Benefits Planning is a method for individuals receiving government disability benefits to understand how working may affect their benefits. **Target Population**: Youth and adults that are working or considering working and are receiving government benefits
Why should I plan Plan?
When a person is receiving benefits, such as Medicaid (see section on 'Medicaid'), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) (see section on ?Social Security Disability Programs?), assets and income are factors in determining the amount of the benefits that a person receives. Therefore, when a person with disabilities is considering paid employment, it may be helpful to discuss the effects of increasing a person?s income on their benefits. If a person goes over the amount of assets and/or income allowed by the government benefit program, the benefits may be reduced or stopped entirely. There may even be a requirement of paying back benefits if the income/assets are not reported in a timely fashion.
The Utah Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach (UBPAO) program is designed to give Social Security disability beneficiaries information on how employment may affect their benefits so that they may make an informed choice about working. The UBPAO can also look at other benefits a person receives and assess how work may affect those benefits. A benefits specialist will meet with the person that is employed or seeking employment and develop an individualized summary of their benefits and the impact of employment. For those that are not sure about their ability or capacity to work, the benefits specialist may also provide a set of strategies that will allow the individual to protect his/her financial and medical benefits for a period of time while trying out work. There are specific 'work incentives' programs for SSI and SSDI that are used as a means to retain both cash benefits (such as SSI and SSDI), and health insurance benefits (such as Medicaid and Medicare), when a person with a disability goes to work or increases his or her work activity.
Benefit Specialist Assistance
Anyone who is currently receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and/or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), and has questions about how work will affect their benefits can request an appointment with a benefit specialist. However, because of the limited number of Benefits Specialists available, referral should be made when a person (currently receiving SSI, SSDI, Medicaid or other benefits) has either been offered a job, or is currently working. Information and referral can be provided before this happens but a full analysis of benefits should be performed when a person is going to be working and affecting their benefits.
Individuals that contact this program should know that they will be required to share information about their benefits and employment history. This will include information concerning their income and may include information on anyone residing in their household. The Work Ability program and the Utah Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach (UBPAO) program (offered through the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation) provide information and assistance with Benefits Planning.
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