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Planning and Work Incentives for Individuals with Disabilities

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Myths vs. Facts

Adding hours at my job gave me $120 more every month in wages, but my SSI was only reduced by $60, so I am coming out ahead.

Vanessa C.
Nashua, NH

Myths vs. Facts

Myths vs. Facts

  • Myth: I have to keep my earnings under $1,000 a month or I will lose my Social Security.

    Fact: SSDI beneficiaries can continue to receive benefits during the Trial Work Period and Extended Period of Eligibility, and can also use work incentives -- such as Impairment Related Work Expenses and Subsidies -- to earn over $1,000 per month while keeping their countable earnings to under $1,000 per month.

  • Myth: I will lose my health insurance (Medicare or Medicaid) if I go to work even part-time.

    Fact: Medicare will continue for at least 8 years and 3 months after you begin working, and it can go even longer.  Medicaid can continue until your annual wages are more than $97,535 per year.

  • Myth: Because I have SSI, if I get a job I will wind up with less money every month.

    Fact:  The Social Security Administration counts less than half of an individual's wages when figuring cash payments in the SSI program.  So recipients always have more money overall each month if they work.
  • Myth: I can't have Medicaid for Employed Adults with Disabilities (MEAD) because I don't receive Social Security benefits

    Fact:  Anyone who meets the state's definition of disability, is between the ages of 18 - 64, is employed or self-employed, and meets the income and resource limits can apply for MEAD.  See the MEAD information in Medical Insurance Fact Sheets.

  • Myth: My child has a developmental disability. He currently has Healthy Kids Gold for Medicaid coverage. He will be switched to an adult Medicaid automatically at age 19.

    Fact:  Untrue.  Your child needs to file an application for adult Medicaid through NH Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled (APTD).  It is suggested that he file the application at age 18 to prevent any lapse in Medicaid coverage.  (It can take up to 90 days for a decision to be made for adult Medicaid.)
  • Myth: I was recently diagnosed with a disabling impairment. I currently have financial assistance and Medicaid through NH Family Assistance for me and my children. I don’t have to file for any additional benefit at this time.

    Fact:  The benefits (cash and Medicaid) you are receiving under Family Assistance will end when your youngest child is age 18 (19 if still in high school).   To prevent a lapse in cash assistance and/or Medicaid for you,  you should file for disability benefits – Both through the Social Security administration (SSDI and/or SSI) and through the State of NH Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled (APTD) program.
  • Myth: I have been unable to get health insurance due to my pre-existing condition since I had to stop work last year due to my condition. I was recently approved for SSDI benefits, but I will not have Medicare for 2 years. I have no other options.

    Fact:  You should file for Medicaid through the NH Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled (APTD) program if your assets are less than $2,500.00 (including bank accounts, stock, bonds, etc).  You may have to pay a monthly spend-down, but this program can help with larger medical bills.  If you are working (even part-time), you should apply for Medicaid for Employed Adults with Disabilities (MEAD).
  • Myth: Once I get onto Social Security disability benefits, I can’t work.

    Fact:  This is not true.  One of the Social Security Administration’s highest priorities is to support the efforts of beneficiaries who want to work by developing policies and services to help them reach their employment goal. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs include a number of employment support provisions commonly referred to as work incentives.
  • Myth: I am on SSI and NH Medicaid. I would like to work so I can open an Individual Development Account (IDA) to save money to start my own business but I can’t save more than $2,000.

    Fact:  An IDA that is funded (at least in part) by federal monies is excluded from the resource limit for both SSI and NH Medicaid.  In addition, the wages and matching funds are excluded as income.  This means the amount you put into your IDA account will not affect your Federal or State benefits.