“Thought for the Day” #982 – by Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M.

June 12, 2017

For those with special needs, as discussed yesterday a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiary who is working may deduct from his or her monthly earned income figure any impairment-related work expenses like specialized transportation costs and durable medical equipment required for his or her job.  It does not matter if the beneficiary also needs those services or supplies to help him or her outside of work as well.  These expenses are deducted from income on a dollar-for-dollar basis.  For example, if an SSI beneficiary makes $1,000 a month at work and needs to pay $200 a month for a special van for transportation to his or her job, that beneficiary will have their SSI benefit reduced by $357.50 ($1,000 – $20 income disregard – $65 earned income disregard – $200 impairment-related work expenses = $715 / 2 = $357.50).  Because these SSI income rules can be difficult to implement — even the Social Security Administration doesn’t get them right all the time — it is important to discuss all sources of income with your special needs planner prior to applying for SSI.  Every dollar counts!