Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

What are SSI Work Incentives?

Mobile, Alabama residents would be aware of the Supplemental Security Income program, which is run by the Social Security Administration. The purpose of the SSI program is to provide financial assistance to those individuals who have limited or no income because of a disabling condition such as physical impairments or illnesses, blindness or old age. The money such people receive in the form of SSI helps in meeting the expenses for basic necessities such as food clothing and shelter.

Besides financial assistance, the SSI program helps the blind and disabled to lead an independent life by leveraging the employment opportunities those people come across. The SSI Work Incentives scheme enables this endeavor by reducing the risk of blind, disabled or aged people losing SSI or Medicaid benefits when they take up employment. Per the rules set by the SSA, the work incentive scheme allows for the omission of certain incomes or resources at the time of determining the amount of SSI benefits that an applicant is eligible for. The scheme also has certain other incentives that provide continuing Medicaid benefits even if that individual is not a recipient of cash benefits under the SSI program.

According to existing rules, a benefits recipient can be eligible for more than one work incentive program. However, the amount of income that a person receives from work influences the amount of work incentives applicable to his or her case and the amount of financial aid that person would receive from the SSI benefits program. The SSA does this by making adjustments to work incentives and SSI benefits amounts after taking into consideration the various incomes and resources of an individual. Recipients of SSI benefits are eligible for exclusions of various types of income.

According to current work incentive rules, the first $65 in income and half of the income earned above $65 by an SSI beneficiary are excluded while computing SSI benefits under the work incentives scheme. That means the SSA reduces SSI benefits by only $1 for every $2 that the beneficiary earns above $65. For students under the age of 22 years, the SSA excludes up to $1,870 in monthly gross income (up to a maximum of $7,550 in calendar year 2019) when determining the reduction of SSI benefits.

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