Can you work when you receive SSI?

Supplemental Security Income provides federal benefits to low-income individuals with limited work opportunities because of disability, blindness or age. If you receive SSI, however, you can potentially return to work without losing your benefits. 

Review these guidelines from the Social Security Administration about returning to work while receiving SSI benefits. 

Earned income exclusions

You can earn up to $65 per month without a reduction in your benefits. After $65, the SSA reduces your benefits by 50% of your earnings. For example, if you receive $500 in SSI and earn $100 in a single month, the SSA would reduce your benefits by 50% of $35 ($17.50). Students who receive SSI may receive an exemption for up to $1,900 of monthly income up to a yearly threshold. 

Impairment-related deductions

You can also reduce your earned income by the cost of disability-related services and products that allow you to work. Examples include modified tools, computer programs, assistive technology, vehicle modifications, counseling, therapy, medication and copayment for doctor visits. You must pay for these items out of pocket to qualify for this exclusion. 

Ticket to Work program

If you need help finding a job, training for a job or learning how to work with a disability, you may qualify for free employment support services. The SSA Ticket to Work program also covers benefits counseling and networking opportunities. The SSA will not review your eligibility for SSI benefits while you pursue employment through Ticket to Work. 

These factors may influence your decision to apply for SSI benefits or to try to go back to work if you already get benefits.