Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a monthly cash benefit that is available from the Social Security Administration to help low income children and adults with disabilities.

The amount of SSI cash benefits depend on the type (i.e. earned, unearned, or in-kind support) and the amount of income, support, or resources available to the individual.

SSI recipients can go to work and retain some, if not all of their benefit through the use of “Work Incentives”. Some of the work incentives available to SSI recipients are:

General Income Exclusion (GIE) SSA excludes the first $20 of income from any source.

Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) Allows a person under age 22, not married, not head of household, and attending school on a regular basis to exclude up to $1640/month or up to $6600 for the year 2009. *This amount changes every year.

Earned Income Exclusion (EIE) This incentive allows most of the person’s income, including wages earned at a sheltered workshop or activity center to be excluded when determining the amount of SSI cash benefits they will recieve.  The SSA does not count the first $65 of earnings in a month plus one-half of the remainder. This means that for every two dollars a person earns, SSA excludes one dollar.

Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE) Expenses an SSI recipient with a disability has related to his/her disability, which are essential to work are deducted from earnings before the earnings are divided by two.

Blind Work Expenses (BWE) SSA will not count any earned income that you use to meet expenses that are needed to earn that income in deciding your SSI eligibility and your payment amount. To qualify you must be eligible for SSI based on blindness.

Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) Allows SSI recipient with a disability to set aside income and/or resources for a specified period of time for an employment goal.

Property Essential for Self-Support (PESS) Allows a person to exclude certain resources which are essential to the person’s means of self-support. The value of tools or equipment which a person needs for work is totally excluded when determining your continuing eligiblity for SSI.

Special SSI Payments for People Who Work You can receive SSI cash payments even when your earned income (gross wages and/or net earnings from self-employment) is at the SGA level ($980 in 2009) and up to $1433/month. Your eligibility for SSI will continue for as long as you meet the basic eligibility requirements and the income and resource tests. SSA will continue to figure your SSI payment amount in the same way as before.

It is important to note that even though you are eligible for these or other work incentives, the SSA may not automatically apply them to your case. It is a good idea to let your Social Security case worker know of any changes that may affect your benefits and if you feel that you qualify for certain incentives. For more information, call our Ticket to Work/Benefits Specialist Maelyn at 982-8322.