For job seekers receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) it is important to know the maximum amount of income you can receive without losing your benefits.

During the “trial work period” (at least the first nine months of work), there are no limits on your earnings. During the 36-month “extended period of eligibility” (the 36 months following the trial work period), you can typically make no more than $1,090 a month or your benefits will stop.

However, the Social Security Administration deducts “work expenses” when they count your earnings. If you have extra work expenses, your earnings could be higher than $1,090 before they affect your benefits. Your work expenses may include the costs of “any items or services you need to work”, including co-payments for prescriptions, counseling services, transportation to and from work (under certain conditions), or a job coach. 

Work Incentives for SSDI

Trial Work Period

Allows you to test your ability to work for 9 months with full disability benefits regardless of income

Extended Period of Eligibility

Benefits given by SSDI are automatically reinstated for 36 months after trial work period when you drop below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, without having to fill out a new application 

Continuation of Medicare Coverage

Provides coverage of Hospital (Part A), Supplemental Medical Insurance (Part B), and Medical Insurance and Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D) for 93 consecutive months for working persons with disabilities  

Read the full list of work incentives here




For job seekers receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income), the rules for income are different. SSI payments are based on your income, so the amount of SSI benefits you receive will decline as you make more money. If you reach the SSI limit, your benefits will stop.

However, if your income decreases, your SSI benefits will begin again. It is your responsibility to keep your SSI office informed of any changes to your income. SSI limits are different in every state, so it is important to make sure you know the specific information for your location. 

Work Incentives for SSI

Earned Income Exclusion

When counting total income, the first $65 and half of earnings are excluded

Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE)

If an individual is under 22 and pursuing school, up to $1,780 per month is excluded from total income

Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)

Money used to get ahead in one's career (such as going to school or participating in job training) is excluded from total income

Property Essential to Self-Support (PESS)

The cost of resources needed for work (including tools and equipment for work) is excluded from total income

Special SSI Payments for People Who Work

Permits cash payments from SSI when earnings meet substantial gainful activity (SGA) level

Continued Medicaid Eligibility

Permits Medicaid coverage after earnings exceed SSI cash payment amount

Special Benefits for People Eligible Under Section 1619(a) or (b) who Enter Medical Treatment Facility

Permits eligibility for Medicaid for up to 2 months while in Medicaid facility or public medical facility, when employed

Reinstating Eligibility Without Application

Permits eligibility for SSI cash payment benefits or Medicaid coverage without an application if you have been eligible for less than 12 months 

Read the full list of work incentives here.   



Work Incentives 

Work incentives are rules that allow people receiving SSI or SSDI to obtain monthly payments and Medicare/Medicaid benefits. These rules help people maintain financial stability while working. They also help people keep their benefits under SSI and SSDI. Below are a few incentives that may apply to your situation.

Work Incentives for both SSI and SSDI

Impairment and Related Work Expense (IRWE)

When counting total income, the cost of impairment-related expenses that you need to work (including transportation and specialized work-related equipment) is deducted

Subsidies and Special Conditions

The value of support you receive for working that could have extra costs (including job coaches, extra supervision, and fewer tasks) is deducted from total income

Unsuccessful Work Attempt

If one is not able to hold a job due to their disability and, as a result, becomes unemployed or earns an earning below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, they will receive benefits including those under SSI and SSDI

Continued Payment Under a Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Monthly benefits can continue if active in a Vocational Rehabilitation Program that promotes independence

There are many more incentives specific to SSI and SSDI. Check out the full list here

Read this pamphlet for more information on SSDI and SSI benefits.