Red Book

Red Book Home

Introducing The Red Book

What's New In 2023?

Contacting Us

How Do We Define Disability?

Overview Of Our Disability Programs

Returning To Work

How Do Employment Supports Help?

Resources To Assist You Return To Work

Resources To Assist Youth With the Transition To A Successful Adulthood

SSDI and SSI Employment Supports

SSDI Only Employment Supports

SSI Only Employment Supports

Special Rules For Persons Who Are Blind

Additional Help With Health Care For Persons With Disabilities

Example of Concurrent Benefits With Employment Supports

Demonstration Projects Update


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How Do employment Supports Help?

We intend our employment-support provisions to assist you in your efforts to become self-sufficient through work. Employment supports can help you find a job or start a business, protect your cash and medical benefits while you work, or save money to go to school. If your benefits end because of your work and you have to stop working later, employment supports can make it easy to begin receiving benefits again.

We discuss each employment support on the following pages. You should view all of the employment supports as a total package to fully appreciate the multiple levels of support available to help you achieve your personalized goal of greater economic independence. The  table at the end of this section provides a brief description of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) employment supports. The last column in the table indicates the page number in the Red Book where you can find a more detailed description of the employment support.

SSDI Employment Supports

The SSDI employment supports provide help over a long period of time to allow you to test your ability to work, or to continue working, and gradually become self-supporting and independent. In general, you have at least nine years to test your ability to work. This includes full cash payments during the first 12 months of work activity, a 36-month re-entitlement period during the extended period of eligibility, and a 5-year period in which we can start your cash benefits again without a new application (see EXPEDITED REINSTATEMENT). You may continue to have Medicare coverage during this time or even longer.

SSI Employment Supports

The SSI employment supports offer ways for you to continue receiving your SSI checks and/or Medicaid coverage while you work. Some of these provisions can increase your net income to help cover special expenses.

Once you receive SSI, we consider that your disability continues until you medically recover, even if you work. If you cannot receive SSI checks because your earnings are too high, your eligibility for Medicaid may continue while you are working. In most cases, if you lose your job or are unable to continue working, you can begin receiving checks again without filing a new application.

Guide to Employment Supports
Employment Support
(Alphabetically Listed)
How This Employment Support
Can Help You
Blind Work Expenses (BWE)

Do you work and receive SSI based on blindness?

Continued Payment Under a Vocational Rehabilitation or Similar Program (Section 301)

Has your medical condition improved and are you participating in a vocational rehabilitation or similar program, or are you a student with an individualized education plan (IEP)?

Earned Income Exclusion

How do we figure your monthly SSI payment amount if you work?

Expedited Reinstatement (EXR)

If your benefits ended because you successfully returned to work, can you get benefits again if you stop working?

Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)

How long can you receive SSDI benefits after you return to work?

Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE)

Do you pay for items or services related to your disability that you need in order to work?

Medicaid While Working – Section 1619(b)

What happens to your Medicaid after you return to work?

Medicare Continuation

What happens to your Medicare after you return to work?

Medicare for Persons with Disabilities Who Work

What happens if you are no longer eligible for free Medicare Part A because of your work?

Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)

Do you want to set aside money to pursue an employment goal?

Reinstating Eligibility Without a New Application

How can you restart your SSI cash payments if you stop working?

Special SSI Payments for Persons Who Work - Section 1619(a)

What happens to your SSI cash benefits when your earned income is substantial but you are still disabled?

Special Benefits for Persons Eligible Under Section 1619 Who Enter a Medical Treatment Facility

What happens to your SSI payment if you are working, but you have to enter a medical facility?

Subsidy and Special Conditions

Do you work and receive SSDI but have extra help on the job or have fewer or simpler tasks than other workers?

Ticket to Work (Ticket or TTW)

Do you want assistance to help you return to work?

Trial Work Period (TWP)

How can you test your ability to work without losing your SSDI benefits?

Unincurred Business Expenses

Do you receive SSDI and are you self-employed?

Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA)

What happens to your SSDI benefits if you try to return to work but have to stop working or reduce your hours because of your disability?