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Can expenses that allow me to work affect my SSI benefits?

Many Oklahomans who are seeking or already receiving Supplemental Security Income are physically able to work while getting benefits. However, their issues are such that they still have expenses to account for their impairment to work. Known as impairment related work expenses, generally, the Social Security Administration can deduct these costs when the determination is made as to how much SSI the recipient will get. This allows the SSA to not count all earnings and will not reduce the SSI by as much.

Some people need medicine, medical devices, a service animal, technology to assist them to work, tools and other items. These out-of-pocket expenses will be deducted. It might also be possible to deduct medical services like doctor visits, counseling and attendant care services to let the person prepare for work, attend to the person at work and get them back and forth to work. If the person can use public transportation, this will generally not fall into IRWE.

Transportation and modifications to a home, car or other vehicle to get to work can also be deducted as out-of-pocket expenses. No other sources can reimburse the person for the expenses. They must be linked to the impairment and be necessary to work. It is usually irrelevant whether the item is used at home and on the job. If, for example, it is a wheelchair, the cost can be deducted from the earnings that might be counted despite the wheelchair being used for work and at home.

There are multiple aspects to understand when applying for SSI benefits. Not every person who gets SSI is unable to work. For those who can, IRWE will be a factor that can be beneficial. It can be confusing to many, but it is important. When seeking SSI Supplemental Security Income, having assistance from a legal professional is vital.

Source: ssa.gov, "Spotlight On Impairment-Related Work Expenses -- 2017 Edition," accessed on Aug. 28, 2017

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