Tools to Reduce Countable Income
Reducing SSDI countable earnings
- After the TWP, if a beneficiary’s monthly countable earnings are not more than SGA, they will be eligible for an SSDI payment for that month during the EPE and any month after the EPE before termination.
- When determining countable earnings to compare against the SGA level, SSA will deduct the value of any Paid Time Off (PTO), Impairment-Related Work Expense (IRWE), and Subsidy or Special Condition.
Understanding Paid Time Off (PTO)
- Any Paid Time Off (PTO) will not count when comparing to the SGA level for the month. (This policy appears in Social Security POMS DI 10505.010 C. Always reference this POMS when communicating with SSA about PTO.)
- The types of PTO available depend on the employer.
- Common PTO examples include vacation pay, holiday pay, personal time pay, and sick pay.
- Less common PTO examples include bereavement days, and time when the workplace closes due to the weather (e.g., snowstorm or hurricane)
Using IRWEs to lower countable earnings
- SSA does not count the cost of IRWEs when making the SGA decision.
- IRWEs are paid for by the employee, must be related to an impairment of record, and must be necessary to work.
- Goods or services that are needed for daily living can count as IRWEs if they are also needed in order to work.
Using Subsidy and Special Conditions to lower countable earnings
- SSA does not count the value of goods and services provided that the employee needs in order to work, even if the employee does not pay for them.
- If the employer pays for the goods or services, then SSA considers it a Subsidy.
- If a third party (like state VR or an employment network) pays for the goods or services, then SSA considers it a Special Condition.