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Work incentives for SSI recipients


Most people have to work so that they can earn money and pay their household bills and other living expenses. When a person is disabled, however, performing his or her job may become unrealistic or impossible. Social Security Disability is designed to help people who are in this difficult situation.

Like Social Security Disability, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program helps people who are disabled. But it can also help those who are blind, or over 65 years of age, and have a low income. The main difference between the two programs is that an applicant for SSI benefits does not have to meet the same work history requirements as a Social Security Disability applicant.

Some people in Houston who qualify for SSI benefits may not be able to work a full-time job, but they may be able to achieve some level of employment. People who are capable of doing some work may be concerned that if they get even limited work, they will automatically lose their SSI benefits. This is why the Social Security Administration has a work incentives program.

Work incentives are designed to encourage people who are receiving SSI benefits to become as independent as possible, without the risk of losing their benefits. For example, for purposes of determining a recipient's eligibility for SSI benefits, the SSA does not count the first $65 of income that the person earns. Even after the $65 amount, the SSA will reduce the recipient's SSI benefits by only $1 for every $2 that they earn.

The government also tries to help SSI beneficiaries increase their earnings by offering employment services. For example, the Ticket program is designed to link SSI beneficiaries with employment networks who will assist the beneficiary in achieving his or her work and earnings goals. The employment networks are incentivized to help the Social Security beneficiary meet his or her earnings goals because the government pays the networks based on whether the person achieves those goals.

People in the Houston area who are concerned about losing their SSI benefits, or are simply trying to get benefits, should thoroughly understand how the system works and all of the programs that may be available for them.

Source: SSA.gov, "SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) WORK INCENTIVES," Accessed on Sept. 24, 2015

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