People with disabled children need extra income. Although they may be receiving aid from Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there’s never enough to go around. With some medications costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month, and with Social Security’s benefits being based on income, the idea of helping your disabled teen achieve a work or education goal may seem impossible.
Saving for a car or taking classes or hiring a personal assistant to help your disabled child at school or work all seem out of the question. And if your child wants to try working to save up for the things he or she needs, surely that will jeopardize your much needed benefits. There is good news for disabled young people who want to train for a job or who want to get an education that will lead to employment.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages young people with disabilities who are receiving benefits from SSI or SSDI to get an education and to go to work by helping them bypass some of the income and asset restrictions that are attached to receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Income exclusions. If your disabled child is under age 22, a student (with regular attendance), and works, the SSA does not count most of your child’s income when determining the SSI limitation. In 2016, disabled students younger than age 22 are allowed to exclude $1,780 of their monthly earnings from the SSI limitation, up to an annual exclusion limit of $8,700.
Plan to Achieve Self Support. It is also possible for your disabled child to participate in the Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS). PASS lets your disabled child set aside the money he or she needs to achieve a specific work goal, such as training or education, equipment or tools, or other expenses. Your child can save money or make installment payments or down payments on items related to his or her work goal, such as an assistive device (like a wheelchair), or a computer, or an automobile.
In order to participate in PASS, your disabled child must decide on a work goal and determine what sort of help he or she needs to achieve that goal. Help may be tangible items or services, such as rehabilitation services, training, or perhaps even a personal assistant. If your child’s goal is to be self-employed, he or she will also need to work up a business plan.
Your child will then need to complete a PASS form, which will be sent to SSA for evaluation. PASS experts will contact your child and work with him or her directly to assist with achieving the goal specified or to modify the goal as necessary. If the PASS is not approved, your child has the right to appeal that decision. More information about PASS can be found on the Social Security website.
Your adult disabled child who is receiving SSDI benefits can get the same types of help described above under SSI. Your adult disabled child’s SSDI benefits will continue until her or she can find regular work. Medicare coverage will continue for a limited time as well (up to seven years, nine months).