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What happens to my SSI benefits if I find work?

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Being able to work for one’s own living and to reduce their need for disability benefits is often a goal of a North Carolina resident who needs Supplemental Security Income to get by. In review, SSI benefits are generally available to individuals who are at least 65 years old or are disabled or blind and who have limited access to earning wages and financial support. If a person who qualifies for SSI receives benefits and then is able to secure gainful employment, they may fear that their benefits will be stopped. Depending upon how much income they earn and the types of benefits they get, they may be able to keep some or all of their SSI.

For example, income that is earned below an established threshold may not reduce a worker’s SSI benefits. Additionally, individuals who receive SSI and who are students may be able to exclude from their income more than $7,000 per year in earnings in order to continue to qualify for SSI benefits.

Individuals who must cover the costs of impairment-related work expenses may be able to exclude from their incomes those expenses that they must have in order to be able to work. Additionally, SSI recipients who develop and pursue plans to achieve self-support may be able to deduct from their incomes money that they put toward achieving their employment and income-earning goals.

In sum, a person’s SSI benefits may be discontinued, reduced, increased or continued depending upon the type of earnings they secure and their particular SSI case. Specific guidance on this complex topic should be sought from a knowledgeable disabiliy benefits attorney.

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