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Social Security Disability Work Incentives - SSI
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Hello again!

In this article, I want to discuss a subject that is the source of much confusion. Namely, can you work and still collect Social Security Disability?

The answer, simply, is yes.......but you must follow some specific guidelines. I will address work incentives for the SSI program here, and then those for SSDI in a future article. They are as different as the programs themselves.

First, remember that SSI is a needs-based program, in that every dollar you receive from any source is considered when determining your SSI benefit for a given month. There is also the overall resource limit of $2000 for an individual, and $3000 for a couple. Exceeding those limits in a given month eliminates your eligibility for SSI that month. The resource limit applies to cash on hand, or in the bank.

Second, understand that you must report your earnings to Social Security. You will not be penalized for reporting; but you could very well be penalized for accepting benefits in excess of what you were legally entitled to. In fact, it is to your advantage to work part-time while on SSI if you can.

SSI allows a $20 general income exclusion. So, the first $20 of income from any source will not affect your benefit. Then, Social Security only counts 50% of your earnings from work when determining how much it will reduce your benefit. So, $2 in earnings only results in $1 of benefit reduction.

Remember that you can work and earn up to $1000 gross and still be considered disabled. So, let's say you get a part-time job and really test the limits; you earn $999 gross for the month. Here's how it works:

$999 - $20 general income exclusion equals $979. 50% of $979 equals about $489. In New York State, the SSI benefit, with a State Supplement included, is roughly $700 monthly. Subtract $489 from $700 and the result is $211. Therefore, your SSI benefit for the month is $211 and you earned $999, making your total income for the month a little over $1200, plus you retain Medicaid. That's $500 more in spendable income, working probably no more than 10-15 hours weekly.

Granted, it's not a king's ransom. But, you have the chance to test your ability to work, feel as productive as possible, and not have to fear losing your disability benefits. That's not such a bad deal. In fact, if you do this long enough, you might earn enough work credits to qualify for regular SSDI. And, friends, that's where the work incentives get even more exciting.

Stay tuned!

Scott


Street Talk

Thank you for the informative article. I have just applied for SSI, and I am scared that the Social Security people are going to make me stop my blog. I seriously hope that doesn't happen, because earning from my blog gives me purpose and makes my life better. I do not want to have to leave this great site!! Maybe if I publish under a pen name and do not post to the social networks, I could continue??? Any helpful info to put my mind to rest would be much appreciated. Thanks for the great article!! Sincerely, HollieETownsend

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Hollie: You are allowed to work and earn up to $1010 monthly without completely losing SSI. I'd be happy to help you further with this. Send a private message to me.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Hollie: Were you successful with your SSI claim?

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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