Often individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities receiving Social Security benefits are reluctant to work a job because they fear they will lose benefits. So, their desire to work and become more independent becomes a difficult decision. But there are actually many resources and safeguards in place to prevent the loss of these benefits while working.

On Nov. 18, ADEC’s Employment Service Manager Susan Faltynski presented the second half of the webinar “How Employment and Disability Benefits Work Together.” This family forum was designed to provide information to help individuals reach their self-sufficiency goals and is packed with information and resources. We encourage you to listen to the recorded webinar and download the free material below.

To read more about Part 1, Here are some highlights from the presentation.

Continuing Benefits While Working

While many people fear losing Social Security benefits if they begin earning an income, Faltynski noted that there are safeguards and helps in place to assure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) do not lose those necessary funds.

“There are various programs to assist with resource-building and agencies available to help you rejoin the workforce,” said Faltynski. In fact, she emphasized that “it takes years to lose benefits.”

Faltynski presented information on work incentives and earned income exclusions for both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability  Insurance (SSDI). She shared how to track working hours and amounts to ensure individuals know exactly what to expect. She shares the exact formulas that are used by the government agencies to determine benefits.

In addition to this, there is also an expedited reinstatement of benefits available for a period of time if benefits are stopped due to earnings from work.

Continuing Medicaid and Medicare Benefits

In addition to losing SSI or SSDI benefits, individuals also worry that working will cause them to lose their health coverage under Medicaid or Medicare. But Faltynski stated that it is difficult to lose these as well. For example, as long as an individual makes less than $38,506, was previously eligible for SSI, and is still considered disabled, they will remain eligible for Medicaid.

Utilizing a Miller Trust

A Miller trust is used for persons in nursing homes or group homes, or those getting home and community-based services. This waiver reduces income received to the Medicaid eligibility limit and funds deposited into this account are used to cover the cost of the individual’s care.

Housing Assistance Work Incentives

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program helps individuals reduce their dependence on assistance programs and is open to all people receiving public housing and section 8 through the Indiana Housing Authority (IHA). The IHA works with individuals on their goals toward self-sufficiency.

More to Consider

Faltynski also goes into detail about how individuals can utilize the Income Tax Work Incentives, the Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) savings plan, Vocational Rehabilitation, resource-building options, and more.

We hope the information provided in this forum helps to clear up some of the misconceptions that disability benefits will disappear if an individual seeks employment. On the contrary, the purpose of these safeguards and other resources is to help individuals with developmental disabilities become self-sufficient and to help them to live a life of informed choice and possibility.

Downloads and Resources: