Working When You Have Social Security Benefits

Special rules make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments and Medicare or Medicaid. Job Squad staff can guide you through the process.

There are two types of Social Security Benefits.

  • SSDI Social Security Disability Insurance provides benefits to disabled or blind individuals who are "insured" by workers' contributions to the Social Security trust fund. These contributions are the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) social security tax paid on their earnings or those of their spouses or parents.
  • SSI Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) makes cash assistance payments to aged, blind and disabled people (including children under age 18) who have limited income and resources. The Federal government funds SSI from general tax revenues.

What Happens to my Benefits if I Work?

You will not necessarily lose your benefits. There are different rules for SSDI and SSI. People on SSI will see a gradual reduction in their check. For more information see Social Security Online.

People on SSDI may work and not lose their check at all, depending on how much they earn.

Additionally, there are work incentives for each program to help you keep your benefits as long as possible as you work toward self sufficiency. The work incentives are tailored to meet individual needs and situations.

More information on "work incentives" is available at Social Security.

Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)

A PASS is an SSI provision to help individuals with disabilities return to work. PASS lets people with disabilities set aside money to pay for items or services needed to achieve a specific work goal. The applicant finds out what training, items, or services they need to help them reach a work goal. The PASS can help the person save to pay these costs. Job Squad staff have experience helping individuals write PASS Plans.

 The Red Book - A Guide to Work Incentives.