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How does income affect SSI benefits?

The Social Security Administration provides supplemental security income benefits to those who are age 65 and older, blind or disabled and have little income or resources. Having income below state-determined income limits is one requirement for obtaining and retaining SSI. However, there are certain work incentive programs that allow recipients to continue receiving benefits while they are working if they meet certain SSA requirements.

Those who continue to work despite their disabilities may continue to receive SSI payments until their earnings exceed the state SSI income limit. This limit varies depending on whether the recipient is single, whether they pay for their own food and shelter and whether they live in a medical facility. In Ohio, those who are single and pay for their own food and shelter may receive up to $735 per month in SSI benefits.

Disabled workers may have expenditures associated with their disability that non-disabled workers do not have such as the cost of taking a taxi to work or the cost of counseling. These expenses may be deducted from monthly earnings when determining eligibility for benefits. If payments were stopped because a disabled worker's earnings exceeded the SSI income limit, they may be reinstated if the worker later becomes unable to work again. After benefits have been suspended for one month, requests to have SSI benefits reinstated must be made within five years in order to avoid filing a new application.

Some earnings for students, those under age 22 and those attending training programs will not be counted by the SSA when determining eligibility. Qualifying for SSD/SSI benefits may also depend on an applicant's plans to achieve self-support and reduce their dependence upon SSI/SSD benefits. The SSA's work incentive program, "Plan to Achieve Self-Support" will be discussed in a future post.

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