g., an adapted vehicle, hearing aids) will be deducted from your earnings before SSA assesses your eligibility for benefits.

You can learn more about Work Incentives by reading Social Security's Red Book


Download your copy of Cents and $ensibility: A guide to money management.
Penny Pincher has a lightbulb moment.
Financial Tips with Penny Pincher
Tax Season is Here - Need Help?

It's tax season - Do you need assistance completing tax forms? Help might be around the corner.

You can increase the amount of your tax refund through tax credits and deductions. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free help with preparing tax returns to people who make $54,000 or less. VITA programs can be found at community centers, libraries, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.

To find VITA assistance in your area call 1-800-906-9887 or access the VITA link found on the IRS website.
Upcoming Events
Pittsburgh, PA - March 3 from 11am-3pm, March 4 from 11am-2pm
The Summit brings informative sessions and the best collection of resources to western PA - for free. Come see us--we'll have a table!

12th Annual Brain Injury Awareness Day
Butler, PA - March 20 from 12-3pm 
Come visit us at our table!
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Support PATF While You Shop

Don't forget, if you're shopping on Amazon, log in through AmazonSmile and choose PATF as your charity to support using this link: It operates the same as and a portion of every purchase you make will be donated to our programs.

There are lots of ways to support PATF's work. Learn more about how you can help us carry out our mission.
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