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Introducing The Red Book

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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

Glossary

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SSI ONLY WORK INCENTIVES

Earned Income Exclusion (SSI eligible)

Do we count all your earned income when we figure your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment?

We do not count the first $65 of the earnings you receive in a month, plus ½ of the remaining earnings. This means that we count less than ½ of your earnings when we figure your SSI payment amount.

We apply this exclusion in addition to the $20 general income exclusion. We apply the $20 general income exclusion first to any unearned income that you may receive.

The following table shows 2 examples of how we apply the general income exclusion and the earned income exclusions.

Examples of the Earned Income Exclusion (SSI eligible)
Examples of the Earned Income Exclusion
Situation 1
 
Ed receives $361 SSDI each month,
wages of $289 each month,
and no other income.
 
 
$ 361
SSDI
   -20
General income exclusion
$ 341
Countable unearned income
 
 
$ 289
Earned income
   -65
Earned income exclusion
$ 224
 
  -112
½ remaining earnings
$ 112
Countable earned income
 
 
$ 341
Countable unearned income
 +112
Countable earned income
$ 453
Total countable income
 
 
$ 841
2022 Federal Benefit Rate
 -453
Total countable income
$ 388
SSI payment
 
Available income:
$ 361
SSDI
 +289
Earned income
 +388
SSI
$ 1,038
Total Monthly Income
Situation 2
 
Ed receives wages of $450 each month,
no SSDI, and $13 of unearned income
from another source.
 
$   0
SSDI
$ 13
Other unearned income
  -20
General income exclusion
$ (7)
Remaining general income exclusion
 
 
$ 450
Earned income
     -7
Remaining general income exclusion
$ 443
 
    -65 
Earned income exclusion
$ 378
 
   -189
½ remaining earnings
  $ 189 
Total countable income
 
 
$ 841
2022 Federal Benefit Rate
  -189 
Total countable income
$652
SSI payment
           
Available income:
$ 450
Earned income
 +13
Other unearned income
 +652
SSI
$ 1,115
Total Monthly Income
Student Earned Income Exclusion (SSI eligible)

How does the SEIE help you?

SEIE video

This provision allows a person who is under age 22 and regularly attending school to exclude earnings from income. The amounts that are excluded are usually adjusted every year and can be found in the publication Working While Disabled: How We Can Help (Publication No. 05-10095).

What is the definition of “regularly attending school?”

“Regularly attending school” means that you take one or more courses of study and attend classes:

  • In a college or university for at least 8 hours a week.
  • In grades 7-12 for at least 12 hours a week.
  • In a training course to prepare for employment for at least 12 hours a week (15 hours a week if the course involves shop practice).
  • For less time than indicated above for reasons beyond the student’s control, such as illness.

Does home schooling qualify?

If you are home taught, you may be considered “regularly attending school” if:

  • You are instructed in grades 7-12 for at least 12 hours a week.
  • The instruction is in accordance with a home school law of the state or other jurisdiction in which you reside.

If you are home taught because of a disability, you may be considered “regularly attending school” by:

  • Studying a course or courses given by a school (grades 7-12), college, university, or government agency.
  • Having a home visitor or tutor who directs the study.

How do we apply the income exclusion?

We apply the SEIE before the general income exclusion or the earned income exclusion.

Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) example:

Ella is a student who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and is eligible for SEIE. That means we can exclude a greater amount of Ella’s earnings when we figure her SSI benefit amount. The example below includes the amounts of Ella’s monthly earnings that we do not count each month subject to the monthly and yearly SEIE exclusion amounts. If the monthly SEIE exclusion is $2,220 and the annual SEIE exclusion is $8,950 (these amounts vary every year), in October we reach the yearly excludable amount of $8,950 (these examples are based on the 2023 amounts).

Use the table below for the example provided to gain an understanding of how the SEIE process works and how Ella reached her yearly excludable amount.

Use the table starting with the month of June and step through each row until you reach the last row. Complete the first column then repeat for each column until you reach the last column.

 

June

July

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Monthly Earnings

$2,220

$2,220

$2,220

$2,220

$870

$830

$830

Monthly SEIE exclusion

(lesser of $2,220 or remaining annual exclusion amount)

$2,220

$2,220

$2,220

$2,220

$70

$0

$0

Annual Student Earned Income Exclusion

$8,950

$8,950 -2,220
$6,730

$6,730 -2,220
$4,510

$4,510 -2,220
$2,290

$2,290    -2,220
$70

$-70

$0

$0

Monthly Countable Earned Income

(monthly earnings minus SEIE exclusion)

$0

$0

$0

$0

$800
($870 -
$70)

$830

$830

Earned Income

(countable earned income minus general and earned income exclusions divided by 2)

$0

$0

$0

$0

$357.50
($800-20-65=$715/2)

$372.50 ($830-20-65=$745/2)

$372.50 ($830-20-65=$745/2)

Monthly benefit amount

$914

$914

$914

$914

$556.50
($914-$357.50)

$541.50
($914-$372.50)

 

$541.50
($914-$372.50)

 

 

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

What is Section 1619(a)?

You can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cash payments even when your earned income (gross wages and net earnings from self-employment) is at the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level. This provision eliminates the need for the trial work period or extended period of eligibility under SSI.

How do you qualify?

You must meet all of the conditions listed below to qualify:

  • You have been eligible for an SSI payment for at least 1 month before you begin working at the SGA level.
  • You still have a disability.
  • You meet all other eligibility rules, including the income and resource tests.

How does it work?

Your eligibility for SSI will continue for as long as you meet the basic eligibility requirements and the income and resource tests. We will continue to figure your SSI payment amount in the same way as before. If your state provides Medicaid to people on SSI, you will continue to be eligible for Medicaid.

Do you need to apply?

You do not need to file a special application. Just keep us up to date on your work activity.

NOTE: People who live in American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands cannot receive SSI.

Reinstating SSI Eligibility Without a New Application (SSI eligible)

How does it help you?

If you have been ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments due to your work, you may be able to restart your SSI cash payments again at any time without a new application.

If you have been ineligible for SSI and/or Medicaid for any reason other than work or medical recovery, you may be able to restart your SSI cash payment and/or Medicaid coverage within 12 months without a new application. When your situation changes, contact us and ask about how you can restart your SSI payments and/or Medicaid.

If your cash payment and Medicaid benefits ended because of your earned income, or a combination of earned and unearned income, and you stop work within 5 years of when your benefits ended, we may be able to start your benefits again under Expedited Reinstatement.
Special Benefits If You Are Eligible Under 1619 and Enter a Medical Facility (SSI eligible)

How does it help you?

If you are working and eligible under section 1619, you may receive a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cash benefit for up to 2 months while in a facility. This may be a Medicaid facility or a public medical or psychiatric facility.

What happens if you enter a Medicaid facility?

Usually, if you enter a Medicaid facility where Medicaid pays more than 50% of the cost of care, your SSI payment is limited to $30 per month, plus any state supplement. This excludes any countable income. However, if you enter a Medicaid facility while you are eligible under section 1619, we will figure your benefit using the full Federal Benefit Rate for up to 2 months.

What happens if you enter a public medical or psychiatric facility?

Usually, if you are in a public medical or psychiatric facility, you are not eligible to receive an SSI payment. However, if you enter a public medical or psychiatric facility while you are eligible under section 1619, your SSI cash benefits may continue for up to 2 months. For this provision to apply, the facility must enter an agreement with us that will allow you to keep all of your SSI payment.

Medicaid While Working– Section 1619(b) (SSI eligible)

How does it help you?

After you return to work, your Medicaid coverage can continue. This is true even if your earnings (alone or in combination with your other income) become too high for an SSI payment.

How do you qualify?

To qualify, you must meet all of the following qualifications:

  • You were eligible for an SSI payment for at least 1 month.
  • You would be eligible for SSI payments except for earnings.
  • You still have a disability.
  • You still meet all other eligibility rules, including the resources test.
  • You need Medicaid in order to work.
  • You have gross earned income that is insufficient to replace SSI, Medicaid, and any publicly funded attendant care. (See following “threshold amount” discussion.)

The “threshold amount” is the measure that we use to decide whether your earnings are high enough to replace your SSI and Medicaid benefits. Your threshold amount is based on:

  • The amount of earnings that would cause your SSI payments to stop in your state.
  • The average annual per capita Medicaid expenditure for your state.

If your gross earnings are higher than the threshold amount for your state, you may still be eligible if you meet one of these conditions:

  • Impairment-related work expenses.
  • Blind work expenses.
  • A Plan to Achieve Self-Support.
  • Publicly funded attendant or personal care.
  • Medical expenses above the state per capita amount.
...
Note: See link for chart reflecting State Threshold Amounts for People with Disabilities at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0502302200.

Do all states use the same Medicaid eligibility rules?

Most states use our SSI eligibility rules to determine Medicaid eligibility. However, the following states use their own eligibility rules for Medicaid that are different from our SSI eligibility rules:

Connecticut Minnesota North Dakota
Hawaii Missouri Oklahoma
llinois New Hampshire Virginia

If you live in one of these states, you will continue to be eligible for Medicaid under section 1619(a) or 1619(b) if you were eligible for Medicaid in the month before you became eligible for section 1619.