If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and decide to go back to work, your benefits may be affected. The details of how your benefits may be affected are complex and vary depending on which state or territory you live in. Generally speaking, for every $2.00 you earn in a job, SSA will subtract $1.00 from your monthly SSI check ($2 for $1 split).

What to Know Before You Go Back to Work

The extent of the impact on your SSI benefits will depend on your income, your job status, and your disability status. Here are some important factors to consider:

  • Income limits. If you receive SSI benefits, you can earn up to a certain amount of income each month without losing your benefits. This amount is called the "earned income exclusion." In 2023, you may keep the first $65 you earn each month and one-half of the remainder.
  • Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWEs). If you have a disability, you may be able to deduct certain expenses related to your disability when calculating your income for SSI purposes. These expenses are called "Impairment-Related Work Expenses" (IRWEs). IRWEs can include things like transportation costs to and from work, specialized equipment or tools, or personal assistance services required for work. These expenses can be deducted from your earned income, reducing the amount that counts toward the SSI earned income limit.
  • Special programs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs special programs such as the Ticket to Work program and the Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) program.

Let Disability Services of America Help You Prepare for the Future

If you receive SSI benefits and are considering going back to work, we encourage you to contact us. We can review SSA programs, such as Ticket to Work, with you and advise you on what may happen to your SSI and other benefits. Please contact our experienced disability case managers today to learn more.