Red Book

Red Book Home

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 Work Incentives Help?

SSDI and SSI Work Incentives

SSDI Only Employment Supports

SSI Only Work Incentives

Special Rules For People Who Are Blind

Additional Help With Health Care For People With Disabilities

Example of Concurrent Benefits With Work Incentives

Employment Supports

What Assistance Is Available For Work Incentives And Employment Supports

Resources To Assist Youth With the Transition To A Successful Adulthood

Demonstration Projects Update


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Introducing the Red Book

of the
Red Book

The Red Book is a general reference tool designed to provide a working knowledge of provisions the work incentives and employment supports that are available to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. We provide the Red Book primarily for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors who assist people with disabilities. We also expect that applicants and beneficiaries will use it as a self-help guide.

The Red Book contains a general description of our policies pertaining to people with disabilities. For information specific to your situation regarding eligibility or benefits, you may need to contact us. You will find our contact information in the following pages.

The Red Book, including the Spanish language version, is available online at: It is also available in alternative formats. For more information, refer to the Accomodations for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired section.

Purpose of Employment Supports and Work Incentives

One of Social Security’s highest priorities is to support the efforts of beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work by developing policies and services to help them reach their employment goals. The SSDI and SSI programs include work incentives that are designed to protect your monthly payments and medical benefits while you work. If your benefits end because of work and you have to stop working later, work incentives can make it easier to begin receiving benefits again.

We offer employment supports to assist you in finding a job, starting a business, or obtaining other support services you need to get or keep a job. One example is the Ticket to Work program. This innovative program increases your choices when obtaining employment services, vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, and other support services you may need to start or maintain your job.

We also recognize the importance of supporting youth in their efforts to navigate the path toward adulthood. The Red Book includes resources to assist youth with this transition.

Congress intends these work incentives and employment supports to provide you with the assistance you need to move from benefit dependency to independence. You should view the employment supports and work incentives as a total package to fully appreciate the multiple levels of support available to you. These will help you achieve your personalized goal of greater economic independence.

Not Covered in Red Book

The rules for disability benefits are different than the rules for retirement. We cover those retirement rules in other publications. Social Security publications and other public information materials are available at

“Plain Language”

We tried to keep the Red Book clear and brief. We followed “Plain Language” guidelines. We generally use “we,” “us,” and “our” to refer collectively to Social Security, the Social Security Act, our regulations, and operating instructions. We use “you” and “your” to refer to the person who may have a disability and who is claiming benefits based on that condition.

Previous Editions

This edition replaces all previous editions.