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Ask Lane Your Own Question
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11591
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
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My brother in law is disable, can he work and still get

Customer Question

my brother in law is disable , can he work and still get social security benefits?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 11 months ago.



Is your brother on SSI or SSDI?


Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSD)?


let me know and we can go from there

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
is on both
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
$ 466 on SSI and $ 889 on disability
Expert:  Lane replied 11 months ago.

To qualify for an SSI payment in addition to an SSDI payment, your income must be less than $733 per month.

Expert:  Lane replied 11 months ago.

also employer subsidies and expenses that are required to let him work can be deducted to get to the allowable number.


See this example from Social Security:


We know from Tom’s pay stubs that he receives $1,600 a month in wages. Tom tells us that he is able to complete only 4 car repairs a day, compared to his co-workers who complete an average of 6-8 car repairs a day. Tom believes he is paid the same salary as his fellow co-workers. If this is the case, Tom’s employer may be subsidizing his wages.

We contact the employer and learn that the employer is paying Tom $1,600 a month, the same rate as experienced employees who complete 6-8 repairs a day. The employer pays Tom the same rate as the experienced employees because he knows about Tom’s disability and understands it takes him longer to complete tasks. The employer calculates that the actual worth of Tom’s services is $1,400 a month. This means that Tom has a monthly subsidy of $200, which is the difference between what he is paid ($1,600) and what his employer says his services are worth ($1,400).

Tom takes a taxi to and from work and provides receipts which show this cost is $350 per month. Tom’s treating physician confirms that his condition prevents him from driving. He cannot take public transportation because crowded situations aggravate his condition. Since Tom pays for his work transportation and there is a medical need for him to take a taxi, we can deduct the cost of his transportation expenses as impairment-related work expenses (IRWE).


We use Tom’s subsidy and IRWE to determine if his earnings are SGA as follows:


$1,600 wages - $200 employer subsidy - $350 IRWE = $1,050 monthly earnings

$1,050 is under the SGA level of 1130 for 2016, so Tom is not engaging in SGA (Substantial gainful activity level for SSDI purposes) BUT the SSI (a means tested program WILL be reduced).