Figuring the Trip Budget: Conversations with an Expert about SSI and Employment

I consider myself incredibly lucky to be working among the best disability policy experts in Kentucky while also helping my son transition to adult services. Just as Andy turned 18, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to sit down with my transition expert colleague Carolyn Wheeler, and ask her all my questions about applying for SSI and how that fits together with employment.

Carolyn works on HDI’s Supported Employment Training Project where she trains employment specialists to help people with disabilities find jobs, and she specializes in particular on the impact of paid employment on SSI benefits. She is also a Power of Attorney and a Representative Payee for a 65-year-old woman with an intellectual disability.

We broke up our conversation into parts for you to be able to find which parts of the discussion might be most helpful to you.

Part One: Explaining SSI – Going in for the First Meeting (5:29)

Carolyn explains SSI and how to set up the first meeting. Learn more about what you might want to bring in our post: Guidebook: Setting Up the First Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

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Helpful links from video above:

Social Security Website

SSA SSI Handbook: Everyone applying for SSI should read this!!

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits: Information to schedule an appointment and more!

Supplemental Security Income Home Page — 2018 Edition

Part Two: Setting Up the Finances (9:24)

Carolyn talks about setting up banking and reporting for people who receive SSI.

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Helpful links from video above:

Benefits Planner: Disability

Representative Payee Information

Accessible Sample Rental Agreement

Part Three: Guardianship Alternatives (5:21)

Carolyn talks about some of the financial strategies you can put in place when you do not pursue guardianship.

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Helpful links from video above:

Power of Attorney Agreement Templates

National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making (with templates)

Understanding Supplemental Security Income Living Arrangements — 2018 Edition

Part Four: Difference Between SSI and SSDI (5:43)

Carolyn explains the difference between the two programs and when a worker with disabilities might switch from one to the other.

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Helpful links from video above:

SSA Disability Benefits Handbook

2018 SSI and SSDI Comparison Grid (PDF)

2017 1619b Fact Sheet – KY Threshold (PDF) – Text Only (TXT)

Part Five: SSI and Work (12:10)

Carolyn and I work through the math of how SSI and employment income fit together. She provides resources so anyone can do it. She also gives important tips about the Student Earned Income Exclusion!

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Helpful links from video above:

What You Need to Know About Your SSI When You Turn 18 (PDF)

2018 Student Earned Income Exclusion Fact Sheet (PDF) – Text Only (TXT)

KentuckyWorks Benefits Module

Working While Disabled — How We Can Help, 2018 – Social Security document (PDF)

Adjustments to SSI Chart 2018 (PDF)

SSI Worksheet 2018 (MS Excel): Awesome chart to understand how SSDI, SSI, and Work numbers fit together!

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA)

State-by-State WIPA Finder: Counselors to help you understand how work and benefits fit together.