Supplemental Security Income provides cash assistance to disabled, blind or elderly individuals after the Social Security Administration calculates, monitors, adds and subtracts to benefits each month. SSI recipients must report income within 10 days of the end of the month and the income report applies to assistance two months forward. If you receive SSI because of a disability or blindness, you may qualify for special expense deductions if you work.
The Social Security Administration considers impairment-related employment expenses for SSI recipients and subtracts these expenses from income for the month to determine substantial gainful activity calculations. Substantial gainful activity determines disability and continued disability, and is $1,000 a month at time of publication. The Social Security Administration also subtracts these qualifying expenses from the earned income when calculating the SSI payment. The SSI disability recipient who works can reduce earned income and substantial gainful activity figures with this calculation.
Wheelchairs, some transportation costs and work-related equipment are included in qualifying expenses for SSI. Your out-of-pocket expenses for medicine, medical supplies, medical devices, service animals and disposable items, such as syringes and bandages, are qualifying expenses if used for work. Doctor’s visits and examinations in preparation for you to work may be deductible as qualifying expenses. If you need attendant services or special transportation, this is a qualifying expense. Public transportation does not usually count as a qualifying expense.
The expense must not be a reimbursed expense to be deductible. It must be an item you pay. The Social Security Administration requires that it relate to your disability and your attempt to work. It does not matter that you need the item for daily living as well as for work. An example is a wheelchair that you use for work and home. If you pay for this item, the Social Security Administration can subtract it from your work income for calculating substantial gainful activity and from your income earned that would otherwise offset SSI benefits.
If you work and your SSI benefits discontinue because of excess income, your Medicaid eligibility continues if you remain disabled. You receive SSI benefits for a two months grace period after you no longer qualify. You may also receive expedited SSI reinstatement for five years following your cessation of SSI benefits. SSI regulations encourage individuals to work to capacity, providing deductions for qualifying expenses that apply to substantial gainful activity and earned income.