SSDI, SSI and Employment

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SSDI, SSI and Employment

Postby LydHal » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:10 pm

Q: Recently, I have encountered issues regarding income and participants’ ability to work while on Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Social Security Income. I have a participant whom her host agency wants to hire her at $7.50 per hour for about 30 hours per week. She is currently on SSI and SSDI which Social Security has threatened to take from her in the past due to receiving SCSEP income. She was able to resolve this after many meetings with Social Security personnel and by obtaining a letter from me containing the Older Americans Act and her participation in our subsidized job training program. When she inquired through Social Security as to whether she could transition into this employment, they stated it would cut off her SSI benefits and she would no longer receive Medicaid. Medicaid is very important to her as she is frequently in the hospital for overnight stays. She does not want to lose her insurance. It is extraordinary that her host agency wants to hire her even with her health-related absences so I would really like to find a way for her to become employed there.

I have contacted Social Security regarding my questions on how much one can earn on SSDI and it seems to be a straightforward number of $1170 per month. I am still confused on SSI calculations of income because I don’t believe they account for whether income is subsidized or unsubsidized and they have specific rules similar to our calculations of income.

In the past when addressing whether a participant is able to work while on Social Securty Disability and SSI, I just had them contact their case manager, but that has proved difficult as some of our participants do not comprehend what they are trying to tell them. Moreover, participants have informed me that they are on “total disability” and had to receive special permission just to perform their current training positions.

I have thought about sitting a participant down and calling Social Security with them, but the wait times are typically long in my experience.

Do you have any suggestions on navigating Social Security SSDI, SSI in conjunction with unsubsidized employment to ensure that our participants can receive employment without losing all of their benefits?
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Re: SSDI, SSI and Employment

Postby charteroakadmin » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:58 pm

A: This question is largely addressed in Topic 57 of the Participant Form Guide of the Data Collection Handbook. SSI is a needs-based program while SSDI is a Social Security program that is based on wage credits. SSDI beneficiaries who do not receive the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) based on their recorded earnings may also receive SSI to make up the difference. They are called concurrent beneficiaries. They also receive Medicare (after 24 months) under SSDI and Medicaid under SSI. Because SSI is needs-based, income from SCSEP or from unsubsidized employment will always reduce the about of SSI cash benefits, sometimes to zero with the loss of Medicaid as well. The SSI income limit varies by state.

SSDI has various work incentive programs, including a 9-month trial work period, followed by a 36-month period of extended eligibility. See the 2017 Social Security pamphlet, Working While Disabled: How We Can Help, Publication No. 05-10095. In addition, the Ticket to Work program provides help finding a job, vocational rehabilitation, and other employment supports. Participants in Ticket to Work who are making timely progress in their return to work plan are protected against a having their medical condition reviewed by Social Security. See the Social Security pamphlet, Your Ticket to Work, Publication No.05-10061. You can also call the Ticket to Work Helpline at 1-866-968-7842.

For more detailed information, see the Social Security pamphlet, 2017 Red Book: A Summary Guide to Employment Supports for Persons with Disabilities Under SSDI and SSI, Publication No. 64-030
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