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What work incentives are available if I get SSI benefits?

Oklahomans who are receiving Supplemental Security Income due to blindness, disability or being 65 or older and have limited resources might want to try and work. A common worry for these individuals is how that decision will hinder their SSI benefits. The Social Security Administration is aware of this conundrum and has taken steps to make it possible for people who are getting SSI to try and work with various work incentives. Understanding these work incentives is imperative before trying to get back to work.

People who receive SSI and want to work can have a continuation of SSI. Those who are qualified based on disability, blindness, age and limited resources can keep getting SSI until their earnings combined with other income goes beyond the income limits to get SSI. Even if the SSI ends, Medicaid will likely continue, provided the income is below the state level. Expedited reinstatement is available for people who were getting SSI, had their benefits stop because of going beyond the income levels necessary to retain it, and were forced to stop working because of their medical condition. The benefits can restart without the person being required to file a new application. The request must be made within five years of the month when the benefits stopped.

SSI recipients can receive work expenses linked to the disability. For many disabled people, there are certain items they will need. They might be forced to take a taxi to work rather than use public transportation. This can be deducted from the monthly earnings when SSI eligibility is determined. Students who are younger than 22, attend school or a training program will not have some earnings counted with an SSI determination. For 2017, the total was $1,790 per month and $7,200 per year. This amount generally changes annually.

It is admirable for people who are getting SSI benefits to want to work, but this should not be undertaken without a full understanding of what help is available from the SSA and how it affects SSI. A lawyer who is experienced in all areas of SSI Supplemental Security Income can help with working while getting SSI.

Source: ssa.gov, "Working While Disabled: How We Can Help," accessed on Feb. 13, 2018

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The Law Center for Social
Security Disability

414 NW 4th Street Suite 140
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Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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