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What Will Happen to SSI and SSDI Income and Health Insurance Benefits When Work Begins?

Many worry that benefits will be cut once they begin earning wages from employment. This is generally not the case. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has developed a number of incentives or supports to assist people with disabilities to enter the workforce. These incentive programs provide a safety net by reducing the impact of work on benefits, by allowing recipients to maintain their eligibility and/or reducing the amount of money taken out of their benefit check.

SSI and SSDI work incentive rules operate differently. In both cases, health insurance benefits remain in place even if the check is reduced.

For more information about SSA Work Incentives:

The following booklet was designed for Massachusetts and includes some state-specific details. However, it also has much general information that applies to all SSI/SSDI beneficiaries: Going To Work: A Guide to Social Security Benefits and Employment for Young People with Disabilities.

Where Can a Person Get Help with Understanding the Impact of Working on Benefits?

You may be able to get help from your employment specialist or job developer. For more detailed help, SSA has funded a national network of Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) programs. WIPA programs provide counseling to help individuals understand the impact of work on their benefits. Persons who receive SSI, and/or SSDI benefits can get these services free of charge from their local WIPA.

Date posted: May 22, 2012. Content created by The Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts Boston. Last updated: June 20, 2013.

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