Aged, Blind, Disabled (ABD): UpdatedSSI-Criteria State Order of Deductions for Earned Income

If a client is considered ABD and has earned income, you will check for and consider certain deductions in the following order:

  • Student Earned Income Exemption (SEIE)
  • $500 from earned income of person who is blind
  • General Income Exclusion (GIE) (subtract from unearned income first unless looking at an SSP benefit then take from the earned income)
  • Impairment-related work expenses
  • Work related expenses of person who is blind
  • Expenses of fulfilling PASS Plan PASS (Plan to Achieve Self-Support is an SSI program developed to help people with disabilities to find and keep employment
  • Minus $65
  • Divide by 2

Student Earned Income Exemption (SEIE)

  • Disregard the amounts shown on the Appendix C-1 Schedule VIII.E if:
    • s/he is a student under age 22 who is regularly attending school
    • (12 or more hours of high school per week) or (8 hours or more of college or trade school per week to acquire skills for employment)

Deductions from Earned Income of Person Who is Blind applicant

  • $500 is subtracted from the gross
    • Not subtracted from spouse’s income

General Income Exclusion (GIE)

  • For ABD-related programs, it is $20
  • Deduct from unearned income first. If there is no unearned income; then it can be deducted from the earned income
  • Only one general income deduction per couple
  • Cannot be deducted from unearned income when determining eligibility for SSP

Impairment-related Work Expenses

  • The cost of items purchased by a disabled person so s/he can work
  • Examples include: vehicle modifications, transportation costs (IRS rate), wheelchairs, pacemakers, and medical supplies
  • Given only in month that it is paid

Work related expenses of a person who is blind

  • For blind individuals, the necessary expenses for earning an income are deducted
  • A spouse who is also eligible due to blindness and both are working, the necessary expenses for earning an income are deducted
  • Expenses are deductible as paid but may not exceed the amount of earned income
  • To be deductible, an expense need not relate directly to the blindness of the individual, it need only be an ordinary and necessary work expense of the blind individual.  Such expenses fall into three broad categories:
    • transportation to and from work;
    • job performance; and
    • job improvement

Minus $65

  • (First step in the Earned Income formula)

Divide by 2

  • (Second step in the Earned Income formula)

Example 1

Mona, age 16, receives $943 in SSI. She is working part time at Carla’s Onion Burgers. She is paid $72.50 every week. MICAL shows monthly earned income of $311.75. ($311×12) is well under the annual SEIE maximum so none of the earned income is counted. Her total countable income is $943.

Example 2

Leon is 18 and attending 12 hours at Indio Vo-Tech to get a degree in Culinary Arts. He receives $943 SSI each month and he is also employed at Del Taco. For his annual review, January 2024, he provided the last 60 days of pay stubs to verify his earned income. The MICAL yields a monthly earned income of $1251.84.

As Leon is attending 8 hours or more of trade school per week to acquire skills for employment, you need to consider the Student Earned Income Exemption (SEIE). Refer to Appendix C-1. Schedule VIII.E.

The first step is checking to see if the monthly earned income does not exceed the current Monthly exclusion amount ($2,290). Leon earns less than that amount per month ($1251.84).

Next, look at the Yearly exclusion amount to determine when you will have to start counting earned income on the case. The current Yearly exclusion is $9,230 That means that Leon can earn up to $9,230 per calendar year without it counting on the case. Once his earned income exceeds $9,230, any remaining amount over, we need to count it.

Refer to the following table to determine which month to begin adding the earned income.

MONTH TOTAL ANTICIPATED EARNED COUNTABLE EARNED
January $1251.84 $0
February $2503.68 $0
March $3755.52 $0
April $5007.36 $0
May $6259.20 $0
June $7511.04 $0
July $8762.88 $0
August $10014.72 (EXCEEDS) $359.86

Leon’s annual earned income exceeds the Yearly exclusion in the month of August. We can only exempt $467.12 of it. That is the Yearly exclusion of $9,230 – $8762.88 = $467.12.

MONTH 8 Income Calculations:

  • Month 8: Countable earned income:

$1251.84 – $467.12 = $784.72

  • (General Income Exclusion)

$784.72 -$20 = $764.72

  • ABD Earned Income Formula: (minus $65)

$764.72 – $65 = $699.72

  • Now Divide by 2:

$699.72 / 2 = $349.86

  • Adjust the SSI benefit: SSI won’t make their adjustment for 2 months; worker can project what the SSI benefit will change to and use that amount immediately.

SSI benefit will adjust to $943 (current SSI standard) – ($349.86 (new countable income) = $593.14 rounded to $593.

Countable income on the case stays at $943.

MONTH 9 – ONWARD Income Calculation 

Remember all the Yearly exclusion has now been given. Begin calculation with monthly earned.

  • (General Income Exclusion)

$1251.84 – $20 – = $1231.84

  • ABD Earned Income Formula: (minus $65)

$1231.84 – $65 = $1,166.84

  • Now Divide by 2:

$1166.84 / 2 = $583.42

  • Adjust the SSI benefit: SSI won’t make their adjustment for 2 months; worker can project what the SSI benefit will change to and use that amount immediately.

SSI benefit will adjust to $943 (current SSI standard) – $583.42 (new countable income) = $359.58 rounded to $360.

Countable income on the case stays at $943.

Example 3

Lucy is 24 and blind. She gets $420 in SSI and works for Hertz as a customer service representative. She is paid weekly and provided the last 60 days of paychecks and the MICAL shows monthly income as $1032.

  • (deduction for working people who are blind)

$1032 – $500 = $532

  • (General Income Exclusion)

$532 – $20 = $512

  • ABD Earned Income Formula: (minus $65)

$512 – $65 = $447

  • Now Divide by 2:

$447 / 2 = $223.50

Countable income: ($420 + $223.50 = $643.50 rounded to $644.

Example 4

Gus is 62 and gets $355 from SSI. He works at McDonalds as a cook and is paid weekly. MICAL shows he makes $921.43 monthly. He pays a friend $15 a week to take him to and from work. He lives 6 miles from work and works five days a week.

  • (General Income Exclusion)

$921.43 – $20 = $901.43

Travel related expense: 6 x $0.625 = $3.75 x 5 = $18.75 x $4.3 = $80.625 rounded to $80.63.

$901.43 – $80.63 = $820.80

  • ABD Earned Income Formula: (minus $65)

$820.80 – $65 = $755.80

  • Now Divide by 2:

$755.80 / 2 = $377.90

Total countable income $355 + $377.90 = $732.90 rounded to $733.

Example 5

Reuben is over age 22 receiving $700 in SSI. He reports working at Sonic making a gross of $600 a month.

  • General Income Exclusion

$600 – $20 = $580

  • ABD Earned Income Formula

$580 – $65 = $515

  • Now Divide by 2:

$515 / 2 = $257.50 rounded to $258.

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