Why I Love Benefits Counseling

Many people geek out about their favorite tv show or book. As for me, I geek out about Social Security work incentives. I am a certified work incentives practitioner. Part of my job is to perform benefits counseling, helping people understand how work will impact their Social Security benefits.

Work incentives encourage those who are receiving SSI/SSDI to work. SSI/SSDI benefits are social security benefits available to people with disabilities whose disability impacts their ability to work. I help individuals understand how much they can earn and maintain their benefits. I also explain how much they need to make to work their way off benefits.

Understanding Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured.” This means that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits based on financial need and pays benefits to those who have low income/resources and a limited work record.

SSDI/SSI often comes with a cash benefit and Medicaid or Medicare health insurance. Medicaid is vital for many people with disabilities because it is one of the only health insurances that covers personal care attendants. Personal care attendants help those with disabilities complete activities of daily living. The need for Medicaid causes people to not want to lose their SSI/SSDI benefits.

The Problems with Misinformation

Due to misinformation and the complexity of work incentives, there are many myths about the impact that working has on SSI/SSDI benefits. These misinformation and myths cause many people who receive benefits to fear losing their benefits. This leads them to work less than they may be able to or not work at all.

These myths are why I love benefits counseling and think that it is a vital resource for any person receiving SSI/SSDI benefits. Having the correct information about Social Security work incentives allows people to make an informed decision about working. Whether someone decides to maintain or work off their benefits and/or work part-time or full-time, working gives people more financial independence. It is my job to provide correct and accurate information. This ensures that beneficiaries can make an informed decisions about their employment goals.

About Isabella Bullock: Isabella, or Izzie for short, is an employment specialist for the Center of Independent Living. She is an iced coffee enthusiast who enjoys getting lost in a good book. Click here to learn more about Isabella.


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