Work Incentives may help make the transition to the workplace easier. Learn what Work Incentives are and how they may be able to help you in your path to financial independence by reading today’s Work Incentives Wednesdays blog post.

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Work Incentives Wednesdays: What are Work Incentives?

Apr 26, 2017

Graphic of Ben holding a sign that reads "Work Incentives"In our monthly Work Incentives Wednesdays blog series, we have been sharing information about specific Work Incentives. Today, we take a step back to talk about what Work Incentives are and why they are important as you start or continue on your path to a career and financial independence.

Work Incentives: support on your journey to work

We often hear from beneficiaries that they’re afraid they will lose their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and health care benefits (Medicare or Medicaid) if they start to work. Social Security has special rules known as Work Incentives that you can use to ease the transition to work without suddenly losing your benefits. In many cases, by using Work Incentives, you can test your ability to work and keep your health care and some of your cash benefits. Twenty different Work Incentives make up this support system so you can earn your way to financial independence with confidence.

Work Incentives are available based on the benefit you receive — SSI, SSDI or both. For example, you can qualify for an Earned Income Exclusion (EIE) if you receive SSI, but a Trial Work Period (TWP) is available only if you receive SSDI. Social Security’s website can help you learn more about the Work Incentives available to you based on the type of benefit you receive.

An example of Work Incentives

Social Security has many Work Incentives designed to fit your individual needs. Let’s look at just one example available to people who receive SSI and/or SSDI, called Expedited Reinstatement (EXR).

If you are working and making enough money that your benefits eventually stop, what happens if you have to quit working because of your disability or a condition related to it? With the EXR Work Incentive, you can request that your benefits start again without submitting a new benefit application. While Social Security is reviewing your request to reinstate your benefits, you may receive temporary benefits for up to 6 months. This gives you time to explore your options, whether returning to work or to disability benefits.

Future posts in this series will cover other Work Incentives. You can also read our previous Work Incentives Wednesdays blog posts to learn about Work Incentives like the Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) and Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE).For more information about all of Social Security’s Work Incentives, check out The Red Book – A Guide to Work Incentives.

Ticket to Work and Work Incentives

As you learn more about Work Incentives, the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program can help you take steps toward your career and financial goals. The Ticket program provides free employment support for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits and want to work.

Through the program, you can connect with services and support. Support includes access to Employment Networks (EN) and other service providers that may have Benefits Counselors on staff. Benefits Counselors can discuss your benefits and Work Incentives to help you better understand how working will affect your benefits. Once you’re ready to work, an EN can help you find job training, offer career consulting and even help with job placement.

In addition to this monthly blog series, the Ticket program hosts monthly Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) webinars. You can attend these free webinars to learn more about Work Incentives and other resources available to people who receive Social Security disability benefits. Register for the next webinar online or call 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY). Past webinars are available in the WISE webinar archives.

Learn More

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

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