Since 2000, Taconic Resources for Independence, through a grant from the Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene, has been providing Social Security benefits advisement to individuals with disabilities in our county. Our Mobile Benefits Counselor conducts workshops for both staff and consumers at numerous agencies, and works with people individually to address their issues. Our Mobile Benefits Counselor travels to sites throughout Dutchess County, assisting individuals to understand and navigate the intricacies of the various government programs.

One of the questions most asked of Benefits Counselors is, “How will work affect my benefits? Each person’s situation is unique, but Social Security rules apply to all in the same way. We can help you understand Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Trail Work Period (TWP), Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), Extended Period Of Eligibility (EPE), Income Related Work Expense (IRWE), Plan for Achieving Self Support  (PASS), Medicaid(Buy-in Program and Spend Downs), Medicare, Ticket to Work, overpayments,and other benefits.

Understanding SSI
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal Income supplement program funded by general tax revenue (not Social Security taxes). The SSI program provides monthly income to people who are age 65 or older or are blind or disabled, and have limited income and financial resources. It provides cash assistance to meet basic needs such as clothing, food and shelter. Your living arrangements, earned and unearned income, your assets, and in- kind support determine eligibility. You can be eligible for SSI even if you have never worked in employment covered under Social Security. In New York State, if you receive SSI you automatically receive Medicaid.

Understanding SSDI
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self employed persons. To be eligible for a Social Security Benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be “insured” for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, widows(ers), or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on Social Security earnings record of the individual.
What is the Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working People with Disabilities?
The Medicaid Buy-In program offers Medicaid coverage to people with disabilities who are working, and earning more than the allowable limits for regular Medicaid, the opportunity to retain their health care coverage through Medicaid. This program allows working people with disabilities to earn more income without the risk of losing vital health care coverage.

Who is eligible?
To qualify for the Medicaid Buy-In program for Working People with Disabilities you must:

  • Be a resident of New York State;
  • Be at least 16 years of age (coverage up to 65 years of age);
  • Have a disability as defined by the Social Security Administration;
  • Be engaged in paid work (includes part-time and full-time work);
  • Have a gross income that may be as high as $55,188 for an individual and $73,884 for a couple; and
  • Have non-exempt resources that do not exceed the Medicaid resource level of $13,800 for an individual and $20,100 for a couple.

Read more about the program here.


Medicare

Did you know if you retire you must immediately contact Medicare and accept it as your primary insurance? Otherwise, you will be penalized 10% of the cost for each year you don’t contact them or opt out, and you will pay the increased amount for life.
For more information, individual consultation, or group training contact:
Mobile Benefits Counselor
845-452-3913 x113
tri@taconicresources.org

 

Recommended sites:
www.ssa.gov
www.medicare.gov
http://www.health.state.ny.us/health_care/medicaid/