Attaining financial freedom can be hard to do if you are relying on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and worried about what working might do to those benefits. HireAbility Vermont’s Work Incentives Counseling is a program created to help customers transform their lives and enjoy the money and freedom that comes from replacing their benefits with a good paycheck.
Through this program, Vermonters with disabilities are getting support for career planning, career-specific training, job search and accommodations, and help navigating benefits issues can be the key to success. And so can you!
A Unique Opportunity To Dream Big
The purpose of the Work Incentive Program is to assist individuals who receive SSI or SSDI expand their career goals and reach financial independence by working to replace their benefits with a higher paycheck.*
What is the benefit of Work Incentives Counseling?
Social Security rules for disability programs are notoriously complicated. Trying to figure out how changes in your work situation—a new job, a raise, going back to school—are going to affect your benefits can be an overwhelming prospect for anyone. That’s where Work Incentives Counseling can help!
HireAbility Vermont established Benefits Counseling in 1999 under the Vermont Work Incentive Initiative (VWII). Vermont now has a statewide network of professional Benefits Counselors serving:
- Adults on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits; and
- Youth with disabilities transitioning from high school to adult life
Social Security Work Incentives
The Federal government’s Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two programs that pay disability benefits: The Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI). Here’s how they compare:
- SSDI provides benefits to people who are blind or disabled, have worked, and have paid money into the Social Security system. Their dependents can also get benefits. SSDI recipients get Medicare health insurance after a two-year waiting period.
- SSI provides benefits to people who are elderly, blind, or disabled, and who have limited assets and low incomes. SSI recipients automatically get Medicaid health insurance.
Both SSDI and SSI offer special incentives to help you go to work. HireAbility Vermont recommends you work closely with a benefits counselor before using these work incentives.
Over time, your income may grow enough to allow you to get off benefits entirely—but this will be your own choice to make. Remember, you have your own unique needs and goals. That’s why it’s important to work with a benefits counselor who can help you plan and track any changes in your earnings and benefits.
- View PDF Fact Sheet on Plan To Achieve Self-Support (PASS) +
- View PDF Fact Sheet for Reporting Your Wages +
- View PDF Fact Sheet on Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) +
- View PDF Fact Sheet on Social Security’s Section 301 +
- View PDF Fact Sheet on Transition-Aged Youth With Disabilities +
*Because the Work Incentive Program is a research program, eligibility is limited to residents of Chittenden, Orleans, Rutland, and Washington counties who are interested in SSI or SSDI beneficiaries between the ages of 18 and 58 with a history of working in the past 5 years.