How To Work While On SSI and Keep Your Benefits


Finding employment is difficult for anyone especially when you have a disability.  So, it can be really disheartening when you find out a government resource that is put in place to help you may actually make things worse. That’s the horrible notion around SSI and SSDI benefits  for the disabled.  Mostly, when it comes to its  restrictions and healthcare.  I know this firsthand because I once thought this way, up until recently.   A few days ago, I came across an article on Huffington Post that was about maybe 4 years old now.  It was written by Joe Entwisle, a fellow disabled person, and advocate.

He spoke on his wrestling injury that resulted in him being paralyzed as a teenager.  Entwisle said, that an article called “The Disability Trap” he read in The New York Times inspired him to write a response entitled Debunking “The Disability Trap”.  In the article “The Disability Trap” the author stated, that “70% of disabled people live in poverty due to SSI benefits dis-incentivizing  their return to work.”


Joe Entwisle says this is far from the truth.  He said, that SSI/SSDIDisability does not keep it’s beneficiaries from working.  That would be detrimental seeing that the employment rate for the disabled is vastly low.  Entwisle, explains that his journey into the workforce wasn’t easy.  He began wanting to understand the system after his accident because his parent’s insurance maxed out and his healthcare providers stopped getting paid.  He needed to become eligible for Medicaid but also wanted/needed to work.  His research led him to many work incentives while still keeping his benefits.  


Incentives like:

2-for-1 Reduction – Participants who work can gradually earn their way off benefits while keeping their health benefits.


Individualized threshold – If a participant has high Medicaid costs they can earn up to the combined amount of a normal SSI payment plus annual Medicaid cost, and still remain eligible for  health care under the SSI program.


Medicaid Buy-In – This  program gives working people with disabilities the opportunity to buy into Medicaid at higher income and asset allowances than regular Medicaid.

Ticket to Work –  A 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.


The programs have allowed thousands of disabled people to return to work, and out of all three of these incentives Medicaid Buy-In has given 150,000 individuals the chance to go back to work.  So check them out!

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