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Social Security



Can my son or daughter work

without losing Social Security benefits? YES!

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What is SSDI?


What is SSI?


Questions and Answers

Click the answer button after each of the questions below for a pop-up answer.

bullet Why do I need to know about Social Security benefits and special work incentives? answer
bullet If my son or daughter gets a paid job, will benefits be lost? answer
bullet What are the work incentives that are available? answer
bullet What are the steps to access work incentives? answer
bullet How do I learn more? answer


To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment-related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. The amounts are set annually and can be found at:

Many students with disabilities receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a financial benefit available to families who meet income and resource requirements and who have a child with a disability. SSI typically also comes with Medicaid.

Students, who receive SSI as children, may continue to receive SSI as adults after they will go through an eligibility re-determination process when they turn 18. Students with disabilities who were previously ineligible due to the income or resources of their parents, can reapply as adults. As adults, these students will be evaluated based only upon their own disability, income, and resources, even if they still reside with their parents.

Accessing SSI work incentives during the transition process expands current and future opportunities for many students with disabilities.

Students with disabilities can:

=> Engage in paid employment.

=> Increase their income without decreasing SSI benefits or eligibility for other benefits such as Medicaid (in most states).

=>Offset expenses incurred as a result of their work.

=> Save for further post-secondary education and training or to start their own business.

Using work incentives, individual with disabilities who are working above SGA may be able to reduce their countable income so that it does not impact their benefits. That is what the rest of this module covers.

Work Incentives by Susan O'Mara: The seminar was produced by Virginia Commonwealth University's T-TAP project funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor (Number E9-4-2-01217). The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Labor. Nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply the endorsement by the U.S. Department of Labor.

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