A prior post on this blog explained that the Social Security Administration has a work incentives program so that people who receive Supplemental Security Income can work a paying job without losing all of their benefits. In addition to encouraging beneficiaries to pursue gainful employment, the SSI program also allows the person to deduct certain expenses from the amount that the SSA deems as earned income.
Earned income is the amount of income that the SSA considers for purposes of determining whether to provide SSI benefits to a person, and how much the person may qualify to receive. Generally, the typical types of income that the SSA counts as earned income are wages and net earnings from self-employment.
When disabled individuals, or other people with qualifying conditions, receive SSI but also work, they may need certain accommodations or services to do their job. For example, the person might need certain medication while at work, they might have to modify their vehicle so that they can get to work, or they could need special computer services to help them perform their job. If a person has to spend some of their own money on any of these services or items, the SSA will deduct that cost from the income that they earn.
Deducting the cost of special services can be helpful for an SSI recipient because it means that their earned income will be reduced by the cost of the services. Thus, the person will be eligible to receive a higher amount of benefits than they would have received if the SSA did not deduct the cost of work-related special services.
The SSA refers to these work accommodations as “impairment-related work expenses.” Properly accounting for such expenses can mean an increase in benefits for an SSI recipient. People in the Houston area who need help understanding any of the requirements of getting SSI can rely on the help of a Social Security attorney. Likewise, SSI applicants and beneficiaries should understand how to maximize their benefits through details of the program like impairment-related work expenses.
Source: SSA.gov, “SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) WORK INCENTIVES,” Accessed on Aug. 10, 2016