SSI Only Incentives

An individual’s SSI cash benefit is based on countable income. Several incentives exist to help decrease countable income in order to secure you higher net total income each month.

Blind Work Expenses (BWE) When determining if you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and calculating your payment amount, SSA does not count any earned income used to meet expenses that you need to earn that income. To qualify for BWEs you must be eligible for SSI due to Blindness under SSA rules.


  • Service animal expenses
  • Transportation to and from work
  • Federal, state, and local taxes
  • Social Security taxes
  • Attendant care services
  • Visual and sensory aids
  • Translation of work related materials into braille
  • Professional association fees and union dues

BWE are also treated differently than IRWE in the SSI calculation in order to net you a higher SSI payment.

Student-Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) allows students under the age of 22 who regularly attend school, receive SSI, and work to exclude up to $2,220 per month to a maximum of $8,950 per year in 2023 from their adjusted SSI calculation. These figures usually change annually.

You may be able to keep your health benefits.

If you receive SSI benefits:

  • As long as you received at least $1 in benefits for at least one month, you are still disabled, you need Medicaid in order to work, and you have gross earned income that is insufficient to replace SSI, Medicaid and any publicly funded attendant care benefits will continue.
  • In general, your Medicaid coverage will continue even after your SSI cash payments stop until your income reaches a certain level. That level is called a threshold level and it varies with each state and reflects the cost of health care in your state.

Even if SSI cash payments stop, Medicaid coverage will usually continue until your earnings exceed the state threshold for Medicaid qualification.

A full listing of state thresholds is available at Take a moment to look up your threshold now.

If you receive SSDI:

  • You will continue to be eligible for Medicare for any month that you are eligible for SSDI.
  • You have free Part A Continuation of Medicare Coverage – Medicare will continue for at least 93 consecutive months after your trial work period; you do, however, have to purchase Medicare Part B or Medical Part D coverage if you wish that to continue as well.

Resources are available through the following: