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SSI benefits and impairment related work expenses - key points

Not everyone in New Jersey who is receiving Supplemental Security Income is completely unable to work. However, since SSI benefits are based on need, they could have various concerns about finances with trying to get back on the job. For these individuals, understanding how the Social Security Administration will assist them with impairment related work expenses (IRWE) is a foundational aspect they must understand before even making the attempt to get back on the job. As with any aspect of SSI, it is always a good decision to have legal help.

With IRWE, the SSA will generally deduct the amount the person paid out-of-pocket from what they have earned at work when determining their SSI benefits. The SSI benefits will therefore not be reduced as much as they would otherwise be since the earnings will not be counted in full. If, for example, a person needs to buy medical supplies, medicine and even a service animal, that will all be calculated as IRWE.

Even trips to the doctor or a home health aide can be deducted if this is needed so the person can work. It goes without saying that transportation costs would be included. It is irrelevant whether the service is needed on or off the job if it is being used for daily activities. A wheelchair will commonly be deducted from counted earnings despite the person using the wheelchair at home and on the job.

With SSI-related benefits, people should know that the assistance they receive goes beyond what SSI provides for them to make ends meet as they are injured or ill and meet the resource requirements. For those who can work or would like to try to work, they have options to do so. When they are working, IRWE is an important consideration. Having legal help with this or any aspect of Supplemental Security Income is essential and a qualified lawyer can be of immense value.

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