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We Heard You! More about Saving Money While Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)


We recently posted a Money Mondays blog, The Importance of an Emergency Fund and have heard your comments and concerns! We understand that saving money for emergencies can be a challenge if you have a disability and depend on public benefit programs that have resource and asset limits, such as SSI, to meet your basic living expenses. However, there are a variety of programs that may help you set aside money while you are receiving SSI and working towards financial independence.

Here are some saving options:

  • Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) – PASS is a Work Incentive that allows you to set aside money from your income or resources to pay for training, equipment, support services and employment-related expenses that can lead to a job and higher income. Meet Michelle B. and learn how the PASS worked for her!
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – The EITC is a tax credit that helps people with low-to-moderate income reduce the amount of federal income tax they owe. (Even if a person doesn’t earn enough money to owe federal income taxes, he or she may qualify for the EITC.) To learn more, read Money Mondays: Don't Overlook The EITC Tax Credit! and Money Mondays: Your Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) - The SEIE allows an individual who is receiving SSI, under age 22 and regularly attending school to have earnings excluded from income. In 2013, the amounts excluded are $1,730 monthly up to a yearly maximum of $6,960. To learn more, visit Social Security’s webpage on SEIE.
  • Property Essential to Self-Support (PESS) – Social Security will evaluate whether to count some resources that you need to support yourself when they decide if you are eligible for SSI. For example, Social Security won't count property such as tools or equipment that you use for work. Or, if you have a trade or business, Social Security won't count property such as inventory.
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) - IDAs are special accounts that help you save your earnings for a specific goal. IDAs work by “matching” the amount of money you have saved from earnings from your job. The match happens after you have saved your agreed-upon amount, and can be dollar-for-dollar or even greater, up to eight dollars for every one dollar you put into the account.  Making the most of your IDA can potentially help you reach your goal much faster!  Read Money Mondays: Individual Development Accounts can help you reach your goals! to learn more about saving with an IDA.

Social Security wants you to succeed and become financially independent. The journey is not easy, but with the Ticket to Work program, Work Incentives and other federal programs and resources, you can achieve your goals. Many individuals have achieved their work goals and are now financially independent, as demonstrated by these Success Stories. If you are ready to change your life through work, get started today and learn about financial independence through our free WISE webinar, Ticket to Work: Support for People with Disabilities on the Journey to Financial Independence.

If you are age 18 through 64 and you receive SSDI and/or SSI due to a disability, you are be eligible to participate in the Ticket to Work program. For information about the Ticket program and the Work Incentives mentioned here, please contact the Ticket to Work Help Line (1-866-968-7842 (V) or1-866-833-2967 (TTY) and talk to one of our representatives or e-mail them ( about your personal situation. Get started today and see how Ticket to Work can help you increase your income, build-up assets and achieve a more financially independent future.

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darwin says:
August 2, 2013 at 1:02 AM

how much can a person make while on disablity

Ranbo says:
August 2, 2013 at 11:08 AM

This is a joke.  Nothing new here.  EITC has nothing to do with being able to save money for emergencies or anything else.  The other things mentioned would only benefit a small number of beneficiaries (.e.g those under 22) and do not really address the need to have money that can be set aside for emergency or unusual expenses.   PASS is for anticipated expenses, not unknown emergencies.

The real issue is that the SSI asset limit has not keep up with inflation, having been raised only once since SSI began, and so is thousands of dollars less than it would be if adjusted for inflation. 

If SSA realizes there is a need for emergency expenditures why doesn't it (or Congress) create a provision for setting aside money in a separate account, up to a certain amount of money, to be usef for emergency situations, and make it available to all beneficiaries,not just those who might be in a position to take advantage of things like PASS, student exclusions or IDAs?

SamYaw says:
August 29, 2013 at 9:11 PM

This Web Page Is Rather Confuseing To Or For Me Personally, And Hardly Address My Concerns Or Issues. I've Been Fighting For 2 Plus Yrs. For "SSI", Witch The San Bernardino,Calif "ODAR" Office Just Approved Me & Friday 8/30/13 , I Have A Appointment With A Social Security Women On My Case. How Ever My Other Part Of Appeal , Was Denied & It Appears I Have Up To 60 Days To Appeal That Answer For "SSDI" & Binder & Binder Are My Attorneys Of Record And Are looking Into And Seeing If My Case Is Or Was Wourth Appealing That Part They Represent Me For In The First PLace.   For Me "SSI" Is Only About $710.00 By It's Self And What Ever Medical Might Go With It As Well. And Maybe A Small Part For "Food Stamps" As well. Goverment Really Gets Up Close And Very Personal On Your Owned Items & Income & Savings & Bank Accounts. Just To Only Give You A Minor Amount Of $710.00 Per Mo. Dirrect Deposit At That These Days It Seems. How Will I Ever Survive On This Very Little Amount Each Mounth? If I Didn't Out Right Own Free And Clear 1 Car & 1 Home I Live In, I'de Be Up A Creek With Out A Paddle As They Say. Any Thoughts Or Idea's From Anybody Out There On What , I Can Or Should Do In The Process? This Is A Govermental Web Sight , So I'm Guessing , I Won't Get Much Help Or Referal's At Best One Way Or The Other. I Also Reached Out To My Local "Congressmen's Office" On This Case For "HeartShip" Case. Mr. Paul Cooks , Staff Have Been Just Great On His Behalf For Me In The Process Of It All Lately. My Senator's Offices Has "IGNORED" Me 100% and never E-Mailed Or Wrote Me Or Called Me Back Or E-Mail, Ect....! That's About All I Knew , I Might Be Able To Do durning The Interm Of My Pending Case. I Sincerly Hope And Prey , Much More Might Be Possible Down The Road On My Case Up Dated Status. Anybody Out There With Any Thoughts Or Reffals Or Idea's , I Greatly Appreaceate It Trimendously...! I'm Not Sure If A Phone Number Or Address On This E-Mail Sight Is Secured? God Bless You All.         Donald J. S. Y.

TG says:
March 5, 2014 at 7:34 PM

there is no reason we shouldn't be allowed to save ssdi and ssi money. it's our money. we're entitled to it. why can't we save it? yet people blame us for not being able to get anywhere in life. 

Choose-Work-Blog-Staff says:
March 13, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Hi, saving money can be a challenge if you have a disability and depend on public benefit programs that have resource and asset limits to meet your basic living expenses. In the post, we share a variety of programs that may help you set aside money while you are receiving SSI and working towards financial independence.

kc says:
August 17, 2014 at 1:24 PM

All of this sounds like, your a regular person already making 50,000 a year, it took me 10 years or them to approve my benafits, and in the mean time my work history is screwed, I have allergies to everything, and then I get more being in another type of enviroment, or someones perfume, or what they clean with, or if they mop or clean a room and I touch it, hives, and throat starts closing, but its alright, cuz I am allergic to medacines to counter this, so I get a crappy little sum of money a month, thats not enough to live on becuz I cant join in on this oppertunity, oh and by the way the closets one in my area is 500 miles away round trip, my car I barrow, becuz not making enough to maintain a car wont even go this far, so HOW CAN ANY OF THIS HELP ME??? My employment history in the last 8 years is quitting jobs due to DEATHLY HAPPENINGS becuz of something I touched or breathed so I want to be self safficiant? How can I make enough money to get rid of my SSDI, cuz man who wouldnt want to make more money than they alot you?? any respponse would be grand, I sure dont like hand outs. Thanks and have a great day

Choose-Work-Blog-Staff says:
August 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Hi Kim, We have heard similar frustrations from other people who have explored the Ticket program and we think the program may be able to help you. We understand that it took a long time to get your benefits, and you do not want to risk losing them. The great thing about the Ticket program is you can keep your benefits while you explore your work options. We  have experts who can help you with job accommodations, job options, including working from home and finding a service provider that is in your area or can work with you remotely if you are not able to get to their offices. If you are a Social Security disability beneficiary age 18 through 64,  then you already qualify! You will be able to receive free employment support services such as career counseling and job placement. We suggest you call our Help Line to speak with one of our representatives about your personal situation. Live experts are available to talk to you Monday through Friday from 8:00AM - 8:00PM ET at 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 866-833-2967 (TTY).