Tennessee residents should know about SSI work incentives

Tennessee residents may be aware of the Supplemental Security Income program, run by the Social Security Administration. The purpose of the SSI program is to provide financial benefits to those individuals who have limited or no income because of a disabling condition such as blindness, physical impairments, illnesses or old age. The money such people receive in the form of SSI helps them meet the expenses for basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.

Besides monetary benefits, the SSI program also helps people who are blind or disabled lead an independent life by incentivizing the employment opportunities that they come across. The work incentive scheme enables this endeavor by reducing the risk of blind, disabled or aged people face of losing SSI benefits or Medicaid benefits when they take up employment.

Per the rules set by the Social Security Administration, the work incentive scheme allows for the exclusion of certain incomes or resources at the time of determining the amount of SSI benefits for which an applicant is eligible. The scheme also has certain other incentives that provide continuing Medicaid benefits even if that individual is not a recipient of cash benefits under the SSI program.

According to existing rules, a benefits recipient can be eligible for more than one work incentive program. However, the amount of income that a person receives from work influences the amount of work incentives applicable to his or her case and the amount of financial aid that person would receive from the SSI benefits program. The SSA does this by making adjustments to work incentives and SSI benefits amounts after taking into consideration the various incomes and resources of an individual.

Recipients of SSI benefits are eligible for exclusions of various types of income. As an example, according to current rules, the first $65 income and half of the income earned above $65 are excluded while computing SSI benefits under the work incentives scheme. There are various other similar exclusions such as those applicable to students, work expenses arising from a disabling condition and so on.

Source: SSA.gov, “Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Work Incentives,” Accessed on March 6, 2015