Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

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Photo of David Dopkin

Will my SSI benefits be affected by purchasing items to work?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2016 | Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Houston residents who receive Supplemental Security Income are often confused by the various rules and regulations that determine whether they can keep their benefits in certain circumstances. For example, many people who receive SSI-related benefits also work, but require items or services to make that possible. With that, they will wonder how the expenses to purchase these goods and services will affect their SSI. People in this situation need not worry. In the bulk of cases, any out-of-pocket costs to help a person who is disabled and is receiving SSI will have the costs deducted by the Social Security Administration.

These items are referred to as impairment related work expenses. With that in mind, the SSI-related benefits will not be reduced as much as they otherwise would be because not all earnings are counted. Examples of IRWE that will be deducted include medicine, medical devices, medical supplies, a service animal and technology that is utilized to assist those who are disabled perform their work. Software applications, support systems that are computer-based, tools that are used to help the person such as syringes and bandages also fall into this category.

Those who are receiving medical services and have an attendant’s help might also have these costs deducted. Transportation, modifications to a car or home to let the person go to work could also be considered IRWE. It is not generally relevant if the disabled person needs the service or item when they are not working. An example might be the cost of purchasing a wheelchair. This can be deducted as part of IRWE even if the person is using it when not at work.

Disabled individuals who are receiving SSI-related benefits through Social Security disability need to know the rules to avoid making mistakes and not receiving or retaining as much as they should. IRWE is part of that. For those who are receiving or seeking to receive SSI benefits, or are having an issue with IRWE, a legal professional can help to deal with the matter from start to finish.

Source: ssa.gov, “Spotlight On Impairment-Related Work Expenses — 2016 Edition,” accessed on Dec. 12, 2016