Red Book

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Introducing The Red Book

What's New In 2024?

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 Work Incentives Help?

The SSDI and SSI programs include several work incentives designed to protect your cash and medical benefits while you work. If your benefits end because you start to work and you have to stop working later, work incentives can make it easier to begin receiving benefits again. We discuss each work incentive on the following pages. The last column in the table indicates the page number in the Red Book where you can find a more detailed description of the work incentives.

SSDI Work Incentives

The SSDI work incentives provide help over a period of time to allow you to test your ability to work, or to continue working. These incentives help you, gradually become self-sufficient. In general, you have at least 9 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 Work Incentives

The SSI work incentives offer ways for you to continue receiving your SSI and Medicaid coverage while you work. Some of these incentives can increase your net income to help cover special expenses.

Once you receive SSI, your disability payments continue until you medically recover, and meet the income and resource limits. If you cannot receive SSI payments 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 payments again without a new application.

List of Work Incentives
Work Incentives
(Alphabetically Listed)
How Work Incentives
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 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 People 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 SSI Eligibility Without a New Application

How can you restart your SSI if you stop working?

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

What happens to your SSI when your earned income is substantial but you still have a disability?

Special SSI Payments for People Eligible Under Section 1619 Who Enter a Medical Treatment Facility

What happens to your SSI 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?

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?