Can You Return to Work if You’re Receiving SSI?

Returning to Work with SSI

Once you begin receiving SSI benefits, you may reach a point when your condition begins to improve. If that occurs, you may feel like you’re capable of returning to work. Whether you feel you can handle part or full-time work, you may have questions about how pursuing any type of work will affect your SSI eligibility.

Because the Social Security Administration wants to encourage individuals to return to work without feeling like they will be punished if they aren’t able to maintain employment, there are quite a few incentives and programs regarding returns.

By not counting half of the income an individual earns towards their SSI eligibility, the SSA encourages people to see if they’re able to return to work. Specifically, the first $65 of earned income isn’t counted by the SSA. After that, $1 of benefits will be reduced for every $2 of income that is earned on a gross basis.

Current SSI recipients also have specific expenses related to impairments that can be deducted from the equation. Examples of deductible expenses include adaptive or assistive devices that are required to perform a job. Certain transportation and medical expenses may also be deductible. While the SSA publishes a comprehensive guide on this topic, if you have any questions about whether or not an expense is deductible, don’t hesitate to speak with an experienced professional about it.

It’s also worth noting that for people who are under the age of 22 and receive benefits for their disability, they may be eligible to receive certain deductions based on their status as students. Those deductions can apply to home schooling, college or employment training.

What Else Do You Need to Know About Going Back to Work and SSI Eligibility?

Not only does the SSA provide quite a few incentives, but they actually have several programs specifically designed for people who are attempting to return to work. The first program is PASS. The Plan to Achieve Self Support program makes it possible for people who receive SSI benefits to set aside funding they receive from other sources in order to pay for items or services that will either lessen or eliminate their need for disability benefits.

Ticket to Work is the other main program that’s available. This program enables SSI recipients to receive job training or counseling from a vocational rehab provider. The main caveat of this program is that it’s only intended for those pursuing full-time employment.

In the event that you return to work, have your benefits cancelled, but are unable to maintain your job due to your disability, you can have the reinstatement of your benefits fast-tracked by going through the expedited reinstatement program. Filing in this manner means you’ll get paid for six months worth of benefits while you wait for your application to be processed.