In this series of blog posts, Cynthia Sook of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Sheboygan County answers your pressing questions on all thing that impact those living with a disability.
Q: I receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) every month. My friend told me that because of that, I am not allowed to have a job. Is that true? I’d really like to have a job and earn some money.
A: This is a good question and one we hear often at the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Sheboygan County. The good news is that if you receive SSI and you want to have a job, you can do so! But (and there is always a “but”), there are some restrictions and there will be alterations made to the amount of SSI you receive monthly.
You can begin to work and continue to receive SSI benefits as long as your wages and other income resources do not exceed the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) income limit for SSI. Generally, those who earn less than $1,650 per month are eligible for a decreased SSI benefit.
Here’s how the SSA reduces your income. The SSA will reduce your benefit by the amount of your countable income. If your only income is from your job, the SSA does not include the first $85 you earn toward your countable income.
After taking the $85 adjustment off of your income, the SSA will deduct, from your monthly benefits, 50 cents for every dollar you earn. Here is an example of a person who earns $1,000 a month from working: $1,000 – $85 = $915 ÷ 2 = $457.50. The individual’s monthly SSI benefit amount would be reduced by $457.50. (You can make up to about $1,650 a month, if you have no other income, before your SSI benefit would be reduced to zero.)
Your monthly benefit amount is also affected by the amount your state adds to the federal SSI payment. If your SSI payments stop because you earn too much money (that is, if your countable income is over $783 per month), but you are later forced to quit work because of your disability, the SSA will reinstate your benefits without the need for a new application for a period of five years.
This kind of thing can be very confusing and there are other rules for people who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). So, more good news is that the ADRC of Sheboygan County has a Disability Benefit Specialist who can help Sheboygan County neighbors age 18 to 60 who have a disability with their questions about SSI, SSDI, Medical Assistance and Medicare. If YOU have questions about your benefits and need making sense of it all, call the ADRC and request to speak with the Disability Benefit Specialist at 920 467-4100 or you can send an email to ADRC@sheboygancounty.com
If you are age 60 or over we have an Elder Benefit Specialist and you can reach her by the same methods.