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What should I know about blind work expenses with SSI benefits?

New Jersey residents who are dealing with blindness will not automatically be labeled as unable to work and need help with the most basic tasks. While blindness is a challenge, many people can function and be productive despite it. However, simply because a blind person can work does not mean they should not use the available benefits from the Supplemental Security Income program.

SSI benefits are specifically designed to help those who are blind, disabled or 65 and older who meet the income and resource requirements. One aspect of working while blind and getting SSI is blind work expenses or BWE. BWE assists people by not counting earned income that is used to pay for expenses that are required to earn income or when determining the amount the person will get based on SSI. When getting BWE, it is important to remember that the items that the person requires for work do not necessarily need to be linked to their blindness.

When the Social Security Administration determines how much the person should get in SSI, BWE will not be viewed in the same context as income related work expenses or IRWE. This helps the applicant by ensuring that they will receive more in SSI. BWE can include the following: a service animal and the cost for its upkeep; transportation back and forth to work; income taxes; taxes for Social Security; payment for attendant care; the cost of translating materials into Braille so the blind person can read it; union dues and more.

A mistake people frequently make is not understanding all the potential benefits available to them. Those who are blind and work or want to work and are getting SSI benefits should be aware of how BWE can help them. A law firm that represents clients who are seeking or already receiving Supplemental Security Income can assist with getting the maximum benefits available to them. Calling for advice is key to achieving this end.

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