Learn How the Ticket to Work Program Can Work for You

Chapter 3 - Ready to Work

If you receive SSI benefits, you are eligible for work incentives that include Earned Income Exclusion, Continuation of Health Care Benefits,

Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS), Expedited Reinstatement and Protection from Medical Continuing Disability Reviews (or CDRs).

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Earned Income Exclusion. Less than half of your earnings are counted by Social Security as earned income, which may allow you to continue receiving an SSI check while working.

Student Earned Income Exclusion. If you are under the age of 22 and are regularly attending school, you can exclude

a portion of earned income per month while you are working. The amount you can exclude changes annually. For 2014,

the student earned income exclusion amounts are $1,750 per month, but not more than $7,060 per year.

Continuation of Health Care Benefits. After you return to work, in most cases your Medicaid coverage can continue even if you no longer receive an SSI payment

because your earnings and other income are too high. You must still be disabled, meet all other SSI eligibility rules (including the SSI resources test)

and need Medicaid in order to work.

Plan to Achieve Self Support, or PASS. If you receive SSI or become eligible for it, you could benefit from a PASS plan,

which allows you to set aside other income besides your SSI for a specified period of time, so that you may pursue a work goal.

When Social Security calculates your SSI payment amount, they do not count the income that you set aside under your PASS plan.

A PASS plan can help you pay for services to support self-employment, business equipment, transportation, inventory,

and other goods and services related to your work goal, and to have a business plan written.

Expedited Reinstatement. If your benefits stopped because of your higher earnings level, but then you had to stop working because of your disability,

you can request to have your benefits reinstated without having to complete a new application. This work incentive is called “Expedited Reinstatement.”

To qualify you must request it within 5 years from the month your benefits stopped and your current disability must be the same as, or related to, your original disability.

While Social Security determines if you qualify for benefits reinstatement, you are eligible to receive temporary benefits for up to six months

and may be eligible for Medicare and/or Medicaid.

Protection from medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR). Social Security will postpone a medical CDR while you are participating in the Ticket to Work program.

Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs) are costs related to your disability that you need to do your job. IRWEs must be expenses that you pay for,

not your health insurance or anyone else. Keep your receipts for all expenses that may be IRWEs. You need to include them with your pay stub or other earnings information

when you report your earnings to Social Security. Here are some details about IRWEs to keep in mind: You need the service or item to work.

You need the service or item because you have a disability. You paid for it yourself and nobody reimbursed you for the cost. You paid a reasonable price for it.

You were working during the month you paid the expense. You can fully document the expense with receipts.

Blind Work Expenses or BWEs can be any expense that is necessary to let you work. Unlike an IRWE, a BWE does not have to be related to your blindness or other medical condition.

You must be eligible for Supplemental Security Income based on blindness to use the BWE work incentive.