Youth with disabilites may qualify for some of a wide range of state and federal government program. Many of these programs contain work incentives that can help youth with education and work goals.
Some Available Benefits and Programs
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides cash benefits to people with disabilities or blind individuals who are “insured” by workers, employers, and self-employed people. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be “insured” for Social Security purposes. In certain cases, SSDI benefits can be available to the worker’s family members. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program for people with disabilities who have little or no income and few resources. Because of this, other income and resources determine whether an individual is eligible as well as the amount of monthly SSI benefit payments.
Read this article to learn how your earnings might affect SSI benefits. How Much Can You Work While Receiving SSI Disability Benefits?
Earned Income and Other Exclusions reduce the amount of money that the Social Security Administration counts toward an individual’s income when determining the amount of SSI benefits someone can receive. For example, scholarships or grants that students use to pay tuition, book costs, or related education expenses can be excluded from an individual’s total income. The amount left over after allowable deductions is known as the countable income. SSI beneficiaries who work can continue to receive SSI payments until their countable income exceeds the SSI limit.
The Student-Earned Income Exclusion as well as Section 301 protections support the ability of transition-aged youth to work and have earnings through work-based learning programs that are integrated into educational programs.
Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) allows a person with a disability to set aside income and resources for a specified period of time to achieve a work goal.
Section 1619(b) of the Social Security Act offers continued Medicaid to those eligible working individuals whose earned income is too high to qualify for SSI cash payments, but not high enough to offset the loss of Medicaid.
The ABLE Act - States now have the option to establish an ABLE program, under which eligible individuals with disabilities could start an ABLE account. These accounts would be modeled after current section 529 savings accounts. To be eligible, individuals must be severely disabled before turning age 26, and:(a) receiving Supplemental Security Benefits (SSI) or Disability Insurance (SSDI); or (b) certified under pending IRS rules as meeting conditions similar as that required by SSI or SSDI.
Where to get Help with Benefits Planning
Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program that can help Social Security beneficiaries go to work, get a good job that may lead to a career, and become financially independent, all while they keep their Medicare or Medicaid. Debunking the Myths - Work and Disability Benefits is an easy- to-understand article about 3 common misconceptions regarding work and SSI.
Benefits Navigators Program at Shepherd Center provides work incentive information to persons aged 14 and up who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or both. Information is provided about how earned income will affect Social Security benefits as well as other Federal or State benefits you may receive so that you can determine how to maximize earnings while retaining necessary benefits. Contact The Benefits Navigator Program at Shepherd Center or GVRA's WIN Services based on County in Georgia.