How the SSA Determines Benefits
How the SSA Subtracts Disability-Related Work Expenses from Your Benefits
In order to receive disability benefits, you probably know that the SSA in Ohio asks for your income to determine your eligibility. As a result, you have to show that you require disability benefits because you are unable to work and make a sizeable income due to your disability. However, depending on the types of disability-related work expenses you may require if working while receiving benefits, the SSA may subtract some of those expenses from the income it uses to calculate your benefits. Read on to learn more about how your work-related disability expenses affect your benefits.
What are impairment-related work expenses?
Impairment-related work expenses (IRWEs) are the SSA term for expenses caused by your disability that you need in order to continue working. There are several requirements for an expense to be classified an IRWE: for example, you must need the item or service to be able to work, and you must need it because of a mental or physical impairment. Other qualifications include not being reimbursed for the cost of the IRWE by any other source (such as Medicare, Medicaid, or a private insurance company) and that the cost of the IRWE is reasonable compared to prices for similar items or services in your area.
What are some examples of impairment-related work expenses?
The main categories of IRWEs are transportation, attendant care services, medical devices, and changes to your home. For example, if you have to add new features to your car (such as hand-controlled brakes or acceleration devices), the cost of doing so can be considered an IRWE, as would the cost of having someone drive you to work if you can’t take public transit because of your disability. Medical devices include wheelchairs, dialysis equipment, crutches, pacemakers, respirators, traction equipment, walkers, and braces; attendant care services include people who help you prepare for work or who assist you while at work, and changes to your home count if you work at home.
How do impairment-related work expenses affect my disability benefits?
In order to qualify for disability benefits while you continue to work, you must prove to the Ohio SSA that you make don’t make “substantial gainful activity” (SGA), which in 2015 was defined as earning $1,090 per month. If you have IRWEs, the SSA will subtract the cost of these from your overall earnings, increasing your eligibility for disability benefits. Talk to your lawyer to go over your work history and find out how your IRWEs can affect benefits in your situation.