Work Incentives - Employment Supports
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Trial Work Period
The trial work period was designed to allow people with disabilities the opportunity to return to work without losing their benefits for at least nine months regardless of earned income. The nine months do not have to necessarily be consecutive but are accumulated over a rolling 60 months period. Any month in which earnings are above $740 in gross income it is counted as a trial work period month.
NOTE: it should be noted that $740 is the amount for the year 2013. Earnings prior to 2013 differ when considering trial work period months.
Social Security says that you are not eligible for disability benefits for a trial work period if you work at substantial gainful activity within twelve months of the start of your impairment and before they approve your claim for disability benefits. This is because your impairment does not meet their definition of disability.
Unsuccessful work attempts do not apply during the trial work period
Extended Period of Eligibility
After you have accumulated 9 trial work period months you’ll began at least 36 months of extended period of eligibility. Once your trial work period ends, Social Security begins to look at how much do you have in gross earnings each month. For the year 2013 Substantial Gainful Activity is $1040. For 2012 SGA WAS $1020, 2011/2010 Substantial Gaineful Activity was $1000. For the year 2009 Substantial Gainful Activity is $980. 2008 Substantial Gainful Activity is $940 gross income per month. 2007 Substantial Gainful Activity is $900 gross income per month. For the year 2006 $860, 2005 $830, 2004 $810, 2003 $800, 2002 $780, 2001 $740 and $700 per month from July 1999 through December 2000 are considered substantial gainful activity, prior to July 1999 substantial gainful activity was considered to be $500 per month gross income.
For people who are legally blind SGA is $1740 for 2013.
For the sake of simplicity, the first three months in the extended period of eligibility in which you have gross monthly income in excess of substantial gainful activity you will continue to receive your full of SSDI benefit regardless of earned income. This is called a grace period.
While in the extended period of eligibility any month that your gross monthly earnings fall below substantial gainful activity you are entitled to your full SSDI benefit check for that month. This will continue for the 33 months following your trial work period. If at the end of those 33 months you continue to earn above substantial gainful activity your Social Security benefits will terminate.
Impairment Related Work Expenses
Items or services that are necessary in order for a person to work may be excluded from gross earnings to determine countable income. These items or services do not necessarily have to be used only on work days, for example, durable or non-durable medical equipment or supplies, for example, the purchase of a new wheelchair, etc. Other items or services must be counted only on days one works, for example, attendant care, mileage to and from work.
Subsidy and Special Conditions
Subsidies or special condition exist when the actual value of the work you perform is less than the pay you receive for the work. For example, you receive more supervision than someone without a disability, or, you have a job coach paid for by someone else, or you perform fewer tasks in the same job than a person without a disability.
The difference in the actual value of the job you do and the pay you receive for that job is considered a Subsidy or Special Condition. The difference between the two is Countable Income.
Subsidies and Special Conditions are considered for the purpose of:
Determining eligibility for SSI. Subsidies and Special Conditions DO NOT have any affect your SSI payment.
They ARE used to determine Countable Income and may affect your eligibility for continued payment of SSDI benefits.
Unincurred Business Expenses (Self Employed Only)
This is Social Securities name for contributations made by someone else toward your business. For example, Voc Rehab gives you a computer, or someone works for your business and is not paid for that service.
Unincurred Business Expenses DO NOT affect the SSI payment you get. They are used only to determine eligibility for SSI.
Unincurred Business Expenses MAY affect your eligibility for continued payment of SSDI benefits.
Social Security says that for an item to be considered as an Unincurred Business Expense it must be and item or service that the IRS considers a legitimate business expense AND someone other than you must have paid for the item or service.
Unsuccessful Work Attempt
An Unsuccessful Work Attempt is an effort to engage in substantial work which you stopped or reduced to below SGA after a short time (6 months or less) because or your impairment OR because special conditions related to your impairment and essential to further performance were removed.
For SSDI ONLY an Unsuccessful Work Attempt earnings are not counted when making a determination as to weather your disability continues or ceases because of work. An Unsuccessful Work Attempt can occur any time after the Trial Work Period and before the month in which cash benefits cease including during the Extended Period of Eligibility
For SSI ONLY Unsuccessful Work Attempts DO NOT affect monthly payments.
Medicare for People With Disabilities Who Work
Most people receive at least 93 consecutive months of hospital and medical insurance under Medicare. The 93 months start the month after the last month of your trial work period to qualify. To qualify you must perform substantial gainful activity, but not be medically improved. You must have completed the 24 month waiting period for Medicare coverage to begin.
After the 93 month waiting period, your Medicare will end if you are still performing substantial gainful activity. However, you may choose to purchase Medicare. If you choose to purchase Medicare you’ll be charged the same amount that was being deducted from your check.
You are eligible to purchase Medicare coverage if you’re not yet age 65, continue to have a disabling impairment, and your Medicaid stopped due to work.
Continued Payment Under Section 301
If Social Security determines that you no longer have a disabling impairment due to medical improvement your benefit payments usually stop. However, if you participate in an approved vocational training program, your benefits may continue until the vocational trining program ends. This work incentive has been expanded to include any training program including school.
To qualify you must be participating in an approved vocational rehabilitation program before your disability ends under their rules and Social Security must review the situation and decide that your continued participation in the vocational rehabilitation program would increase the likelihood of your permanent removal from the disability benefit rolls.
Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits
Effective January 1, 2001 if your benefits ended because you worked and had earnings that caused your benefits to terminate, you may have your benefits started again without a new application. You must request to have your benefits started again within five years of your benefits having stopped. You must be unable to perform substantial gainful activity because of medical condition that is the same or related to the condition that allowed you to first receive benefits. While Social Security makes a determination as to whether or not you can be reinstated you may receive provisional payments for up to six months. If your request is denied you usually will not be asked to repay the provisional payments you received.
If Social Security approves your request to be reinstated for SSDI you'll receive benefits for any month you don't perform SGA. You may receive benefits were any of the prior 12 months, however, you will not receive payments for any month before January 2001. Once you have received 24 months of benefits including provisional payments you get a new trial work period and new extended period of eligibility.
If you're reinstated to SSDI benefits any person who received benefits on your record and still meets the eligibility requirement may also be reinstated