TN 10 (10-91)

SI 02302.006 SSI Work Incentives - General

A. Introduction

The SSI work incentive provisions are designed to protect benefits while recipients develop and test their work capabilities.

Every SSA employee with public contact responsibilities must be prepared to offer accurate information to individuals so that they can make sound decisions about work activity.

B. Procedure

1. General

When conducting an interview (whether initial claim or posteligibility), it is not enough only to respond to the individual's direct questions. Be alert to opportunities to encourage and inform SSI recipients who are working or open to considering working.

2. Discussion Points

Discuss the following points with recipients or applicants who are working or express a desire to work:

  1. Work which begins after SSI eligibility is established does not change disability or blindness status or multicategory eligibility.

  2. SSI recipients can usually work without fear of sudden or unexpected loss of SSI and/or Medicaid eligibility resulting from their work.

    NOTE: While work activity alone will not cause SSI benefits to cease, the work may result in a review of the person's medical condition.

  3. Less than half of a person's earnings are counted in determining the amount of the person's SSI benefit.

  4. Even when earnings are too high for a cash benefit, Medicaid usually continues for working disabled or blind individuals for as long as they:

    • need Medicaid to work;

    • cannot afford to replace Medicaid; and

    • are otherwise eligible for SSI.

  5. People whose earnings preclude payment of cash benefits may be reinstated without a new application if their earned income drops (and they are otherwise eligible for SSI). There is no limit to the number of times this may occur.

  6. Eligibility for SSI is terminated only if people medically improve or have been ineligible for any SSI benefit (including 1619(b)) for 12 consecutive months. In either event, they can reapply when they think that they are again eligible.

  7. SSI eligibility and payment determinations take into account the special needs of working SSI recipients. See C, below for references to specific work incentive provisions.

C. References