Saturday, April 12, 2008

SSI & SSD & Plentiful Income

Is it possible to terminate SSDI and SSI(dual recipient) and Medicare and Medicaid(dual recipient) benefits voluntarily? ...For instance if you know new plentiful income (well over $900 set by SSA) is to start for yourself sometime in the future? What is the process and procedure? Especially if you want to time the ending of benefits and the begining of new income?

Thank You

Nightend from Mass.

OK- we have several questions here: Let’s start with SSDI. This stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. This program is not based on financial need, but rather is based on SS covered earnings, and the monthly benefits are determined by the earnings record of the beneficiary. After 24 months of entitlement to benefits a beneficiary is eligible for Medicare, which is totally different from Medicaid, a welfare-based medical coverage, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

NOTE: If the income you will receive is from something other than earnings, it will have no effect at all on your SSDI, and no effect of your Medicare entitlement. If the income is earned, from wages or self-employment, then it will result in a termination of your SSDI benefits ONLY if it substantial. For wages in 2008, this means over $940 per month ($1,570 if you’re blind). There are special rules for the self-employed, (Section 504 of the Social Security Benefits Handbook).

Even at that, you may be eligible for a Trial Work Period before SSA determines you are no longer disabled, whereby you can work for 9 months (they don’t have to be consecutive – but they only count if within a 60 month rolling period- see Section 509 of the Social Security Benefits Handbook for a discussion of the Trial Work Period). If so, they will not terminate your benefits until the third month after that, so it is possible to receive up to 12 months of benefits after you return to work. If you are not medically recovered, but your benefits terminate only because you are working, you may continue to be covered by Medicare for another 8 ½ years after you start working.

The rules are totally different for SSI. Because it is a needs-based welfare program, income from any source, earned or unearned, offsets your payments and affects eligibility for Medicaid. However, if your are still disabled, you may be eligible for Medicaid continuation under the Ticket To Work Program. Here’s a link for that: Medicaid Ticket To Work Program

The timing for this is within your control simply by deciding when you want to begin working, if that is the source of your new income. Once you begin receiving income, you must report it to SSA and the state agency that provides your Medicaid coverage, like the Department of Social Services.

No comments: