NU Online News Service, June 1, 2004, 3:33 p.m. EDT – CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, wants to help its long-term disability insurance claimants use the new government return-to-work benefits.[@@]

The company has hired Integrated DisAbility Resources Inc., Windsor, Conn., to locate CIGNA LTD claimants who have have applied to join Social Security’s voluntary Ticket To Work program.

Workers often must go through a slow, complicated application process to qualify for Social Security disability income benefits and related Medicare and Medicaid health insurance benefits. In the past, some disabled workers who wanted to work were afraid that working could cost them access to Medicare health benefits.

Disabled workers also worried that, if they lost their jobs, they might have to spend years re-applying for Social Security income benefits and related health benefits.

The Ticket To Work program provides training services, help with finding jobs, employment support services and access to 93 months of free Medicare coverage. Program participants who run out of free Medicare benefits can pay for the coverage themselves.

Program participants who lose their jobs can ask for reinstatement of Social Security income benefits and related benefits without filing new applications.

Integrated DisAbility will find CIGNA LTD claimants who have applied for tickets, enroll the claimants in a return-to-work training program and coach the claimants when they find jobs to make sure that they are getting the support services they need to do and keep their jobs, CIGNA says.