Social Security Benefit Analysis and Planning What, Why, When and Where? Emily Hart, Pierce County Benefit Specialist
What Is Social Security Benefit Analysis and Planning? • Providing education about Social Security benefits • Gathering information • Reviewing an individual’s benefit profile • Illustrating potential options (i.e. Work Incentive Programs) • Identifying/assisting with problem situations (i.e. overpayments) • Developing support plans (short and long-term)
Why Is Benefit Analysis and Planning Important? • Increases general knowledge • Assists with preparing for changes in benefits • Prevent, identify and/or alleviate problem situations • Correct underpayments • Prevent the loss of other support programs or benefits (i.e. food stamps, HUD/Section 8)
Why Is Benefit Analysis and Planning Important? • Dispels myths such as: “I can’t go to work because if I do, I will lose my Medicaid!” Or “For every dollar I earn Social Security will take a dollar from my cash payment.”
Let’s Dispel the Medicaid Myth Now! Section 1619(b) on the Social Security legislation provides for continued Medicaid eligibility for individuals whose incomes are too high to qualify for SSI cash payments, but not high enough to offset the loss of Medicaid. Essentially, this means that if someone has drawn an SSI cash benefit and loses their eligibility for their cash benefit due to wages, they can continue to receive free Medicaid up to the annual income threshold for 2005 of $22,630.00.
Why Not the Dollar for Dollar Reduction Myth, Too? If an individual goes to work and is receiving SSI, their cash payment is reduced based on a formula. Here’s a clear example: $500.00 wages $579.00 (Federal Benefit Rate) - $85.00 exclusions - $207.50 $415.00 $371.50 (SSI cash payment) ÷ 2 $207.50 $500 + $371.50 = 871.50
When Is a Benefit Analysis Appropriate? Really, ANYTIME! Especially when: • An individual receives less then $579.00 in SSI • An individual has an extensive, paid work history • An individual has a parent that is retired, disabled or deceased • An individual is not receiving Social Security or Medicaid because of wages or other circumstances
When Is a Benefit Analysis Appropriate? When: • An individual is working or wants to work • An individual is approaching a threshold amount Here are some brief descriptions of Social Security Work Incentives that can be used to help people go to work or stay under threshold
Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) A PASS allows a person with a disability to set aside income and/or resources for a specific period of time to pay for expenses associated with a vocational/work goal. Having a PASS may assist an individual in qualifying for or increasing their SSI payment.
Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE) An Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE) is an expense that a person pays for out of pocket that is DIRECTLY related to their disability AND to their work.
Subsidy A subsidy is the support an individual receives on the job. A subsidy indicates the wages an individual receives from their job may be more then their actual earnings. Subsidy is only used for determining SGA, which is only associated with Title II benefits.
What Could Be Considered a Subsidy? • A Carved Job – special duties, special hours • Natural supports – support provided by co-workers, peers, employer, etc… • Extra breaks • Reduced productivity • Job coaching – monthly hours of coaching X the individual’s hourly wage
Where Can Someone Receive Benefit Analysis and Planning Services? Pierce County Human Services, Developmental Disabilities offers free benefit analysis and planning services for: Individuals eligible for services with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), including students in transition services with any Pierce County school district.
Contact Information Emily Hart Pierce County Developmental Disabilities, Benefit Specialist 253-798-4563 firstname.lastname@example.org Do not hesitate to call for more information!