Going to Work: Tips and Tools

When starting a job it is likely that you will have concerns about how work will affect your health care or disability benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicare, Medical Assistance (MA), or other benefits.

There are numerous articles on DB101 that provide information on disability benefit programs, and how your benefits can change when you earn money from a job. That is not the primary focus of this article though.

What to Expect in This Article

This article will provide:

  • Information on reporting your income and other important steps to take when you start work
  • Links to information on several topics related to working and benefits
  • Forms and tools you can use to report your income and to manage your health care and other benefits
  • Information and tips on how to interact with the agencies that provide benefits to you
  • Information about what you need to report and when you need to report it

By being prepared and knowing the rules, you can help things go smoothly with your benefits as you begin to work.

Reporting Requirements

There are certain steps you should take when you start working to avoid problems with your benefits.

First of all, it is important to notify any government agency that provides you with assistance that you are working. This assistance might be cash benefits, SNAP, or health care. The agency providing you with assistance might be Social Security, your county human services agency, or your local housing authority.

You will need to notify each agency of the date that you start working, how many hours you will work, and how much you will earn each month. Be sure to keep all wage stubs or direct deposit receipts from any new job.

It is important to know that some health care and disability benefits may continue after your job starts. These benefits can still support you while you are working.

For example, if you are currently getting SSI, you may still be eligible for a smaller SSI cash benefit when you are working. The size of your monthly SSI benefit will depend on how much you make at your job. By being prepared and knowing the rules, you can help things go smoothly with your benefits as you begin to work.

Social Security programs and health care programs such as Medical Assistance (MA) have rules called “work incentives.” For example, if you are getting SSI now, you may be able to keep your Medical Assistance (MA) when you go to work. Your health care benefits and disability benefits will not automatically end just because you are working.

If you are getting SSDI, you can work for nine months and still get your full SSDI cash benefit during your Trial Work Period. Work incentives can help you maintain benefits that are important to you as you transition into work.