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Work Incentives: How It Can Help to Receive SSI and Medicaid While Working

Deciding whether to try to work is not easy, but living on monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments alone can be quite challenging. If you think you can work for a few hours a week, you may be able to continue working and concurrently receiving payments until your calculable income, minus various deductions and disability-related work expenses, exceeds the SSI income limit. 

People with disabilities who file a disability claim generally have to wait a long time to receive these benefits. The Medicaid and Medicare coverage that accompanies these benefits is often more important than the benefit payments themselves. There are many myths about how much work a person can perform before becoming disqualified for benefits.  

Work IncentivesHow do I determine how much I can work? 

Talk to a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) trained to understand and communicate the various incentives in the Social Security system that are designed to encourage work and preserve all or most of your benefits. If you accept SSI and Medicaid, CWIC can also help you avoid many resource limitations.

If you think your work may place you above SSI’s revenue limits, you could be concerned that you may lose out on your benefits. If you live in a state that grants you medications, you may be worried about losing access to them if you receive an SSI rejection. Fortunately, SSI has a work incentive that helps protect your benefits. These incentives can help with the expenses relating to education, training, and rehabilitation that your employer incurs. There are special rules that can help you work without endangering your access to benefits.  

How will work incentives help me? 

When your eligibility for benefits is determined, some work rewards allow the government to exclude a certain portion of your income or resources. Other work incentives allow you to continue receiving Medicaid insurance after you stop receiving SSI cash benefits. 

You can use rewards for various jobs. However, your SSI benefits amount may change with the type and amount of your other income every month. It can be helpful if you are informed when your income changes so you can plan your budget appropriately.

If you get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you can qualify for Medicare after a two-year waiting period. Your SSDI benefits will only stop if your long-term monthly income exceeds a certain threshold. Even so, no matter how much money you make, your SSDI benefits will continue to be paid for at least 12 months. 

After that, the Social Security Administration may decide that your income is too high and suspend your SSDI benefits. However, if your income drops below the threshold again, you can still easily get it back. Even if your SSDI benefits are suspended due to income, your Medicare will remain in place for a certain period of time. 

If you get SSI, you will automatically get Medicaid. Less than half your income reduces the benefits, so you will always have more money if you work while you receive SSI. 

For example, if you earn $1,585 per month, your SSI benefits can be reduced to zero, so you would trade $1,585 in income for $750 in lost benefits, and the gain is $835. If your SSI benefits are suspended due to your income, you can keep your Medicaid until your annual income exceeds $30,600, depending on the work disability in your state and the Medicaid Buy-in program eligibility.

How long will your Medicaid last?

Generally speaking, if the income you earn causes your SSI to stop, your Medicaid coverage will continue until your income reaches a certain level. This level varies for each state and reflects the cost of healthcare in the state where you live. If your healthcare costs are higher than the prescribed levels in your state, you can earn more income and keep your Medicaid. In most states, to continue your Medicaid benefits, you would need to meet all of the following requirements: 

  • You need the Medicaid benefits to work. 
  • Without SSI, you would not be able to afford similar health insurance on the open market. 
  • You are still disabled. 
  • You meet all other eligibility requirements for SSI.

To apply, you can visit the SSA’s official website. There, you can access helpful information, read publications, and find answers to the most common questions that you may have. 

However, legal terminology can be confusing, and you may not have time to do all of the research on your own. Let an experienced Social Security disability lawyer assist you in this process because they will know the right steps for you to take. 

Our attorneys can handle all types of disability cases without any hassle. We can work to protect your interests at every stage.