How does attending school affect my SSI Disability status?

By / March 3, 2016 / SSI Benefits / 316 Comments

Find out why your SSI Disability status is not affected by attending school and learn about special work provisions for SSI recipients who are students.

Going to School Doesn’t Affect Your SSI Disability Status
When you are approved for SSI, your approval depends on your medical condition and, if you are an adult, on your past work history. Accordingly, attending school does not affect your SSI Disability status. However, it may afford you a valuable benefit, the Student Earned Income Exclusion, known as the SEIE. When you are completing your SSI application form, be sure to list yourself as a student if you are going to school, especially if you are working or plan to work.

The SSI Student Earned Income Exclusion
SSI law includes several work incentives and earned income exclusions that are available to all disabled people getting SSI. These incentives are described in our article I Want to Work. Can You Tell Me How to Get SSI While Working?

An SSI recipient under age twenty-two who is working and is regularly attending school qualifies for the Student Earned Income Exclusion. The SEIE is in addition to other earned income exclusions. In 2017, the maximum amount of earned income not counted under the SEIE is $7,200.00 a year with a maximum of $1,790 in any single month.

Definition of Regularly Attending School
The number of hours you must attend to be eligible for the SEIE depends on where you are attending school. Social Security defines regularly attending school as being in class in a college or university at least eight hours weekly or in class in grades seven through twelve for at least twelve hours weekly, or in a home-school situation that meets home-school law for at least twelve hours weekly. It also defines regularly attending as attending a training course that prepares for employment at least twelve hours weekly or fifteen hours weekly if the course involves shop practice.

In some circumstances, a person may be attending for fewer hours and be eligible for the exclusion if the reasons for fewer hours are beyond the student’s control, such as being ill. A homebound student may qualify if he or she is studying a course given by a school that offers grades seven through twelve, by a college, by a university, or by government agency and a home visitor or tutor from the school directs the study or training.

Reporting Responsibilities
To avoid overpayments, report your earnings monthly and be sure let the Social Security Administration know if you change hours of school attendance or schools. And, of course, report any substantial changes in your health that could affect your SSI Disability status.

How does attending school affect my SSI Disability status?
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  • Der Emily Gandee,
    Attending college part-time probably will not affect your benefits. If you eventually get a degree or certificate that qualifies you for work that you can perform with your medical conditions, a continuing disability review (CDR) might find that you are no longer disabled; however, if you are you are attending school as part of a vocational plan through the Ticket to Work program, a CDR will probably be deferred while you complete school and attempt work after graduation allowing you to use Social Security’s work incentives to continue benefits and Medicare for a period. If you attend college full time, that could raise the question of whether are medically recovered; but again, if you if you are participating in the Ticket to Work program, you likely will not have an early CDR. Information about a Ticket to Work can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/work or by calling 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) .
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Political truth,
    Title IV assistance is excluded from income and resources regardless of use. Other types of student financial aid must be used for school related expenses, which are defined, in order to be excluded. If the non-Title IV assistance is used for shelter or food, or other non-school expense, it will be countable income and if saved will be countable resources. You can learn more about how student aid is handled at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455. If you anticipate receiving a type of financial aid that is not excluded or wish to use it for room and board in a dormitory you may be able to have that income excluded by setting up a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS). A PASS allows income used for the PASS, such as financial aid including work-study, which is treated as wages, to be excluded and not counted in your SSI benefit calculation. A Social Security claims representative can provide more information and help you develop a PASS. Online information can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass.htm .
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Lo,
    This has to do with eligibility for Medicare. I am giving you a more detailed response to Social Security’s work incentives. I am sorry for my last response it wasn’t worded very well. You indicated you receive both Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The trial work period only applies to SSDI. SSI will use your earnings to determine you monthly benefit amount. If you income (including your SSDI and earnings are high enough you may not be eligible for a payment, but unless you are ineligible for payments for twelve consecutive months you will not be terminated from the SSI program. You can only be terminated if a continuing disability review (CDR) is completed and your condition has improved.
    During your Trial Work Period, you will receive full disability benefits and continuation of Medicare. When your Trial Work Period ends, you enter into another work incentive program, which is a thirty-six-month Extended Period of Eligibility. The extended period begins the month after the end of the Trial Work Period, whether or not you are working at that time. During the Extended Period of Eligibility, you will be paid for months in which you do not perform substantial gainful activity. On the other hand, your benefits will be suspended for any month that your work is SGA. The only exception is that you will be paid benefits for your first month of SGA in the Extended Period, plus the two following months. During the full thirty-six months, your entitlement to Part A Medicare will continue whether or not you are receiving a benefit check. Part B and Part D Medicare will also continue, if the premiums are paid. At the end of the thirty–six-month Extended Period of Eligibility, if you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, your Social Security benefits will stop. However, if you are not working or your work is not SGA, your benefits will continue until the first month you perform SGA, at which time, your disability benefits will be terminated. If your cash benefits end and you continue to work and you have not recovered medically, your Medicare insurance will continue for an additional fifty-seven months. I hope this explains the work incentives better for you. If you haven’t applied for a ticket to work yet, call them to see if they can provide you any other assistance. Ticket to Work Hotline1-866-968-7842 http://www.ssa.gov/work.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Lo,
    The trial work period consists of nine months, not necessarily in a row, during which you earn at or above the trial work period earnings level, which in 2017 is $840.00 per month.
    Social Security will perform a periodic review to determine, if you continue to be disabled (continuing disability review CDR), even if your earnings are below the trial work period limit. Your work history will be reviewed when your case has been referred for a CDR, but because your earnings are very low, it will probably will not have an impact on your CDR.
    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) uses your earnings to determine your monthly benefit amount, but you may qualify for the student earned income exclusion. The student earned income exclusion (SEIE) is applicable to you if you are under age twenty-two and attending at least twelve hours of classes a week. Under the SEIE, $7,200 gross wages or net self-employment a year, will be excluded when calculating SSI benefit amounts; however, of that amount no more than $1,790 can be earned in a single month. . Excluded means the earnings are not used in calculating the student’s SSI benefit.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

    The trial work perAttending college part-time probably will not affect your benefits. If you eventually get a degree or certificate that qualifies you for work that you can perform with your medical conditions, a continuing disability review (CDR) might find that you are no longer disabled; however, if you are you are attending school as part of a vocational plan through the Ticket to Work program, a CDR will probably be deferred while you complete school and attempt work after graduation allowing you to use Social Security’s work incentives to continue benefits and Medicare for a 13 of 21period. If you attend college full time, that could raise the question of whether are medically recovered; but again, if you if you are participating in the Ticket to Work program, you likely will not have an early CDR. Information about a Ticket to Work can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/work or by calling 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY)

  • Dear Lo,

    Please see my response of earlier today to your first posting of your first question. With regard to attending school, your participation in the Ticket to Work presumably includes a vocational plan that involves education and therefore the school attendance should not trigger a CDR.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Lo,

    If possible, it would be best to go to a Social Security office and make a written statement of the dates you worked and the amounts you earned each month. If the earnings were at least $840 gross a month, they will count toward the nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP)and, yes, your Medicare would continue. The advantage of going to the office is that you can request a date-stamped copy of your report to keep for your records. (Also, keep the pay stubs indefinitely in case a question comes up in the future about which months were TWP months.) If you cannot get to the office, I suggest both mailing a report and calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear JayJay,

    If the continuing disability review forms include a question about school attendance and you do not answer it truthfully, you would be lying on a federal claim for benefits. You can read the fraud warning at the bottom of the form right above the signature block.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jayjay,
    See previous reply.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Jayjay,
    The only way Social Security will know if you are attending school is, if you report it. I am not able to answer questions about FAFSA. You would have to contact your school to determine what would happen, if you do not complete the FAFSA forms.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Jay

    I can not tell you how long until your disability review. You can contact SSA and ask when you may be eligible for a continuing disability review, but it could possibly come earlier or later or once in a blue moon, not at all,,,,, if you somehow fall through the cracks. As to your schooling, they will consider everything as a whole. If you are in fact unable to go to school full time when your symptoms are exacerbated, that could actually be good evidence of continuing disability. Keep in mind that SSA considers full time work to be a schedule where you work 4 hours, take a 30 minute or 1 hour lunch break, and then work another 4 hours. Most people don’t spend at least 8+ hours at school 5 days a week, every week, with no more then 1-2 weeks off a year, which is what SSA considers full time work. Many people go to school while getting disability benefits and SSA will encourage this. They want you to gain skills that would allow you to get into a line of work that allows you to work at above substantial gainful activity levels with your disabilities.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Dear Jay,

    We would never condone lying or keeping important information from SSA. It may be illegal and could possibly result in loss of your benefits, a fine, and even possible jail time and criminal record. There may also be SSA related programs that could allow you to go to school and continue to get disability, or possibly even assist with costs associated with school. Keep in mind that going to school does not automatically disqualify you from disability. Being able to go to school doesn’t necessarily mean you can keep a job. Each persons situation is considered individually.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • Jeff L Cunningham

    Please send info

    • Dear Jeff,

      Please clarify the information you need and we will try to respond.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Kathy,
    Social Security administers two disability programs. Disability for adults is defined the same for both programs. To be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI aka SSD) before age 31, in addition to being disabled, your son must also have worked and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes for enough years to be insured for benefits in the span between age 21 and date of disability onset. The minimum required is six credits so it is possible that he is eligible for SSD. To be eligible Supplemental Security Income (SSI), in addition to being disabled, your son must have income and assets below a certain level because SSI is a public assistance benefit, rather than an earned benefit purchased with federal insurance tax payments. Your son’s loans will not count as income because the money has to be repaid.
    Social Security law defines disability as the in ability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of not less than twelve months. They also take into consideration your son’s age, education and previous work history. If your son feels he is unable to work at this time due to his condition, he should file an application for disability benefits. Your son should contact the Social Security office as soon as possible because benefit start dates are determined by the month the application is filed. Your son should contact his local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment to file for benefits. Your son could also file the application on line at http://www.ssa.gov/
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Lorena,
    Attending college probably will not affect your benefits. If you eventually get a degree or certificate that qualifies you for work that you can perform with your medical condition, a continuing disability review (CDR) might find that you are no longer disabled at that time. However, you can apply for a Ticket to Work now and include college attendance as part of your Ticket to Work vocational plan for returning to work in the future. When you have a Ticket, a CDR will probably be deferred even after you have had your transplant while you complete school and attempt work after graduation. Information about the Ticket to Work can be found in at http://www.ssa.gov/work. You can call 1-866-968-7842 to request a Ticket. In discussing your school attendance with Social Security be sure to mention the special accommodations you will be receiving around attendance.
    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Christi,

    It is unfortunate that you received so many answers from the Social Security Administration. Explain to the Claims Representative your concerns and provide a copy of the regulations we provided. Also here is a link to Social Security regulations that shows your daughter meets the “child” definition based on her high school attendance.: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx This shows several ways to be considered a student. It shows that your child can qualify as a student if she is in high school twelve hours a week. Once a decision is made, you will be notified in writing about the decision in regards to student status, deeming, resources, and child support payments. You will have the opportunity to file a reconsideration appeal on any decision that is made. You will only have 60 days to request the reconsideration. If you are not successful with a reconsideration, request a hearing. You can also recontact us at that time to see if we can help provide you with more information.

    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Christi,

    The Social Security Administration will determine if she is still considered a student for SSI purposes. If she is considered a student she would be eligible for a student work exclusion. That means that earnings up to $1790.00 per month or a maximum of $7200.00 per year of gross wages is excluded.
    Deeming stops the month after an eligible individual turns 18. That means any income or resources a parent and/or step parent is no longer considered to determine the payment amount. Before age 18 child support has a special exclusion. The first one-third of the child support payment is excluded and if she has no other unearned income or deemed income another $20.00 is excluded from that amount. Any amount of arrearage payments that the parent or other person receives and does not give to the adult child is unearned income to the parent or other person in the month they receive it. The portion of the arrearage payment the parent or other person retains is not income to the adult child and does not affect the adult child’s SSI eligibility or payment.
    Any amount of that payment that the parent or other person gives to the adult child is unearned income to the adult child in the month given, not income to the parent or other person.

    Sincerely,
    Jane

  • Dear Leigh,

    Your first step is to find out whether you still have an appeal that is pending a decision or waiting for a hearing date to get a decision. If so, then you do not need to file a new claim because you have one in process. If you do not have a pending claim or appeal and are out of the sixty-day appeals period of the last denial, then you can file a new claim. Being in school does not restrict your right to apply.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Diane,

    Please provide more information so I can try to answer your question. Was your child receiving Social Security dependent benefits at age eighteen while still in school?

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Brandon,

    The notice is indication that you have been approved for continuing disability benefits. Usually the notice also indicates how far in the future you will have another continuing disability review (CDR).

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ashley,

    It is good you responded right away. If you did not put on the forms that your mother was helping you complete them because of your learning disability, it is important for you and your mother to submit a statement that she helped and the reason.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ashley,

    Fill out the form honesty. Be sure not to skip any questions; and if needed, write see attached and attach a statement if there is not enough room for any of the questions.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ashley,

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) law has provisions in place to support you in your desire to get yourself back to work. If you will be living at home during the Job Corp training, participating in the program will not have an effect on your benefits. If on the other hand Job Corp involves living onsite and getting free housing and food, your SSI might be reduced by $245 for the in-kind (non-cash) income that the food and lodging represents.

    If you are successful in getting back to work, there are work incentives to help you get established in a job. For example the first $65 ($85 if you have no other income) will not reduce your SSI. If you earn over that, your SSI will be reduced only one dollar for each two dollars over the $65. Also, you can deduct the cost of impairment-related work expenses such as any medication co-pays for medications to take for your disabling illnesses.

    Because you are hoping to return to work, you might consider setting up a Plan for Self-Support (PASS). Under such a plan, the free housing and food through job corp might not be used to reduce your benefits because it would be moving you toward achieving your goal of becoming self-supporting. You can make an appointment with a Social Security claims representative to find out more about a PASS and for help how to set up the plan. (The Job Corps staff might even be familiar with the PASS provisions.)

    Here are some sources to read about the PASS.
    http://www.passplan.org/
    https://www.ssa.gov/ny/pass-definition.htm

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Briwref,

    A person can receive Social Security Disability without being permanently disabled. The requirement is having been or being expected to be disabled for at least twelve months. If you are approved, you can continue your studies, which could ultimately prepare you for a field in which you could do SGA with your health. If you recover medically benefits can stop. Similarly, if you work and take advantage of SSDI’s return to work incentives, benefits would stop after you got established in a new occupation. If you are unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA), which is usually defined as the inability to $1,170 gross per month, you can apply even while working part-time.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Judy,

    Many things are considered in determining disability including medical evidence, work history, education, age, and often activities of daily living, which for you would include attending college. If you think that you cannot work and earn at least $1,130 gross wages a month, then it would be appropriate to file a disability claim.

    If you have worked and performed substantial gainful activity (SGA) for a period of six months or more, the earliest disability date that you could claim would be the date after you ceased work seven years ago. (This assumes that you held that job for more than six months and were earning at a substantial level, which seven years ago was about $1,000 a month. If not, then you could claim the date you left the last job that lasted longer.)

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Circe154,

    Social Security does not pay directly for education or job training. Are you in a Ticket to Work program? If you are, you may be getting your Ticket to Work vocational services through your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, which may not have programs in other states. If on the other hand, you are referring to a monthly benefit, both Social Security and SSI benefits are paid in all states.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear just that gurl furinnie,

    There is no simple answer to your question, except that a year of college will not automatically make Social Security (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits stop. What is of issue is whether you are still disabled. For example, if you are able to attend college and do the assignments for fifteen credit hours, could you be working full-time or near full-time and earn at least $1,170 a month? (Is there an occupation you can perform with your current education and skills and health?) If your health hasn’t improved and the answer to the question is no, you would still be considered disabled and eligible for benefits. Once you get a degree, the same question applies and at that time your employment prospects should improve due to new qualifications and skills. At that time, benefits could end; however, both SSDI and SSI have work incentive programs to help you try work while getting benefits and in some cases get education to eventually work. I suggest that you talk with a Social Security claims representative about bringing your education efforts under an SSI Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) or through an SSDI Ticket to Work educational plan. Either could be helpful in your completing your degree.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sheron,

    I do not know the course requirements required for a Pell Grant. If the life skills class qualifies for Pell Grant assistance, he would not automatically qualify just because he gets SSI. But his getting SSI would not keep him from getting the grant and the grant would not affect his SSI payment amount. I suggest that you talk with the financial aid office of the college to get guidance on what financial assistance might be available for your son.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rhon Pow,

    If the child receives $1,701 in cash for housing, the GI Bill benefit will likely cause him to be ineligible for SSI including now if he is receiving the benefit now. The only reason he would not be ineligible would be if there is something written into GI Bill law that doesn’t allow it to count as income for SSI.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Rhon,

    Please clarify a couple points for me so I can respond.
    1. To whom is the Basic Allowance for Housing paid? To the 18-year-old SSI recipient or to his father?
    2. Is it paid as cash or paid as a credit to the person or entity providing housing?
    2. If it is paid to his father, what income does the young man have that he is able to pay rent?

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear ProudMom,

    Attending college itself will not affect your son’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If he is getting financial aid to pay for room and board at college, the aid may or may not be countable income for SSI. It depends on the type of aid and what organization is paying it. Note that he will have to undergo a medical evaluation when he turns eighteen to see whether he is still disabled when the disability criteria for adults is applied to his claim. More information about student aid is available at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

    Note that while your son is under age eighteen, deeming will still apply while he is away at school if he returns to your home for holidays, school breaks, and summer vacation.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Timothy,

    If you are under age twenty-two, a student as defined by Social Security (usually at least 12 class hours at college level), and receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) applies.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Christina,

    I am not familiar with student loans that don’t have to be paid back if the cost is under $1,000. I suggest that you talk with the school you plan to attend to find out whether they can point you in the direction of financial aid in the form of a grant or student loan that could pay the tuition.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Kitty,

    You can attend college and receive SSI. If you plan to obtain a degree or certification that could move you toward being able to work, I suggest that you investigate a Ticket to Work or a Plan for Self-Support (PASS). A claims representative can give you more information regarding these programs. More information is also available in the Red Book, which is online at http://www.ssa.gov.

    If you plan to get financial assistance to attend college, it will be helpful for you to know which financial assistance will not affect your SSI benefits. (Most grants and scholarhips won’t if it is all used for tuition and fees.) A list of comment sources of financial aid and how they do or do not affect SSI can be found at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Peggie,

    In addition to being disabled, if you are, you must also meet the financial criteria to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Whether or not you are eligible depends on how she is supporting you. If she is providing free housing and food, there is a reduction of one-third from the maximum benefit. If she is also giving you money for some things, that will count to reduce benefits as well. To know for sure whether you qualify financially and medically, you need to file a claim.

    sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sherry,

    Reports can be made to your local Social Security office or by calling 1-800-772-1213.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sherry,

    If you think that the person you know is not disabled you can report her activity to Social Security and they may investigate her medical condition, but be aware that the person may have a Social Security Ticket to Work and the massage school may be part of an approved rehabilitation plan to get her back to work and off Social Security.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Michelle,

    Your return to full-time college could raise the question of whether you are well enough to be working full-time. If your return to school is part of a plan to return to the workforce, you can request a Ticket to Work and include the education as part of the plan. The Ticket may shelter you from a continuing disability review (CDR) while you compete your education. Ticket to Work information is available at http://www.ssa.gov/work and from the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Amy,

    Whether or not financial aid will affect your SSI benefits depends on the source of the financial aid, the type of aid, and in some cases what it is used for. Usually if it is only for tuition, fees, and books, the aid does not count as income, although work study counts as wages. Information on the handling of some common sources of financial aid can be found at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455 and you can always check with Social Security before accepting a specific aid.

    Lastly, if your return to school is part of a plan to return to the workforce, you can request a Ticket to Work and or set up a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS). A PASS allows income used for the PASS, such as financial aid, not to count as income for the SSI benefit calculation. A Social Security claims representative can provide more information and help you develop a PASS. Information is also available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass.htm. Ticket to work information is available at http://www.ssa.gov/work and from the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Brandon,

    You should be okay to keep benefits while you recover from the surgeries, but I suggest that you request a Ticket to Work and make your law school part of your return-to-work plan. That might provide some protection. Information about the work incentives including the Ticket to Work is available in the Red Book, which is available at http://www.ssa.gov and at http://www.ssa.gov/work. You can request a Ticket from the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Beast,

    A medical assessment would have been made of your friend’s psychiatric condition including a review of his mental health treatment records. His doctor may have supported his claim, but the decision to pay him benefits was made by a disability claims examiner trained in Social Security law.

    If your friend is going to school full time, it could raise questions about whether he could be working, but even full-time is only twelve to eighteen class hours a week, not close to a full time job. Also, there is a possibility that his attending school is part of a return-to-work program so that when he finishes school he will be able to work and ultimately stop getting benefits.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Martha,

    The continuing disability review will ask about school attendance and your daughter needs to respond truthfully; otherwise, she would be falsifying information to get benefits and would be opening herself up to fraud charges. She can explain on the form or an attached sheet that it took her a full year to complete four classes due to her health and that she is finding it hard to find jobs to apply for due to her limitations. She can also explain that the choice of majors and degrees was made before she became ill and may not be compatible with her current health.

    She can also request a Ticket to Work from Social Security. The Ticket offers various services to help people return to work, some of which might be helpful to her. More information about the Ticket and other return-to-work incentives can be found in the Red Book, which is available from local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov. Also she can sign up for the Ticket by calling the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Logan,

    It is good that you let the DDS know that you had to drop out of school. The information could help your claim. The medical review can take a few weeks or two months or more.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Ann,

    Yes, your stepdaughter can receive Social Security dependent benefits while attending a residential prep school.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Sasha,

    Attending college or technical school will not of itself cause your friend to lose his benefits. If your friend attains a skill at technical college and he can use that skill to perform substantial gainful activity in an occupation that he can do with his limitations, later at a continuing disability review (CDR), his benefits could be terminated because he has a new ability to work.

    However, it is not as simple as that. Social Security law has work incentive provisions that grant Trial Work Periods and continuation of Medicare and other benefits to those receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security childhood disability benefits (CDB) and attempting to return to work. Other work incentives apply for those receiving SSI. (Because your friend has been getting benefits since he was a child, your friend could be getting either SSI or CDB with different rules applying.

    I suggest that he review the Red Book, which describes the work incentives. It can be found at http://www.ssa.gov. The Ticket to Work program applies to both Social Security and SSI recipients and could be a good choice for him. More information about the Ticket can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/work and on the Ticket to Work hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jen,

    If your daughter is still in high school after turning age eighteen, she can have benefits continued until the earlier of her graduation or age nineteen. No benefits are payable for college attendance.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Clarissa,

    If you continue to be unable to work and consistently perform substantial gainful activity, attending college will not affect your SSI disability benefits at this time. If eventually you get a degree or professional certificate that qualifies you to work in an occupation that you can perform with your medical limitations, at that time you would become ineligible for SSI because you would not longer be disabled.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dan Sytsma

    My daughter had a stroke a week after High school graduation. She is on SSI. What does she need to do to get some grants for college? Everyone is telling her that her parents make to much to qualify for grants. Is this true. She wants to get an education for herself so that she can get off SSI. So is there any grants out therefor her situation?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dan,

      I suggest that your daughter contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) and apply for a Ticket to Work. As part of the Ticket, she can request vocational rehabilitation services, which might pay for college. She can get information and apply for the Ticket from the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842. She can also read about the Ticket to Work and other work incentives for SSI recipient’s in the Red Book available online at http://www.ssa.gov or from a local Social Security office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • BENJAMIN M. SMITH

    I AM A PART TIME COLLEGE STUDENT. I GET GOOD GRADES WILL THAT AFFECT MY SSDI SSI CLAIM?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Benjamin,

      Attending college part time will not necessarily affect your disability claim(s). The fact that you are going to school part time could be an indication that you are not able to work and earn at the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, which is currently $1,130. If you eventually get a degree or certificate that qualifies you for work that you can perform with your medical conditions, a continuing disability review (CDR) might find that you are no longer disabled unless you are attending school under the Ticket to Work program in which case a CDR might be deferred while you are trying to work. You can get information about a Ticket to Work in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov, and from the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842.

      If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), student financial aid will or will not be counted on income depending on its source and use. You can learn more about this at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Nicole

    I was recently approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI). I’m bored sitting at home all day and want to attend college classes for stimulation, but I’m concerned about losing my benefits. Can I take college courses without losing my disability benefits? Do I have to register through the Ticket To Work program first, or can I just sign up for college courses? Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicole,

      If you are able to go to school full time, it could raise the question of whether you could be working. On the other hand, if you are able to attend and do the work for only one or two classes at a time because of your health, attending school is unlikely to cause a problem with your benefits. If eventually you obtain a degree or a certificate that qualifies you for work within your medical limitations, benefits could potentially end at the time.

      If the college classes are for the purpose of moving toward employment and maybe even getting off Social Security, a Ticket to Work is definitely the way to go. You might get assistance with costs. If not, I suggest your talk with the Ticket to Work Hotline at 1-866-968-7842 to discuss the best approach.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Carrie Simmons

        I’m on SSI and I intend to start my reinterergation into att d mating to get a education to help members in the disabled community to benefit from complimentary and holli s tic health. I don’t intend to get a big financial benefit I intend to get grant access to be able to cover cost to pay for cost to supply them with products such as fresh produce , educa tion on nutrition, herbs and the benefits.

        Since it wouldnt be a income to my pocket ranging to a income to me but, income to VA, to encourage them to increase their potential by helping themselves and others.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Carrie,

          I think you are saying that you are planning to obtain money to provide services to others. If you receive the money yourself and it is in your control, even if it is supposed to be used and is used for charitable services, the money is likely to be counted as income by the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program because you have access to the money. However, I suggest that you discuss your plans with Social Security to find out how it would be handled. If you are told it will not count as income or resources, request that determination in writing.

          Another option would be to establish a non-profit organization to apply for and receive the money. You could then volunteer or work for the organization. If you receive wages, part of them (half of gross earnings over $65 a month) will be counted as income.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • my son is 25 yrs old and has $2600 save on his bank that was given from financial aid like 2yrs ago, cause it was paid by Commission For The Blind is this going to effect him on his regularly review with supplemental security income to see if he still eligible.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nelda,

      Unless your son is married and living with his spouse or he the funds are necessary to complete an approved SSI Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS), he has been ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits since the month after the month that he received the money because he has had more than $2,000 in assets.

      If he wants to be eligible for SSI now, he needs to spend some of the money to drop his assets to $2,000. He should keep receipts to prove that he has spent the funds. I do not know the circumstances of why this money has not been reported before, but your son has been overpaid and may have to use the remainder of the funds to repay the overpayment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Pam

    Will student’s who drop-out of high school be effected by SSI? Is there something I can send to students from SSI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pam,

      Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits is not dependent on school attendance. Youth who are still in secondary school and are age eighteen can have their Social Security dependent benefits extended to age nineteen based on full-time school attendance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • My son will be turning 18 Dec. the second he is currently going to a behavior school due to his actions with his behavior. I received a letter stating this is the last month he will be receiving his disability because of age but he still in school and o my in the 10th grade. Can’t someone please help me?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Angela,

          Your son can still be considered a “child” for eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because he is still attending school. Take to Social Security proof from your child’s school that he is still enrolled, the grade he is in, and the number of hours a week he attends. If needed, refer to an SSI publication at https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-child-ussi.htm.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sol

    Hi Kay
    I am 28years old and am on SSI.
    I currently work a few hours a week and would like to get my ged and attend collage so that I may move onward with my life and no long be on ssi.
    I would like to know if I get a student aide will that effect my ssi.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sol,

      Some kinds of student aid are not counted as income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) regardless of how the funds are used; other kinds are excluded only if they are used for direct school expenses such as tuition, fees, and books. You can learn more about student aid and SSI at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455. You might also want to consider setting up a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), which would exclude otherwise countable income that is used to fund elements of your plan to become self-supporting, such as school expenses. Information about the PASS program is available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass.htm.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Eric Brown

        I have a question that is reverse of questions here. If my son , over 21 years of age, starts to receive SSI, not SSA Disability, will the SSI amount be applied to any college financial aid he may apply for?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Eric,

          Each type of financial aid has different rules, so check the rules for the aid being requested. That said, yes, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is probably counted. However, SSI is paid at subsistence levels, so it is unlikely that the SSI your son gets willd have a negative effect on his eligibility for student financial aid.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Paradise

    I am on SSI, my question is ” will I lose my benefits if I take online classes?”.
    Thank You in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Paradise,

      Taking online high school or college classes should not adversely affect your Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you eventually get a degree or professional certificate that qualifies you to work within your medical limitations, at that time your ability to work in a new occupation could affect your eligibility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Hi, thank you for your time. I recieve ssi disabilith. I’ve recently gone back to school, having been on ssd for some time, about ten years. My disability is add. Im doing well in school, a first for me, but still have challenges. I’d like to keep my disability long enough to graduate. Recently i passed a disability review. I should be recieving a couple of loans, i believe subsudized and unsubsidized federal loans and a pell grant. It sounds like this pass program is something i need to preserve my payments. My ssd is about 700$/month. Of course my representative payee will report the exact amount of my refund check, but do you think this PASS program would help me, and how much, if at all, should my loans affect my ssd? Again, thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      Student aid of any kind does not affect Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Pell grants are not income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and loans are not income. If you need part of your Social Security to cover school costs, you can apply for a PASS requesting that the amount you need for school attendance be excluded as income for SSI. You can learn more about the PASS program at https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/416/416-0000.htm.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • James

        Most appreciated.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, James.

  • Heidi

    My son turned 18 and was approved to receive ssi because of his disability. However ssa cut 1/3 of his benefit because he lives at home. He wants to appeal the decision on the ground that he will be paying his fair share of the living expenses. We don’t have mortgage so rent, I think, is not an option. I’m thinking to include property tax and homeowners insurance with the basic utilities and food as living expenses. Do you think this is a good argument for an appeal? Do you think $200 for food is fair?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heidi,

      Your son’s benefits will be increased two months after he starts paying his share. When there is no mortgage, shelter expenses are property tax and shelter utilities (power, heat, water/sewer, and garbage). The homeowners association (HOA)fees are a shelter expense only to the extent that the HOA fees include shelter utilities; otherwise, HOA fees are not shelter expenses.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Rose

    My son gets ssi and social security and he is going to start working for the board of Ed , when do I report that he starting working

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rose,

      Report as soon as you can estimate his earnings and roughly when he will receive his first paycheck. then report his actual earnings by the tenth of each month for earnings received in the prior month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kelly

    I’m on SSDI if I try to go back to vvery part time college for grad school will I loose my ssdi if I get a fellowship for research or financial aid for living expenses or for tuition

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kelly,

      If you are able to get financial aid for “very part-time grad school,” whether or not it will affect your SSI depends on the type of aid it is and who pays it. You can read about grants that do not affect payment regardless of the use and other grants that are excluded only if they are used for tuition, fees, and books. Here’s another option: If you expect the education to lead to your becoming self-supporting, you could develop a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) and in the PASS list financial aid as income to be excluded while you get your degree. You can learn more about the PASS at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass.htm. (I don’t know that a research fellowship would be considered financial aid; it might be considered employment and treated as earned income.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Patricia maskell

    This is not right for disabled people working and getting ssi and people who are not disabled and working can’t get ssi benefits . Please explain this is discrimination

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      Some disabled people cannot work at all; others have the capacity to work some without being able to perform substantial gainful activity, which is part of Social Security’s definition of disability. The amount a disabled person can earn and get benefits is limited. Work incentives are given to support gradual return to work by individuals whose health allows.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kathleen Almario

    Hello,
    My 3-year-old son is receiving SSI. Will his SSI be affected if I attend college?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathleen,

      Your attending college will not affect your child’s SSI. If you receive financial aid to attend, whether or not any of the value of the financial aid is deemed available for your child’s support depends on what kind of aid it is. Work study is work earnings; but, assuming you and your child do not have other income, you would have to have gross earnings of $1,530 a month before it affected his benefits. Some student aid grants are excluded from counting as income. You can see a list of them at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Alan Cogar

    Hello my name is Alan my daughter is 20 years old & was born with a physical anomaly. She has just been approved for full disability. She is wanting to finish her senior year of high school after dropping out a few months ago. Will this affect her benefits.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alan,

      Your daughter going back to high school will not affect her Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • mistie

    Would a17 yr old lose his ssi. If he longer attend school due to his medical conditions. He hasn’t graduated from school.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mistie,

      A child receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to disability will not lose benefits if he is unable to attend school. Three months before he turns eighteen, he should apply for adult SSI benefits, which requires an updated medical review.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kevin

    I have a friend whose son is receiving SSI. Now he is attending college. What would be the impact of his SSI eligibility and payment if his room and board are paid by scholarship or someone else? Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kevin,

      If a private party pays for the room and board, Social Security will reduce the young man’s SSI by $244.34. Whether or not a scholarship causes a reduction when it is used for room and board depends on the source of the scholarship. Some government grants do not. No scholarships are counted as income if the money is used entirely for tuition, fees, books, and in some circumstances transportation to get to and from school. You can gather more information at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • LYNNE

    #1 .My daughter 22 lives in Oh, wants to go to college in NY. Will this effect Ssi & Ssd benefits?

    #2 .My other daughter 23 same question but also wants to work in NY part time while going to college. will that effect her benefits?

    Can u email me the copy of answer
    I’ll never find it again on this site
    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lynne,

      I answer questions only on this site. The Social Security benefits will not be affected by moving or attending school. The amount of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that will be paid after your daughters move depends on their living arrangements (who is paying for the housing) and on what kind of financial aid they are receiving. Some grants do not count as income for SSI; others count if they are used for housing or food. More information is available at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455. The first $65 gross wages ($85 if your daughter who wants to work has no other income) will not affect SSI benefits; half of what she earns above that amount per month will cause a reduction (a $1 reduction for each $2 over the limit).

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melody

    If I am on ssi and social security disability and I go to adult ed for my GED and i get my ged. Will i lose my checks if i get my ged.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melody,

      If your GED makes you more employable with the medical or psychiatric conditions you have and your claim comes up for a medical review in the future, having a GED could possibly affect eligibility in the future, but not necessarily. If your condition is still severe and you continue being unable to work despite having a bit more education, then benefits would continue. You might also now request a Ticket to Work and make the GED part of that program, which usually forestalls medical reviews and gives you access to return-to-work incentives. You can read about these in the Red Book, which is available at http://www.ssa.gov or from your local Social Security office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Heather

        I have POTS (Posturial Orthastaic Tachycardio Syndrome). I’ve had it since I was 19 but continued to try to work. My fainting spells upon goin from sitting to standing due to the POTS got much worse over the years. I’m a single mothe of 3 and the work I’m use to is factory work. But now potential employs consider me a liability. I have applied for disability but got denied. Does the government offer any help with ppl with disability financially if they try to go to school so they can qualify for jobs that allow them to work around their disabilities?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Heather,

          I suggest that you appeal the denial and at the same time contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and/or Employment Department to see whether you can receive services to get into employment that you can safely perform. If their medical evaluation, done to determine what limitations you have, reveals that they cannot train or place you in alternative employment, their report will support your disability claim. Otherwise, you may be on the way to a new career.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Hi ms kay i dropped out of school becaus eof being bullied which affected my illness i am now 19 nd recieve ssi and im attending my Ged class regularly everyday will it increase or affect my benefits in anyway?!

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Cherry,

        Attending school to get a GED will not increase your benefits. Once you get the GED, if it qualifies you to do some kind of work that is within your abilities given your physical and/or mental limitations, your new educational level will be considered in any continuing disability review that is scheduled. If you decide you want to try to work after getting the GED, you can request a Ticket to Work, which may provide you with some assistance in finding employment.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Trenton Mackey

    Hi, I had a quick question I’m a 18 year old student who is still in school and my SSI check stopped coming probably not too long ago after school stopping and them assuming I had graduated since it was supposed to be my senior year that year but I was held back.

    so but now that im actually on my actual senior year this august of 2016. I was told by a family member in order to get my check back again I must get this letter in the mail stating my benefits have stopped from the Soctal security Administration office and have that taken up to the school I currently attend and have them sign off saying that I’m enrolled currently and still in school there.

    Then once that’s done I’m supposed to receive it until I’m 19 and two months after that it stops completely. I just want to know what is needed to be done so I can receive my SSI and continue to provide for myself. If you could Explain how this process works I would appreciate it highly

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Trenton,

      If you have been receiving Social Security dependent or survivor benefits on the account of a disabled, retired, or deceased parent, then the advice that you got is correct. You can go to Social Security and request a form to be completed by your school.

      If you were receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because you are disabled, school attendance is not needed for eligibility, but at age eighteen your claim has to undergo a medical review to determine whether you meet the disability criteria for an adult. If you were receiving SSI, go to Social Security and ask them for the forms to complete to be re-approved as an adult.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • stephen kwame

    There is this question, I will like to ask, I’m currently receiving ssa benefit for disability and my review is coming up in october and will like to know if I can go to school . Or could it have impact on my claim.thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephen,

      Going to school will not necessarily affect your eligibility for benefits. When the review is done the number of hours you are taking will be considered in determining whether you could be working. One way to pursue education so that it is not likely that school will affect your benefits or disability review would be to apply for a Ticket to Work and/or a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS). The PASS, which must be approved by Social Security before you start to execute it,i.e. before you started school, would assure that student financial aid, regardless of kind, would be excluded. A PASS has to have a vocational goal, meaning that your classes would need to lead to a technical certificate, degree, or education that would qualify you for work that you are not now qualified for. When you complete the educational goal(the PASS) and start to work to support yourself, your benefits could stop because you would no longer be vocationally disabled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • jennifer

    hi i am getting medicare, ssd and food stamps will going to college affect that

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      You posted your question under an SSI (Supplemental Security Income) article but you referenced receiving SSD (Social Security Disability). My response is based on your receiving SSD.

      Attending college will not affect your current benefits if you have not recovered enough from your disabling medical or psychiatric condition sufficiently that you could be working, performing substantial gainful activity, instead of attending school. If over time you attain enough education to qualify you for employment within your medical or psychiatric limitations and your claim is selected for a Continuing Disability Review, your new education would be considered in determining whether you are still disabled according to Social Security law.

      With your new education if you attempt work, you can request a ticket to work and receive benefits during a nine-month Trial Work Period after which benefits will be paid. Other work incentives that can support a return to work are described in Social Security’s Red Book, available online at http://www.ssa.gov. Check with the food stamp office to find out whether attending school will affect your eligibility. Be sure to mention that you will continue to receive SSDI while in school.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Frank Pike

    I am working with an individual who has to pay the in-kind support and maintenance amount since the parents have a very nice home and higher mortgage rate. As a result they are getting $488 per month SSI. In the fall they are going to attend a 9 month prep course which will help prepare they for paid work once the program is completed. Once they leave the home and go away for the prep school should they begin getting the full SSI amount again?
    Thank you for all of your help!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Frank,

      Whether or not the disabled person will be eligible for the higher rate depends on the source of funding that will pay for the person’s room and board at the school. Some grants and other student financial aid are not countable when used for housing and food. You can review a list of types of financial aid at https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      If the source is not excluded, the person could work with Social Security to develop a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS). Under a PASS with a specific vocational goal, any school funding that is countable could be excluded including monies received for room and board or free room and board. More information about a PASS is available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass. The PASS needs to be developed and approved before school starts.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tyler

    I have been in college for a while now, but in the fall I will be living on campus for the first time. I receive SSI due to a severe injury that happened when I was 2. Will living on campus and not paying rent (since its included in tuition) make my SSI payments go down?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tyler,

      Some student aid does not affect SSI benefits no matter how it is used. Other financial aid is excluded as income only to the extent that it covers tuition, books, class fees and the like, not housing and food. You can get more information at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455. You do need to report the student aid and submit proof of the source. If the income is countable and does not pass through your hands, your SSI will be reduced by $244.33.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Judy B.

    Hi, I’ve been getting SSI and SSA for a few years due to a serious bladder disease, depression and serious back problems. I’m 33 and wanting to go to college. I was married and pregnant by the time I graduated high school and never had a chance to go to college. But now that my kids are all in school, I really want to go to college. I know I will have to apply for financial aid, hopefully not loans. Im curious if it will affect my SSI and SSA. We desperately need what I get each month since my husbands boss passed away and he was out of a job for a little bit (and didn’t want to apply for unemployment). He finally found another job, but its taking a while to get back on track, especially with 4 kids.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Judy,

      Student financial aid will not affect your Social Security Disability (SSD). Some kinds of student grants and scholarships do not affect Supplemental Security Income (SS) I regardless of how the money is used; others require that the money be used on tuition and books to be excluded from countable income. More information is available at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Lisa Sc

        I was about to start online school but the financial aid office there said I had to get a doctor to write a note stating that I am able to do full time gainful activities. I am on SSI/SSD and will have my next review in 4-5 years. If I’m able to find a doctor who will write this note for me, will I lose my SSI/SSD? If I lose it I will have no income to live on. I qualify for these gov benefits for mental and medical (physical) conditions.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lisa,

          I am reading between the lines and assuming that you are getting financial aid that requires you to have a vocational goal and the ability to work once you complete the course.

          If you have the ability to work full time, you are not disabled and need to report that to Social Security. If you are disabled and get a letter saying that you are not, you would be falsifying the application for aid. Perhaps you can find another source of financial aid that does not require such a statement. One possibility might be to get a Ticket to Work from Social Security and set up going to school through vocational services offered under the Ticket–thus not jeopardizing your benefits before you are educated sufficiently that you can support yourself. More information is available in the Red Book, which can be accessed online at http://www.ssa.gov. or from a local Social Security office.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Denise

    My daughter was just approved for SSI at age 19, did not qualify for SSDI due to lack of work history (due to chronic illness). She is taking classes at the local community college. Are there programs to assist with tuition? How do we find them?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Denise,

      I suggest that your daughter talk to the financial aid office of the community college. They should have information about grants she could apply for.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Alex P

    Hi Kay,

    I am a representative Payee for my 10-yr. old daughter who receives SSI and now my 2 yr old son has been diagnosed with Autism. I recently applied for SSI for my son and the decision is in approval process.

    I have previously been employed for 15 years, but resigned to return back to school last year. With the situation we are in that requires both me and my wife’s time to attend our child needs, I felt it would be best for me to pursue my college degree in order to be better educated and financially situated by having a Bachelor’s degree in Business for my families future since I was averaging only $40,000 annual at my previous employer and felt obtaining a degree would increase my value and salary as well as families future.

    If approved for my son’s SSI, would the benefit amount for both my daughter and son be effected if I am receiving (As Payee) Financial Aid used for tuition, books, school related cost (Not on-campus)? I would begin going full-time to school if and when my son’s SSI is approved. I have only been going part-time previously.

    Currently, both my wife and I are unemployed and not receiving any income other than IHSS, which SSI does not count as income.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Alex,

      Some financial aid grants are excluded from counting as income regardless of how the money is used. Other grants are excluded only if they are used for direct school expenses–tuition, fees, books, and transportation to school. If you have grant or scholarship money nine months after it is received, it counts toward the SSI resource limit. You can read more about grants at https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501130455.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Leon

    Hi, I am on ssdi and I have received disability benefits for the past 7 years and I am up for review. I completed a year long course in barber college and I received my diploma. I am still not working and don’t feel I am able to at this time due to my disorder. Will my benefits be affected?

    • Leon

      Note. I am disabled to due Bipolar disorder type 1

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Leon,

      This is a response to both your posts. Your new skills will be considered in determining whether you are still disabled. I suggest that you discuss the mental demands of being a barber with your psychiatrist to get his or her opinion on your ability to sustain work as a barber. If the doctor’s opinion is that you could not, he or she could write an opinion. The opinion should be supported by specific reasons and explanation of which duties would be a problem. You might also want to consider reviewing the return-to-work incentives including the Ticket to Work and Trial Work Period in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Leon

        Thank you for your response Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Leon.

      • Donna Marie

        I have a question, I’m 62 I have been on ssdi for seven years, I started college to learn about computer. Will they take my ssdi away from me. I’m in school 15 hours a week. I only wanted to learn, I can’t work because I would be in more pain then I’m now.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Donna Marie,

          Being in school fifteen hours a week is a full-time school load and usually for every hour in class there are two to three times that amount of time studying for the classes. If this is the case, your attending school is at or close to the hours of a full-time job. If your claim comes up for a continuing disability review, it is possible that your new computer skills could be considered sufficient for you to be able to work in a new occupation. However, given your age, it seems unlikely that would happen.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Donna Marie

            Kay
            I’m very nerve about this, do you think that I should drop out of school. Please give me your honest option.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Donna Marie,

              There are never any guarantees, but at age sixty-two, if you have been receiving benefits for a long time, your claim may not come up again for medical review and if it does, benefits might be continued. As an aside, to look at this differently, if you are no longer disabled, you should report that to Social Security and have benefits stopped or changed to reduced retirement benefits. If you are unsure, but think you might not be disabled, you could request a Ticket to Work and attempt to work–perhaps using your new computer skills–and receive benefits during a nine-month Trial Work Period. You can learn more about the work incentives in the Red Book, which is available at http://www.ssa.gov, and in some of the articles under the “After Approval” tab at the top of this webpage.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Kay Derochie

    Dear Ben,

    Attending school can be a path to getting off disability. Being able to attend school and do two-thirds of the work (the homework) at home on your own time usually is not an indication that a person can hold down a job and show up without excessive absences or work throughout a work day. If you believe your neighbors are not disabled and are not reporting their work (yes, some work earnings are allowed), you can report your suspicions to the Social Security Administration and they will investigate.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • karen

    Hi Kay,

    First, thank you for all the wonderful advice and time you render on this site.

    My Son was just approved for SSDI through Disabled adult child benefits on my record. He also was approved for SSI for $10 a month

    as he is 18 and graduating, he has been offered admission to a top school out of state that is also offering him wonderful accommodations for his disability and giving him almost a free ride with grants and awards.

    I want my son to succeed, he wants a little job around school but am concerned about:
    1. is it better to maintain both ssdi and ssi or just be rid of ssi($10 worth) as I than would have to report all the pell grants and such?

    2. can he still get the STUDENT EARNED INCOME INCLUSION with SSDI alone?

    3. If he is in school out of state for 6 months a year..with SSDI he does not have a yearly face to face review, while I believe with SSI even at $10 he must go into the office..am I reporting a change of address?

    so basically i want what would be the best option for him as his ssi/ssdi situation is confusing as to school..part time work issues.

    Thank you for your time and knowledge,

    Karen

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      The Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) is applicable only to SSI; however, if your son keeps his work earnings below $1,130 a month, he can receive full Social Security. If he keeps earnings below $810 a month, he will not use up any of his nine Social Security Trial Work Period months and can save them for after he graduates.

      It could be desirable to keep the SSI if possible in order to keep his Medicaid. Pell Grants as well any student aid under Title IV is excluded from income and resources regardless of use (room and board). Other types of student financial aid must be used for school-related expenses, which are defined, in order to be excluded.

      If your son is getting other types of student assistance that he needs to use for something other than tuition, fees and text books and it is used to accomplish the goal set forth in the PASS, he might be able to get it excluded. I don’t know whether money used for housing and food can be excluded but possibly given that he needs to live at college.You and he can read more about a PASS at https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass.htm. It takes a while to get a PASS application filed and approved so he should start now.

      Regarding your last question, if your son receives benefits directly, he needs to report his change of address even if his benefits are going to a bank account whether or not he tries to keep his SSI. If he is going to change banks, he should keep the current account open until he receives his benefits in the new account. When he comes back home for summer, he’ll need to report again. If you are his payee, you need to report his move not to change the address but so his eligibility can be redetermined considering his changed living arrangement.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      • Patty

        Kay, Are those numbers $1130.00 and $810.00 for SSDI or SSI? My son only gets SSI, college student. I thought he could earn up to $1551, but I could certainly be blatantly wrong! 🙂
        Thank you,

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Patty,

          The $810 figure for a trial work period applies only to Social Security Disability. I don’t recognize the $1,551 figure.

          Two other different aspects of the law are involved in Supplemental Security Income (SSI). First, your son has to be disabled. The definition of disability for an adult (age eighteen or more), is the inability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) for a period of twelve months. The usual benchmark for SGA is $1,130 gross per month. The gross earnings can be reduced by work expenses that are disability-related. You can learn more about SSI work incentives in the Red Book, which is available online at http://www.ssa.gov.

          The second aspect is how SSI benefits are calculated. The student earned income exclusion, applicable to students under age twenty-two attending at least twelve hours a week, is $7,180 a year, which is an average of $598 a month; however, part of that $7,180 a year can be earned irregularly with a maximum of $1,780 in a single month. Excluded means the earnings are not used in calculating the student’s SSI benefit.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Patty

            Thank you Kay,
            Here is the document I found that states the $1551.00 figure. I just don’t know if I’m interpreting it correctly.
            https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10003.pdf

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Patty,

              Yes, $1,551 will allow payment of $1 a month in SSI benefits, but if a person earns that amount consistently, it may be determined that he or she is not longer disabled because of being able to perform substantial gainful activity, which in 2016 is usually defined as the ability to earn $1,130 gross per month.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Terri

    Hi, my boyfriend is 21 and is bipolar/skitzo he has applied for ssi but has not recieved a response yet. I recently found out I am pregnant and he wants to go to a trade school so he will b able to support us in the future. Will him going to trade school effect his ssi getting apporoved? We will need the ssi to help us get by while I’m out of work on maternity leave because I will not be getting paid through my job while I’m off so I don’t want to mess it up if he decides to go to school

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Terri,

      I suggest that he go to Social Security and request a Ticket to Work and use the Ticket to work with a rehab counselor to set up a plan for school attendance as a path to working. Doing so will result in his school attendance being approved. Also note that a student under age twenty-two who is attending sufficient hours a week can also work and earn $1,780 monthly up to $7,180 annually without reduction of SSI payments.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Selam

    Hello,

    I am 25 years old and currently receiving disability through SSI. I wanted to know if my age as well if I started graduate school, would it result in my SSI stopping?

    Usually financial aid awards which includes scholarships, loans, and work study are awarded to cover the cost of attendance for the school. Would receiving any of these awards decrease my SSI? Even though I am over age 22 can I still be under the Student Earned Income Exclusion?

    Thank you,
    Selam Kassa

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Selam,

      The Student Earned Income Exclusion would not apply to you. The basic work incentive rules would apply, which is exclusion of some disability-related work expenses, $65 a month ($85 if you have no other income) and half of the excess. Loans are not income. Some scholarships and grants are excluded if used for tuition and fees only; some grants are excluded regardless of use. You can read more about student aid at https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Jaime

      I have recently been told by my dr that I can no longer work due to my condition worsening from my epilepsy. I am trying to get disability. My question is I have not worked since November but have still tried to attend college as much as I can. Can I still go to college if I am approved for disability thru social security or would I need to stop going to school as well?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Jaime,

        You can attend school while disabled. Just be prepared to explain why you can attend school but cannot work.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Jaime,

        Your attending college does not automatically disqualify you for benefits. I noticed that you said “as much as you can” about attending school. If you are missing classes because of your health, keep track of how many with the dates so that, if asked about your going to school, you can tell them the amount of time you have missed. Also note if you handed in work late due to your health.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Ashley perez

    Hello what if you know a 15 year old in the 7th grade who chooses not to go to school but just takes advantage of ssi? There are others out there that really need it who won’t take advantage .

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children is a disability benefit. There is no requirement to be in school and some children who receive it are not well enough not attend school.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Katie

    I get SSI and SSD. I am disabled because of a tumor I had in my leg. It caused a lot of problems, I’ve had 5 surgeries trying to fix the damage. I will eventually be able to work but I just had another surgery, I’m 22. I want to start college online. Once I start do I have to call and tell them I’m now attending college? If so will I lose my benefits for being in college? Or will my benefits decrease?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Katie,

      You can pursue going to school. Certain kinds of financial aid are not counted as income (Pell grants, for example). Once you have a certificate or degree and start work, your SSI may stop; but at that point you will not need SSI because you will have work earnings. You can read about how SSI law treats school financial aid at https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Christabel

    Dear Kayo
    I’m very interested in going to trade a school I recently got my ssi back after fighting for 2 years and I don’t want it to mess anything up. Can you give me more information? I’m 22 I’m physically disabled I was born without one of my limbs. And I suffer with depression… I think school would keep me busy and positive but I would hate to mess my case up.. I don’t want to be on ssi forever.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christabel,

      I recommend that you pursue going to school to learn the trade you have in mind. Certain kinds of financial aid are not counted as income (Pell grants, for example). Once you have a certificate or degree in a trade and start work, your SSI may stop; but at that point you will not need SSI because you will have work earnings. You can read about how SSI law treats school financial aid at https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • lmariewill

    My son is 13 and severely disabled due to his genetics (special needs). He has received SSI since birth. If he would not attend school anymore, can SSI stop his benefits? Please lead me to any information on this.

    • lmariewill

      Also why do they require proof that children are in school or home-school to receive benefits?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Imariewill,

        Please see my response to your first post. For SSI disability school records are often obtained as documentation of limitations related to medical conditions not because school attendance is a requirement.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Imariewill,

      Your son’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility is based on his medical condition, not his school attendance, so dropping out of school will not affect benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I really want to go to school to improve my learning disability but I am afraid that it will affect my social security check and benefits will u help me thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ray,

      You can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits while going to school. If you are getting benefits based on your learning disability and you improve enough that you are able to work, at that time you may no longer be considered disabled; but you would have the ability to work and support yourself. Also, SSI has some incentives to attempt work before benefits stop entirely if your earnings are not too high. You can read about these in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available from local Social Security offices or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Donna

    My daughter is 17 and is a junior in high school. Recently she has missed alot of school due to a my husband passing away. She receives SSI disability. And they have been giving her a hard time at school for all the time she has missed. My question is if she drops out of school to get her ged will it affect her disability payment. Thanks in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donna,

      Your daughter’s SSI disability benefits will not be affected by your daughter dropping out of school. As an aside, I suggest that you investigate to see if your child is eligible for survivor benefits on her father’s Social Security earnings record.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Sherry

    Hi, I am a divorced, 51 year old mother and lost my job as a Pharmacy Technician about a year ago due to not being able to perform my duties because of anxiety, agoraphobia (which is way worse now) back and foot pain. I applied for disability one time and was rejected. I am going to get an attorney to appeal. My question is, would it be possible to collect disability while taking an online (IT) course to later have a job I could do from home? I don’t want to be on disability forever so I’m thinking this would be the best option for me.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sherry,

      Taking an online class may not affect your claim; however, I suggest you discuss your plans with your attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tilla

    Dear Kay,

    I’ve just applied to doctoral programs, if I’m accepted should I expect for my SSI benefits to end? I have a progressive physically disability and have been receiving SSI – Disability since I was a year old. I was able to keep my benefits while an undergraduate but since doctoral programs are advance degrees, I’m over age 25 and would receive a living stipend, I’m wondering if everything would change?

    Thanks for any help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tilla,

      The living stipend will count as income, so it will either reduce or terminate your SSI. If your SSI and associated Medicaid ends, I suggest applying for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), where a government subsidy for the payment of health care premiums may be available. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Tilla

        Thank you.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Tilla.

  • Penny

    My son was diagnosed with C P at the age of 2 , he had a stroke , he is turning 18 and wants to drop out of school , will he loose his benefits ?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Penny,

      It sounds as if your child is receiving benefits based on being disabled. If that is the case, his benefits do not depend on his being in school. He will have to re-qualify for benefits as an adult when he turns eighteen because the criteria for adult disability is different than for a child. You can get more information at your local office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • robbie

    Hello Kay,

    I have been on ssi since 2011 for depression, anxiety agoraphobia and a traumatic brain injury. I Started online classes in college a few years ago and now I am in my junior year. I have never reported that I am going to college and now I have a review coming up. my question is what would happen if I left out that I am currently going to college? will they find out anyway? my fear is that if ss knew that i was going to college and have taken out loans that they would cut off benefits that I desperately need. while i am able to take 10 online credits per semester, i feel that I am not ready to go back to work. even the online classes I take, take great effort to complete.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robbie,

      If you are asked about school attendance, you must declare it; otherwise, you will have made a false statement, which is fraud. You can explain you are taking online classes at home and that believe you still can’t hold down a job. A loan is a loan and must be paid back, so it should not count as income. If you have received grants to go to school, some are excluded and others are excluded if they are used only for tuition and books and school fees and not for other expenses.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Goldo Soto

    I receive SSI as my only source of income and I would like to obtain FAFSA and other grants to attend Community College full time online. Will this decision affect my benefits, if so ,how? Would FAFSA and PHEAA count against my income? What would I be required to report?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Goldo,

      Some grants and other financial aid is excluded entirely from counting as income or as a resource regardless how it is used. Other financial aid counts if it is not used for tuition, books, and school fees. You can get some information from https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455.

      I suggest that you find out whether the grants you mention are under Higher Education Act (HEA) and excluded in their entirety or not. You do need to report receipt of the income and present proof of the type of aid and if it is not fully excluded proof of amounts used directly for education. If you are under age twenty-two and a student any work study that is not otherwise excluded may be excluded under the Student Earned Income Exclusion, which is up to $7,180 a year with a $1,780 limit in a single month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Liz

    I have been on LTD and SSID since 2001. I suffer from bipolar, depression, PTSD, panic attacks fits of extreme anger and uncontrollable crying. The only time I can leave my house is for doc appointments or drugged up. I feel as if I just exist like a piece of furniture. My symptoms can change from day to day or as long as a month and them I’m nothing again. I want to be better so badly. I was thinking about school but I don’t think I can maintain a steady mind. Please is there anything out there that can help bring me out and living again. I know this forum is for school. I was wondering if trying a class would affect my financial situation. Searching desperately to feel like a productive human being.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Liz,

      Trying to take on course if very unlikely to have any effect on your disability benefits. I suggest that you talk with your mental health care providers to see if they have any different treatment options that could provide you with greater relief.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ketsha

    I get ssi for chronic depression. which is currently affecting my ability to lean. My mother is currently retired and is my only legal guardian so no one in my house hold works or is able to at the moment. I just turned 18 and am still a Junior in high school. I don’t think i’ll pass and am probably going to have to repeat the year. If i choose to drop out of school, could i lose my SSI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ketsha,

      Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not directly dependent on your being in school; however, school records are often part a young person’s proof of continuing disability. You should also continue to see a mental health specialist regularly.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Pamela

        So if my child is having. A hard time in school and wanted. To stop attending school will he continue. To received. His s so benefit. He is 17 years. Old and is having a hard time in school

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Pamela,

          If your child remains unmarried, benefits will continue to age eighteen. You might want to contact school counselors or other resources to see if help is available for your child to complete high school because job opportunities are greater for high school grads.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Becky J

    Hi Kay,

    I have been receiving ssi for about 3 years now due to a spinal tumor in my back that is the length of my spine. At the time i was in a wheelchair but now i am walking. I still can’t stand for long periods of time or carry stuff that is heavy due to a need to rest as well as severe back pain. I can barely hold my 22 pound one year old for more than 5 minutes without having back pain. My question is would they take my ssi away because i have since started walking even though all my symptoms are about the same and i still have the tumor?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Becky,

      Being able to walk would not necessarily cause your benefits to end; however, if you are able to work and earn $1,090 gross per month on a consistent basis, for example in a job that could be performed sitting, then you are no longer disabled and are not eligible for benefits.

      I suggest that you review the return-to-work incentives described in the Red Book, which is available at local offices or online at http://www.ssa.gov. It might be a good idea to request a Ticket to Work from Social Security so that you can test whether you are able to work. SSI will exclude the first $65 of gross earnings ($85 if you have no other income) and half of the excess. For example, if you were to earn $800 a month, only $367 of the earnings would be used to lower your SSI benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Christopher Solis

    Hello kay, I was thinking about going to college, and already started the process (applying for financial aid, enrolling, etc.) … I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to handle it. I’m on SSDI. I figure I would start with one class, and work on my computer skills, so I can work on computers a few times a month to earn a few extra bucks a month out of my house. (I have a problem working with people.) Is there a chance I could lose my disability?? What if I take online courses??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christopher,

      Going to college part-time is unlikely to have a negative impact on your disability benefits. I suggest that you ask social Security for a “Ticket to Work” and include your plan to attend school part-time so that you can work part-time out of your home in your use of the Ticket to Work. You can read about Social Security work incentives in the Red Book, which is available from local offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Melissa Gottfried

    I am currently trying to get benefits. I have been in the waiting process for almost 2 years now…I finally go in front of a judge in January. However, I am also just about to finish up my 2nd semester in college (lower type of community college). My doctor has me as disabled because it gets very hard for me to get around and to do things, as well as that I get daily migraines and muscle spasms, I also get very bad dizzy spells to the point that I fall and almost pass out. Anyway, my question is… Even though I have been waiting for a judgement for SSD, I am just finishing up my 2nd semester…I HAVE missed lots of class time due to my “disability” (and I can get proof of missed classes)…..will me being in school end up me NOT getting SSD? I’m not going to school for a career but just for the knowledge. I’m 36, and I do take lots of pills that do affect me and “zombie” my head (makes me feel spacey) but I can maintain at least a 3.0 due to the fact that the teachers understand of how I am and of how I need to work. No, as of right now I do not have any special accommodations but most likely will very soon do to the fact these pills n me getting around is getting worse. I really do not want to quit school because it is the only thing that keeps me trying, if I didn’t go than I would be just another spaced out person every day. Please help, I really need an answer. Snobrdrocks@yahoo.com
    Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Melissa,

      Going to school in and of itself will not disqualify you, but it does raise the question of whether you could work regularly. I suggest that you get the documentation you refer to of how many classes you have missed over the last two years. If you have missed a lot of classes that would demonstrate that you would miss a lot of work days if you were working, which would not be acceptable to an employer. If teachers have extended deadlines for papers or have given you longer to take tests because of your condition, try to get statements from those professors about the informal accommodations given. If you have fallen in class or had other visible signs of illness, try to get one or more profs o write up the incidents.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Desiree Stier

    I’m 17 and have been getting disability checks since I was little due to me having Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). My disability has been getting worse and I often can’t get out of bed due to me being so sore. Because of this, I have recently been doing online schooling to finish high school and graduate. However, even this is hard for me and I want to drop out since a diploma will not benefit me in the future anyways. I can’t work and I can’t go to college so a diploma is useless in my case.

    My question is, if I drop out of highschool, will that affect my disability checks? Will I be payed less?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Desiree,

      You do not have to be enrolled in school to get Supplemental Security Income so your benefit amount will not be affected if you drop out of school. It might be a good idea to get your diploma because there could be new medical breakthroughs in the future that would allow you to be more active.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ruth McCollum

    I’m 52 and want to enroll to get a bachelors degree.I know I can never work physically but I need to do SOMETHING to improve my mind. I currently get 511.00 a month SSI , I guess. i just want to go to school to get a degree before i die. I was looking forward to it. This said I CANNOT afford to lose that money, working all my life to my accident ,this is what I get .Nice huh? However i find myself playing on the computer and thought i could get my degree, but if I lose that money , we already lost our home my son and I. Please help if you can..

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ruth,

      If you are still disabled, attending school will not affect your benefits. If you attain enough education, a certificate or license, or a degree, then your ability to work might change to being able to work in sedentary or light work that you previously couldn’t do. This could affect whether or not you are considered disabled. If your physical limitations are very severe, additional education might have no bearing. You could to provide assurance look into the Ticket to Work, which is described in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available from a local Social Security office or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Eric F.

    I am currently receiving ssi and ssid and I am a full time dialysis patient I want to attend school will that affect my benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Eric,

      If you are still disabled, attending school will not affect your benefits. If you attain enough education, a certificate or license, or a degree, then your ability to work might change to being able to work in sedentary or light work that you previously couldn’t do. This could affect whether or not you are considered disabled. To allow yourself the possibility of attending school, getting a degree, and trying to work while still attending receiving benefits, I suggest requesting a Ticket to Work from Social Security and setting up a program that includes school with the help of a vocational counselor you will be able to access through the Ticket to Work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • danielle f

    Hello,

    I have been receiving benefits since Dec 2011. I might attend school 4 days a week 6 hours a day at an adult school for a certificate in dental assisting. Will this affect my benefit? Do I have to report before I goto school or after I graduate? Do I have to report a Pell grant?

    • danielle f

      I’d like to clarify I’m receiving SSI.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Danielle,

        My response of a few minutes ago was based on your receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

        Sincerely,
        Kay

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Danielle,

      A Pell Grant is usually not countable income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as long as it is used for tuition, fees, and books. You do need to report when you get the dental assistant certificate because the Social Security Administration will need to assess whether with the new skills you are still disabled or can access jobs you can do that you could not previously. Note, however, if you have actually recovered from your disability and could be working now, you need to report the recovery and have your benefits stopped.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Rose

      Hi my son is 20 yrs old born with Spina Bifida we live in Arizona can he go to full time college if he receives ssi?

      • Rose

        I mean will he be able to keep his money and still apply for grants?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Rose,

          If your son receives certain kinds of government grants, the money is not countable. If he is attending school as part of a PASS, it is likely that any grant regardless of source would not be countable income as long as it was used for school. Please see my reply of a few minutes ago about applying for a PASS.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Rose,

        There is not prohibition per se for attending college full time, but it does raise the question of whether your son could be working full-time instead of going to college full-time. Twelve credit hours usually means about thirty-six hours when study time is included.

        On the other hand, if your son needs a college degree or certificate or license to prepare him for work later, his college could be considered to be part of a Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS). I suggest that he talk with Social Security and request assistance for setting up a PASS that includes attending college toward an employment goal. (Usually a PASS is set up so that some countable income can be used toward the goal without the income counting to reduce SSI, but I don’t think that is a PASS requirement.)

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  • Seth Alexander

    i am on ssdi/ssi for: fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, ptsd, borderline personality, and anorexia. The fibro doesnt let me be consistent in when i can start my day or how long i can go for. i recently discovered i love photography and have been told by all who see my pix that i have a good eye. i would like to attempt just one MAYBE 2 classes. but i fear losing disability benefits as i know i cant hold a job and may even miss a class here n there. still i want to try without fear of being of losing my benefits. Should i even try? and who would i go talk to? the community college id like to attend or go to the Soc. Sec. office?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Seth,

      Taking community college classes part time doesn’t necessarily affect your disability benefits. If you are still disabled and unable to work, it should not be a problem.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Natasha

        I currently receive SSDI as well as LTD payments approved through my employer. The LTD payments are disbursed through MetLife.

        I am interested in going back to school to pursue a degree, however, I fear going back to school may cause a termination of benefits from both parties.

        What can I do? My reason for going back to school is solely to protect my financial interest. I am well compensated through my employer but returning to my position after a 3 year leave my trigger a discontinuance of employment l. In the event I am let go, I’ll need a degree to keep competitive in my field. I am at a loss and feeling like I’m in a lose/lose situation.

        Please help – Thanks!

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Natasha,

          If you feel that you are still disabled and cannot hold down a job, but could do so if you had a degree, you can talk to both the Social Security Administration and your LTD insurance company about your desire to get a degree so you can work in the future. You might also review the return to work incentives in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available at your local Social Security office or online at http://www.ssa.gov. Your LTD plan may also have return to work incentives that would allow you to try to return to work for your employer if you think you might be able.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Christopher Downey

    Hi,

    i am curious as what to expect. I have a SSD review tomorrow that seems to have been started because i went through a local Rehabilitation commission for help with tuition costs at my local community college. i was previously going to this college in late 2014 for fall semester and spring of 2015. but am not currently attending this fall semester because i have found i am not being properly accommodated through their disabilities program. the only help they would give me after all records i shown them was an extra 15 mins on tests and that’s IF the professor wanted to do that.

    i am pretty sure thats not even legal or its not right but anyways, my situation is that i was strickly on a Pell Grant, and do not have a job atm. i get both SSDI and SSi, for mental issues, including bi-polar, anxeiety, sever depression, moving anxeity, social anxeity, ADD, and ADHD. Now, my college offers very little online classes and they keep changing their degree programs and schedules for fall, summer and spring classes so its nearly impossible fo rme to keep up with it. I am also aware through an email from FASFA, the ones who grant u the grant money via Pell Grants, clearly states you must attend full time or risk losing your grant. I was told by financial aid office, not through written letter OR email, that if i do not take on full time second semester (first semester was 9 credits, all on campus, no online available), i will definitely lose my grant. So i tried to take on 12 credits. knowing that i cannot get anybody to properly explain to me why they cannot give em better accommodations, as it clearly states in the Americans with disabilities act, on their own website, and on signs all over the college, other then an extra 15 mins on only tests.

    due to the fact school was truly intimidating and the demand for high academics scores and constant academic work giving me very little sleep all semester, was too much to handle and too much to remember with all the rules and policies to keep my GPA up and meet requirements for the FASFA grant, i have dropped out as of this semester, not registering for classes ect. i also failed two classes this past semester, one being pre algebra and another being simple computer skills in Word and Excel. Excel being pretty hard because it has algebra like formulas and expect you to critically think ahead and make serious guesses on how ot tally up totals. sense i stink at math, i failed.

    now i have been told by 3 lawyers who cannot represent me due to not being paid by SSA while i already have SSDI/SSI benefits and would have to pay out of pocket which is impossible for somebody with such low income, that going to school will almost definitely cut me off benefits because they almost always consider it to be like “working” or “vocational training” they said over %85-%90 of their clients got cut off from anything like vocational online courses that were not accredited, to watching simple videos and training at a temp agency for proposed work that required degrees or years of prior experience, NOT just a certificate of completion as these course provided. most funded by the state. to simple enrolling into a college with no semester even finished before a review was started on them for going to school.

    this has me very scared, as i have tried many times to land a job but am not even called back, and if i do get a interview am beign asked for credit history, if i have a GPA (these jobs being minim wage btw), and if i have more then 5 years experience. if i dont have all of those i am not given the job. some even ask for my license and car make and model and insurence numbers. stating its required because of the affordable health care act regulations. I have not been able to keep a job when i could get them for many of my mental disabilities as well but was never given a termination letter at any of them even when requested.

    i feel i may be denied because of this, and because the therapy i was having, under a therapist i was recently seeing, he has quit due to lack of pay and the agency i went to go see this said therapist had recent strikes in july because of lack of pay, expectation of productivity 5 times what was previously expected, and now i cant even get a said date for a new therapist in the only place i can be seen with my insurance. i have at least 4 months gap now in my past 12 month history, and it takes an average of 4-6 months to even get seen now for therapy or a DR in my state of Massachusetts. on top of having to be at the therapist office for a minimum of 6 months before they allow u to go on a long waiting list for a psychiatrist, i have yet to be put on meds again and have been trying non stop for the past 2 years.

    many of this si out of my control, and seems to be political in nature. i also have been diagnosed with new disabilities such as PTSD, paranoia, and two others i cannot name as i am not sure what they are called at the top of my head. however, the lawyers still claim the same MO. that simply because i went to school, regardless if online or otherwise, i may be cut off because the definitions of what si considered being disabled is now so vague and so blurred and random depending on each case, that its almost impossible to claim your disabled if you even leave your house, or do a daily routine, let alone go to school again. i feel like because of state lack of funding to aid agencies, inability and uneducated workers in my school who deny me proper disability accommodations, mixed with lack of workers to my therapy office and long long wait lists and off the record pre wait lists, (saying they will call YOU back when they can free up therapists, which may never happen) that u cannot even prove are truly occurring, may hurt my case and i will be denied my benefits. I also have heart problems, and am having the same problem with wait times, cancellations of appointments, and the same excuse lack of workers, health care act issues, and pre wait lists, to on record wait lists, i am not being able to see a Dr for my heart and cardio issues. i finally have got a drs appointment in october but after filing complaint after complaint, was i given an appointment.

    im sorry so long, but its hard to explain everything without including all of this. i cannot get aa lawyer, i cant sem to get people to do what the law states they must without a lawyer and filing a court case, and because of funding cuts massachusetst keeps dishing out, i am at the mercy of the state and other people to get the treatment ive been dying to try and get. if i get cu toff, i wont be able to get a job, i wont be able to go back to school to help me better my life and GET OFF ssdi and ssi properly, and i will become homeless. i feel this system si rigged to do just that, cut people off. and from what lawyers have been telling me, one being a close friend of the family, that si exactly what si happening and is being blamed on the affordable health care act as a scape goat to cut of millions.

    i just wanted to better my life, and feel im now gonna be punished for it. ya cant make people do their jobs and do whats right. so if people can just simply deny u services, without fear of retaliation by state levels, or agency levels because you lack funds to hire a lawyer and see what case you got against them, ho can one provide proper evidence to back up their case at a SSD review? its nearly impossible. any advice would be great and again, sorry so long and sorry if confusing. i dont see many speak of this kind of situation. thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christopher,

      Take a copy of your grade reports and/or transcript to show that you failed classes and dropped out of classes. That will show that you were not successful in school and, thus, would not be successful in a job. With regard to the missing medical and psychiatric care, explain that, too, as succinctly as you can–why you lost your connection to your psychiatrist, how long you have been waiting for a new appointment, the fact that your medications have been suspended for lack of a doctor and the requirement that you wait to be called when a therapist becomes available, in other words, that you were told not to keep calling. Also, I suggest that you check with all other mental health clinics in the area because usually insurance, even Medicaid, is taken by multiple doctors in an area.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Trena Jones

    Hi. I Currently receive SSD. I was approved in 2009 for the onset of 2006. I have work and completed my trail work period in 2013. I was fired off my last job last Oct due to attitude and poor work performance. I was diagnosed with a personality disorder. Mostly bi-polar. I have been taking 2 online classes during this year. Also, I had a bad car accident that has caused 2 herniated disk in my neck that I may possibly have to have surgery. My lower back was aggravated also. Yesterday, I received my first Disability Review long form in the mail to be completed within the next few weeks. This car accident has created,more stress, depression and new medical problems that limit my ability to work. I’ve read previous post about others taking online classes while receiving ssd benefits.

    My question is the doctors that I’ve saw the most in this last year have been orthopedic, Chiropractors. Do I list all these doctors on the Disability review? Will taking 2 online classes effect my review? I’ve only saw a psychiatrist 1 time this year and saw a therapist 4 times?. I have anxiety, trouble getting along with people. Especially alot of people at once.

    They form ask me to list a Attorney, do I list my personal injury attorney? When my case settles will that effect my benefits if I am able to continue them?

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Trena,

      When you complete the Continuing Disability Review (CDR) forms, list all your medical and mental conditions and everyone who has treated those conditions in the period of time requested. Taking online classes will not necessarily affect your eligibility. Be sure to explain being fired and the reasons. (If you have any performance reviews or letter of termination that lists the problems on the job, you could submit copies of those. If you think the job problems were related to your mental health problems explain why. The question about an attorney is referring to an attorney who is helping with your Social Security CDR.

      If you receive Social Security Disability (SSD), not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a settlement from the personal- injury suit will not affect your benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Trena Jones

        Thank you, so much Kay!!! You’re a Angel helping all of with guidance & advice. I do have the reasons, why I was fired and I will submit it with the paperwork. I’m just so nervous. This is the only income I have to support myself right now. Being without a car. Being in constant pain daily on top of being depressed & manic. This review could not have came at a worse time. Again…I say Thank you!!!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Trena.

          • Trena Jones

            Hi Kay, Happy Holidays! Today I finally had my dreaded medical disability exam with their Dr. It wasn’t long at all. Although I was very annoyed with the paper work I had to fill out because it was the same info as what the disability review sent me. Anyways…the Dr. Asked who was President. If I were in a movie theater and saw or smelled smoke. What would I do. I said probably go tell someone. I mean I was truthful on the questions. He let me know that he was sending over his report to the disability review people by the end of today. He asked what was the biggest reason I couldn’t work. I said getting along with other people. I am just so worried about my benefits continuing. I have seen only two psychiatrist this year. Reasons: transportation, and money being my two biggest obstacles. He asked what I did all day. I said sleep, or worry mostly and sometimes watch TV. I told I heard my dead cat’s voice the other day. Basically…. From experience, do you know if a quick medical exam review is a bad or good sign.

            Sincerely,
            Trena

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Trena,

              The length of an exam is not an indication of the assessment. The examining physician will report a diagnosis or absence of one and an assessment of likely limitations; the physician will not make a disability decision.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Kelly

    I’m 20 and I’ve been on ssi for a year for bipolar, anxiety and borderline personality disorder.

    I was wondering if I could go to college since my case gets reviewed yearly… :/
    Also, would I have to go to a campus or do they allow online colleges?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kelly,

      Going to college, either on campus or online, does not in and of itself affect your disability benefits. If your going to college shows that you have the ability to hold down a job, then it is possible that a continuing disability review would result in termination of benefits. If that is the case, that you have become able to work, then you won’t need the benefits. On the other hand, if you are taking online classes or only a class or two at a time because that is all you can handle, then being a student might not affect your eligibility.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Stephanie Campbell

    I had 19 jobs and couldn’t hold them. I am on social security disability. If I go back to school, will my checks stop? I am 30 yrs old.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephanie,

      Attending school probably will not affect your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits immediately and perhaps not at all. If you gain a skill or a certificate or degree and your claim comes up for a continuing disability review (CDR), you newly acquired education or training will be considered in determining whether there are occupations you can perform at the time of the CDR.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Karen

    Hello.

    I live in Texas and I am in college working on getting an Associates degree. I only have one semester left to graduate. I’m currently getting my college tuition paid for with student loans and I want to participate in the work study program at my school. I am on SSDI. Do I need to report work study income to Social Security?

    Karen

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      If you are receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) or disabled adult child benefits, you need to report your work activity; but the earnings will not affect your benefit amount. If your earnings reach $780 gross a month, the earnings will count toward the nine-month Trial Work Period.

      If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), certain work study earnings do not affect SSI. I suggest that you find out the exact law under which the work-study wages will be paid so you can find out from Social Security whether the income is excluded from countable earnings. If the earnings are countable, the amount you can earn before your SSI goes down depends on your age. If you are under age twenty-two, you can earn up to $1,780 a month with a yearly maximum of $7,180 before benefits are affected. If you are age twenty-two or older the first $65 ($85 if you have no other income) doesn’t count and only half of your gross earnings above $65 ($85) counts to reduce your SSI benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • sean flynn

    my question is I have been on SSI for a number of years now, do I need to report to SSA about going to school and if I wanted to live on campus will I still qualify to get SSI

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sean,

      You need to report the source of the income that will pay for your tuition, fees, books, and room and board if you live on campus. The Social Security Administration will then determine whether any of the types of income are countable income to reduce your SSI. I suggest that you take the funding information to Social Security to get an advance determination.

      Once you complete a course of study that earns a certificate or degree, your claim may be reviewed to determine whether you are still disabled, that is, whether with the additional education and your physical and/or mental limitations you are able to perform substantial gainful activity in an occupation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • nicole

    HI KAY I WAS WONDERING IF I CAN GO TO COLLEGE WHILE I AM ON SSD AND WILL SOCIAL SECURITY STOP MY CHECK IF I GO TO COLLEGE?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicole,

      Your benefits will not necessarily stop if you go to college. If you attain a degree or a license or certificate that would give you new qualifications for working, that education would be considered when your claim came up for a continuing disability review. You might consider requesting a Social Security Ticket to Work and, through the Ticket to Work program, talk with a vocation rehabilitation counselor to make a plan that included attending college. You can learn more about these programs from Social Security’s Red Book, which is available from your local office or online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Audrey

    What is the likelihood of SSDI requesting my college records? Do they do this on everyone’s case, or is it more at random?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Audrey,

      If you were attending college during a period that you are claiming being disabled, the records might be requested to review the number of hours you taking and how successful you were. Otherwise, the records probably would not be requested.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Nicole

    I applied for SSDI for the first time in Novemeber 2014. I received my denial letter June 26, 2015. The same day I hired an attorney to appeal my case (reconsideration). I’m still waiting to hear something. When I checked the mail today (August 7, 2015) I received form SSA-827 EDCS to sign and return. The form states that along with my medical records my education records will also be requested. I’m 35 and last semester took two classes (3 credits each) at a local college. I did poorly in the classes because my condition (neuromuscular disease) worsened. When SSDI requests these records will they deny me again? I’m so worried. I’m so bored at home and I need mental stimulation which is why I signed up for classes. I’m feeling a little better now (my condition waxes and wanes), and I want to take two classes this semester (this time online), but I’m wondering if I should hold off. I don’t want to jeopardize my case. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time.

    Thank you,
    Squirming in Tennessee

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicole,

      Be sure to sign the authorization form because it is required. Your school records may or may not be requested. I suggest that you talk with your attorney to be sure the attorney knows about your school attendance and your poor performance and to discuss whether he or she thinks that taking additional online classes will hamper your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • HasnaB.

    Hi Kay,
    I am in my 50’s and I have been on SS disability for two years now. I was approved due to my aggressive cancer and severe pain of my spine along with degenerative disk disease “had undergone 2 major spine surgeries” nerve blocks, herniated disks, nerve damage in my leg, as well as suffering from neuropathy. “currently I’m in remission” I am currently working only p/t, 3 days “randomly” a week, 21 hours in total per week. However, I’ve always been interested in taking up a R.E. course. I’ve researched it, and the course contains two nights a week, for 4 hours a night. “which totals 8 hours a week” for only (8) weeks of classes. “only than you can apply and test for your state exam” My question to you is…by taking up a R.E. course for only 8 weeks, will this effect my SS disability in any way? Can my SS disability be terminated by this? I am physically not strong enough to work f/t. and I’m in constant care with all of my dr’s.

    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Hasna,

      If, after you complete the course, with the new education you have, you remain unable to earn $1,090 gross per month, your disability benefits will continue.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • HasnaB.

        You mentioned that my monthly funds will stop, yet my disability benefits will continue??? I don’t understand that? If the funds stop each month, how does my benefits continue? Sorry, I’m confused 🙁

        • HasnaB.

          Hi Kay…
          But if I attend the classes, and try to get licensed as a R.E. agent. Will that discontinue my disability benefits??

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Hasna,

            Please see my response of a few minutes ago.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Hansa,

          I am not sure what reply of mine that you are referring to. I could only locate a reply to you in which I referenced benefits continuing. You inquired about the effect of attending school. My reply was that if your claim comes up for a continuing disability review, your new education will be considered in determining whether, given your health, you are at that time able to work and earn $1,090 or more per month.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Kristy

    I am receiving disability from multiple injuries from a spinal cord injury. I have degenerative disk disease with cauda equina, bilateral hydronephrosis (which caused my left kidney from functioning), stage 1 kidney disease, chronic pain, neuropathy, and severe nerve damage from the middle of my back down to my toes, neurogenic bladder, and neurogenic bowels. May 2012 my doctor changed my status to homebound, but I want to work because I am struggling to make it every month. I have applied for work and never get called back when I let them know that I require accommodations to work. (One accommodation is a sterile bathroom environment). Is there a way that I could return to work being homebound? If so, are you aware of where I could start?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kristy,

      I suggest that you contact your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation or employment office to see whether they could provide guidance on how to locate employers who are looking for “remote office” employees, who work from their homes. You might also look to see if your skills match any of the online jobs available through companies like http://www.guru.com. Also, some community colleges provide employment advice. Finally, I assume that you are receiving disability benefits. If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) or disabled adult child Social Security benefits, not Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you can ask for a Ticket to Work, which can be a gateway to paid vocational rehabilitation services from private companies.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jackie

    I receive survivor benefits for my disability. I am 22 and i am going through a disability review. I worked about 20 hours a week for 5 months during college. I was a full time student. Will this affect my review.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jackie,

      Your work activity will be reviewed. If your work hours plus your full-time school schedule is not an indication that you could be working more than you did and assuming that you have not recovered medically, your work would be treated as follows: If you earned less than $780 monthly, the work would have no effect. If you earned $780 a month or more in any month, that work would count toward your nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP). You can read more about Social Security work incentives for the disabled in Social Security’s Red Book, which is available from local Social Security offices and online at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Morgan R. Britt

    Hay there
    I have just turned 19. I had received a letter in the mail stating since I am no longer attending high school. My benefits would stop. But I had red somewhere else that my benefits would continue 2 months after I turned 19. And that was my only source of income. I’m a high school graduate. I have chronic back pain that limits my work and I am getting treatment for it. And in the fall I’m going to be going to a community college for psychology. And I’m getting financial aid for that. So I was wondering if there was a way for me to continue getting those benefits. Or any benefits at that.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Morgan,

      Social Security children’s benefits end at age eighteen except if the child is still in high school in which case benefits end the earlier of high school graduation or age nineteen.

      There is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program, administered by the Social Security Administration, that pays disability benefits to disabled individuals with low income and assets. I do not know whether you would qualify for that benefit, which would require you to be unable to work in any occupation and earn at least $1,090 gross per month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Elizabeth

    Hello Kay,

    I’m 25 years old and just received my Associates Degree. I’ve been on SSI since I was 13 due to my being deaf. I have not had an issue with SSI about this or about financial aid, but I am debating whether or not to chase a Bachelors degree.

    I don’t as of yet have a plan to go to work. I’m doing this to better myself and keep myself occupied. I want to attend university online. It took me from 2008-2015 to get my Associates degree, due to medical issues and moving multiple times.

    My concern is if I get a student loan, if that will affect my benefits at all. I can’t seem to get a straight answer. I really can’t afford for them to take a hit and I’m extremely nervous about pursuing this with that risk. For my AA I only received Pell Grants. Can you give me some insight to this? Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elizabeth,

      Student loans have to be paid back so they are not income and do not affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. It is worth noting that if your claim comes up for a medical review and your acquired education qualifies you for work that you can do with your hearing impairment and any other medical conditions you have, you will no longer be considered disabled and eligible for benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • jamarion

        im 37 and I get ssi benefits and I take online classes and im coming up for a review will that hurt my benefits or not but I had a stroke last year but I cant do my work but my girlfriend does the work for me

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jamarion,

          Taking online classes will not necessarily affect your claim. If you are still impaired enough that you cannot hold down a job, you should continue to be medically eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). I assume that you mean to say that your girlfriend is paid to take care of you. That should not affect your SSI. If you meant something else, please clarify and pose any question you have related to that.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Linda

    My son receives ssi benefits. He recently graduated high school and now about to attend college. I am his benefit payee. He receives benefits in Florida but is attending college in Georgia. Will this affect his benefits? Also can he get a part time job at Publix

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linda,

      If your son is temporarily absent from your home for the purposes of school and his residence has not changed, his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits should not be affected by his attending college in a different state. If he is under age twenty-two and a student, he can earn $1,780 in a single month with an annual maximum of $7,180. He should report his work when he starts working and needs to provide proof of student status and number of hours in school to the Social Security Administration so that he qualifies for the special student earned-income exclusion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Stephanie

    Hi I receive social security disability benefits. I want to go to school but do online classes. I don’t want anything to affect my benefits because that’s the only income I have. I also want to apply for financial aid but want to know if this will affect my benefits. Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stephanie,

      Obtaining financial aid will not affect your Social Security Disability (SSDI). (Note that you posted your question under a Supplemental Security Income [SSI] article. If you are receiving SSI, some financial aid affects benefits and others does not.)

      When your Social Security Disability claim comes up for a disability review, your school activity and/or any degree you earn will be considered. Typically study time is double the amount of class time. If you could be working the same number of hours as you are spending on school and could earn $1,090 or more, you would not be considered disabled. However, there are other factors that are considered–you can set your own study time with rest breaks etc. so the ability to go to school does not necessarily translate into the ability to work.

      If you continue to be disabled from performing substantial gainful activity, usually defined as $1,090 gross per month, after you complete your education, your benefits will continue. If your medical and mental conditions do not change, only your education, and you become qualified to perform some new occupation, Social Security has several return-to-work incentives that allow you to continue to receive benefits while attempting to work. You might consider asking Social Security for a Ticket to Work and include your school attendance in the plan of preparing to return to work. More information is available in Social Security’s Red Book, which can be found at http://www.ssa.gov or can be obtained from a local Social Security office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Stacy W

    I all currently receiving SSDI benefits because of a AIDS diagnosis and being cognitive impaired. I currently attend a local community college taking 10 hours will this affect my benefits?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Stacy,

      When your Social Security Disability claim comes up for a disability review, your school activity and any degree you earn will be considered. Typically study time is double the amount of class time so one would assume that you are putting in about thirty hours a week on your schooling. If you could be working those thirty hours and earning $1,090 or more, you would not be considered disabled. However, there are other factors to consider–you can set your own study time with rest breaks etc. so the ability to go to school does not necessarily translate into the ability to work. If you continue to be disabled from performing substantial gainful activity usually defined as $1,090 gross per month, your benefits will continue. If your medical and mental conditions do not change, only your education, and you become qualified to perform some new occupation, Social Security has several return-to-work incentives that allow you to continue to receive benefits while attempting to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Leslie

    Hello Kay: I been attending online class for about 2 1/2 years now, i am going for my bachelors degree, already receive my associate, but it was really just to help me with my major depression and wanting to do bad things to myself, or have bad thoughts, i can not really be around crowds and i high anxiety, it has been really hard and challenging doing online, but as well helpful, i just dont want to be force into the working field, until i know i am ready to handle it, also it has been 9 years since i been on ssi/disability and working. I did speak to a social security rep, he basically was saying that i was ok to go to school and it should not affect both my income, but i didn’t feel to confident about what he said, and i just send in a cdr short form report, this is the first time i had to tell them i am in school, i wasn’t previously. What do you suggest? and, i am 47. my major is for Medical Management.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Leslie,

      Your education including degrees attained and fields of study can affect the decision of whether or not you are disabled. I suggest that you submit a statement to supplement the Continuing Disability Review statement to explain why you can’t work and the reasons for and mental health benefits from your taking classes as you explained in your posting on this site. If it took you a long time to get the associates degree because you took only a class or two at a time, give the number of years it took to get your usual two-year degree.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kim

    Hello Kay,
    I was recently awarded SSDI after a three year long term disability from prior employer. I have had intermittent relapses of what doctors (believe) may be fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This has been going on for over seven years. I am 57 years old and have quite a few years of past medical experience. I am considering taking some phlebotomy and medical assistant training to earn a certificate. My husband has been let go of his job of 22 years, which also instills an urgency to get back to work. Would I qualify for any assistance on the tuition through SSD? I believe getting myself into doing something I am passionate about, may help my physical and mental wellbeing. I appreciate any input you can provide.

    Thank you, Kim

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kim,

      I suggest that you ask Social Security for a Ticket to Work and once you get it request to be assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor to help with your attempts to return to work. I know that the Ticket to Work provides some vocational rehabilitation services; I do not know whether tuition assistance is available. You might also contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see whether you qualify for services. You can read about the Ticket to Work and other Social Security return-to-work incentives in the SSA’s Red Book, which can be requested from your local Social Security office or viewed online a http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ashley

    I’m 27 years old and receive ssdi for diabetes gastroparesis neuropathy depression and soon for my eyes also. Will I be able to go to school part time/online for accounting and still get my ssdi money

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashley,

      Social Security has several return-to-work incentives for individuals to move toward being able to work in the future. I suggest that you apply to Social Security for a Ticket to Work and indicate that you plan to start taking part-time, online classes in accounting. Once you have gained enough education to work in the field and start to work, you will likely be eligible for a Trial Work Period during which benefits continue and Extended Period of Disability. You can read about these work incentives by going to http://www.ssa.gov and searching for Red Book. You can also request a Red Book from your local Social Security office.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Mike

    Hi, Kay I receive SSDI for depression, anxiety, Bi-polar, PTSD, and multiple personalty disorder and my Wife is my guarding I want to go to Tech school will I have to report this to the SSA?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mike,

      You do not have to report going to tech school; but as soon as you graduate or earn a certificate or other designation that qualifies you for an occupation, you need to report this to the Social Security Administration so that they can assess whether you are still disabled at that time.

      Alternatively, it could be to your advantage to request a Ticket to Work and within the Ticket to Work structure get an approval for the tech training program as a course for rehabilitation before you start it. That way you might be eligible for continuing benefits during a Trial Work Period after you complete school. You can learn more about the Ticket to Work in the Red Book at http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jes

    I’m currently receiving SSDI and SSI due to a physical disability. I’m not able to tolerate lengthy periods in a sitting or upright position.

    I intend to pursue an engineering degree, which will make it possible to telecommute and perform work on a schedule dictated by my physical condition rather than shifts. Even part time work would support me. However, full time attendance seems unlikely.

    Would five or more years be an unreasonable amount of time for programs/incentives such as PASS or Ticket to Work?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jes,

      Five years or more to get a degree is not an unreasonable period for a person with a disability. I encourage you to get both a Ticket to Work for your Social Security claim (SSDI) and to apply for a Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) for your Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Follow the PASS instructions carefully so that you can use your SSDI income as needed to fund your education and follow the PASS rules carefully after the PASS has been approved. Also, the Ticket to Work may allow you to receive some helpful vocational services to assist with your school attendance.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Jennifer

    My sister wants to go to college but she has a brain injury and she gets SSI, my mom takes care of her threw IHSS. We were wondering if attending an online college would affect either of there income.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jennifer,

      Your sister attending online school will not affect the SSI. Check with the agency that is paying your mother to care for your sister to be sure it will not affect that payment. If she gets financial aid to take the college classes, she needs to report that income. Many kinds of financial aid for tuition and books does not count as income for SSI.

      I do not know how severe your sister’s condition is; however, I will mention that if in the future, your sister gets a degree or vocational certificate through her studies or gains sufficient education that she can perform an occupation that she can’t now, at that time her benefits could stop because she would no longer be disabled and could work to support herself.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Donald

    Hello,

    My name is Donald Crank. I am 30 years old. I live in the state of IL. I am appling for SSI. I was told by my attorney that i talk to that i will have a heard time getting my SSI due to me having 58 credits in college. I was told that I can attend college while applying for SSI as long as my Student loans and grants go to my Books and Tutition. I have a learning Disability as well as Depression and Sleep Apnea. I was denied 2 years ago and I wanted to try again to see what happens. I attend Everest University Online – I was going after my Bacholars Degree in Criminal Justice – Which i think is a major negative against me when applying. LIke i said i have 58 credits and i need 192 to get my degree.

    What is your thoughts on this?

    Thanks

    Donald C.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donald,

      The information you received about financial eligibility for SSI is correct, but what is at issue is medical eligibility. I believe what your attorney is getting at is that it may be judged that if you can attend college, especially working toward a specific professional goal, you may not be disabled, that is, you may be able to work instead of going to school. If you believe there are reasons you can take online classes but can’t work and hold down a job regularly, you should share those reasons with your attorney.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Angela

    Hello,
    My name is Angela. I have been very ill for about 5-6 years now and the doctors don’t know why. I’ve been tested for chrone’s, lupus, ibs, ibd, (etc, etc) to no avail. I hurt every single day and suffer from hyperemesis on a regular basis. I have seen specialists and infectious disease doctors with no answers; only more guesses. I have been diagnosed with h-pylori, and have undergone 8 different treatments with various antibiotics, but the treatments made me even more sick–my throat nearly closing the final time. Fail. I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do as the pain and vomiting has put me out of work for some time now, and I never know how I’m going to feel until I wake up each morning. I typically spend about 60-75% of my week ill. I’m contemplating a business administration degree so I could maybe start an online business one day. But, I’m also considering reapplying for SSD as I was denied the first time. I could never sit in a classroom, but online is an option. Also, the school I found would consider me enrolled full time, but I only take one class, for 8 weeks, at a time. Do you think I should reapply even though I still can’t get a diagnosis?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Angela,

      Given as ill as you describe yourself being, I suggest reapplying and pursuing the claim through the appeals process if needed. (You can try going to college online at the same time.) Before you apply, I suggest talking with your doctors to see if one or more will make a statement that they believe your reported symptoms are credible. If so, get the statement to submit with the claim. Also, write out a simple outline of the chronology of your symptom development and when treatments began and ended and the outcome so that the examiner has an overview.

      If you have to appeal, I recommend getting an experienced Social Security Attorney. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time it sends your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • elly

    Hi
    I have direct deposit that means my ssi/d checks goes directly in to my bank account. IF I don’t use my funds for couple of months at about five to six months what do you think will happen.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elly,

      If you save up more than $2,000 or save up money that together with other countable resources goes over $2,000 in value, you must report the excess resource because you will no longer be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Your Social Security will not be affected by letting money build up.

      Note that if you are not using the money because someone else is paying for your housing and/or food, you have to report that because you will be receiving in-kind (non-cash) income that will cause a reduction in SSI benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Cory B

    Hello,

    I am permanently confined to a wheelchair as a result of cancer/treatment and I started getting SSI when I was a young teen, some counselors at my Children’s Hospital came to my family and completed most of the process for us.

    I never really filled any forms out myself and only ever talked to someone at my local SSA office one time. As a result of that, it never really came to my mind to report any changes when I got older. I went to college a year after high school when I was 19. I finished in 2013 just after I turned 23. I am now 24 and just reading about most of these reporting requirements for the first time. I never reported that I was going to school at the time (I didn’t work at all if that matters, just went to school).

    Do I have to report it now that I am finished school and still not working? SSI is the only money I have and I use it to pay my student loans (Stafford Loans I received through FAFSA). Do I need to report that I am paying loans? Would it help if I reported? By that I mean could SSA provide me with assistance with the loans?

    I plan on trying to work some day and I am currently just trying to figure out how to get enough money for a car since I cannot save what is left of my SSI after paying my monthly loan payment to any substantial amount. That is, I cannot save enough for a car because after saving $2000 or however much, you are in trouble, or something like that. I live in the middle of nowhere and there is no public transportation in my county, so unless I get a car I literally can’t do anything or go anywhere.

    Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cory,

      Generally if you received grants or scholarships in addition to your student loans and they were intended for or used for anything other than tuition, school fees, and books, you would need to report the income to SSA so they could determine whether federal law excluded that income from being counted in calculating SSI payments.

      I suggest that you talk to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to find out whether you can save up more than $2,000 under a P.A.S.S (Plan for Achieving Self Support) given that you need a vehicle to get to a work site. Another option might be to save until you have close to $2,000 and use it for a down payment, assuming your living and other expenses are low enough to make a car payment possible.

      Another idea would be to contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to find out whether they or any other agency or organization would pay for a specially equipped vehicle (I assume that you need special controls) so you can work. Lastly, is there a possibility of your moving to a more populated area where work would be available nearby or by public transportation?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Donald Crank

    Hello,

    This may be a crazy question but I have attend college I currently holding 58 credits but I am having trouble keeping work due to me being slow to do some types of work. I also have sleep apnea and mentally reatareded and have depression. Would I have a chance for SSI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Donald,

      Whether or not you are disabled depends on how your severe mental limitations and depression are. If you are not now working earning $1,090 or more gross monthly, you can apply for Social Security and/or SSI disability to get a formal determination. Whether or not you apply, I suggest that you also contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to find out whether you qualify for job training for an occupation that you can perform within your limitations. Also ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens) might be able to assist you or refer you to a resource for finding the correct employment.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Shannon McLean

    Hello,

    Thank you for providing information on this page. I am almost 22 years old and I have two medical conditions. I applied for SSI in May of 2014, but was denied the first time. It is April 2015 and I will be applying with legal counsel this time.

    I am enrolled part time (6 credits) at my local community college, and the courses are online. I have three questions and I hope that you would be willing to offer insight:

    A) Will attending school part-time (online) affect my second application for SSI?

    B) Would I be able to work at all while reapplying and if so what would be considered a minimum?

    C) I was planning to enter Sonography school full-time next year , and if I am receiving benefits if approved would this affect my monthly payments?

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Shannon,

      Attending school will not disqualify you for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Working part-time will not necessarily disqualify you. Students under age twenty-two can earn more than people age twenty-two and older. The limit for non-student earnings is $65 gross ($85 if you have no other countable income). If you earn more than that, SSI benefits go down $1 for every $2 earned. Note, however, that earnings from some work-study programs are not countable income and will not affect SSI. (Earnings $1,090 are considered substantial and usually result in a finding that you are not disabled.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Brandon Newton

    I’m thinking about taking online classes for a college degree or certificate which would require me to take out student loans, but I don’t get how I would be able to repay back those loans when my only source of income is SSI?

    This doesn’t make sense to me! HELP!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandon,

      Your observation should be quite useful in your making a decision about whether to incur the debt. One point to consider is whether or not when you get a degree or certificate you will be able to work. Will the certificate or degree give you education that will allow you to work within your medical limitations. If so and you work and stop getting disability benefits, you will have more income from which to pay back the loans. You might also investigate scholarships or school funds through a state vocational rehabilitation program.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Christine

    Hi, I’m 28 yrs old and been receiving ssi for years now. I plan on doing online schooling for at least an hour a day. Basically one those go at your own pace type of online schools. I was wondering if it would affect my ssi or possibly termination?.

    Thanks!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Christine,

      Part-time school attendance should not affect your SSI benefits. If you get financial assistance to take classes, report the assistance though most types of financial aid are not countable income for SSI. In the future, if you attain a certificate or degree, your ability to work within your physical or mental limitations could change and you might no longer be considered disabled because with your new education, you might be able to work.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Asia Luang

    ps I had disability hearig yesterday and judge told me I need to have copy of college grades for the 2012 and 2013 submit in 10 days, do I have a chance to win? the expert witness said no to all the hypotheticl questions my likely hood to work and at the end of the hearing i was asked to go out that was the end of the hearing. i do classes online because i don’t have to face anyone and feel comfortable but i know i am slower than other students.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Asia,

      Please see my reply to your prior post.

      Thank you,
      Kay

  • Asia Luang

    This is the first time to this website. I have enrolled for college classes online 2012 and 2013 and have applied for disability, will classes in the pass effect the decision in disability determination hearing? I think the judge wants to see if my grade are poor and also can the judge say that if I can go to college online, I should be able to work? I have anxiety, bipolar and depression. Also I have arthritis in my shoulder can’t do mechanic or labor work any more. What is off the record mean and I was asked to provide copy of my grades.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Asia,

      I believe you mean “on the record” referring to a decision being made on the information in your claim file without your attending a hearing. If you can be approved without a hearing, you will be. If not, you will get the opportunity to present evidence and make statements at a hearing.

      Getting good grades could be an indication that you are capable of some successful activity and that information would be considered along with all other evidence and information in your claim file. When you submit the records be sure to write an accompanying statement that you took all the classes online at home if you believe you would not have been able to attend classes consistently on a college campus because of your mental health issues. If you stopped taking classes due to your mental health or physical conditions, include that information as well.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Monique

    Hi, I am a 38 year old woman on Social Security Disability due to multiple sclerosis. I am planning to attend college to complete my b.a. degree. I have enrolled with the disability dept at my school and they have awarded me with accomadations to help with testing, etc. Do I have to report to SS office that I am now attending college? I have been on disability a little over a year and I know that I will have a review after 3 years. I was also thinking of taking a part time job as well. Are you able to work part time and attend school part time without risking your ssa? Should I just attempt one? Is one more risky than the other to keep receiving ssa disability? I am not sure that I will be able to do either seriously.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monique,

      I suggest that you request a Ticket to Work from Social Security and tell the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you are going to attempt to finish your degree. Explain the special accommodations being made by the college to assist you in this. Going to college in itself, especially since you are receiving accommodations, should not affect your benefits. When you complete your degree, you will have more qualifications and, thus, more vocational ability to work, and that will be considered at your three-year review; however, having a Ticket to Work can favorably impact the review if your medical condition has not improved substantially.

      If your work while going to school earns you less than $780 per month, you will not use up any of your nine Trial Work Period months and you will have them to use after you graduate and attempt to be self-supporting. (Full benefits continue for nine months during a Trial Work Period even if your work is Substantial Gainful Activity, that is, $1,090 gross per month or more.) The Ticket to Work, Social Security’s Trial Work Period, and other work incentives will allow you to attempt even full-time work without the risk of having to file a new claim if you are unable to continue. You can read more about Social Security’s work incentives for Social Security Disability beneficiaries in the Red Book located on http://www.ssa.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Simon

    Hi
    I am getting Ssi benefits due to my disability . If I continue my college will it affect my Ssi?
    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Simon,

      Going to school in itself will not negatively affect your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) except that if you are under age twenty-two and you are able to do some part-time work, you can earn more before your earnings affect your benefits. Many kinds of financial aid do not affect SSI benefits. You can see a list of types of student aid that do not count as income at https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830455. If you plan to go to school to attain a certain employment goal, you might also be eligible for a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), which could indirectly provide funds to cover some school-related expenses. You can learn more about the PASS program at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass.htm.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dawn L.

    I am 37 and have been receiving SSI/Medicaid for almost 7 years. I have many health issues body/mind/learning but love learning new things and helping people. I have been thinking about going back to school for some time now. But I don’t know how/where to get started. I have interest in the mental health field focusing on teens and troubled children. Is this a possibly or just a dream. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dawn,

      I suggest that you contact your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation to see whether you qualify for education and/or retraining services. You can also investigate how an SSI Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) could help you pay for some of the costs of working toward an employment goal. You can get more information about the PASS program at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass.htm

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Dawn L.

        Thank you Kay I will look into that.

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Dawn.

  • Mary Empson

    I was told being in college and receiving money that’s left from your pell grants and subsidized/unsubsidized Stafford loans will not affect your SSI money you receive every month. Is this true?

    I am 55 and started college in Nov 2014. I am trying to get education that will train me to go back to work in a different field. I would like to eventually get off SSI. I make $733.00 a month and it was getting where I couldn’t even afford all my medicine or pay all the monthly bills.

    I have been trying to find this information online and it is very confusing. I am starting to worry that I might loose my SSI benefits with what I have received from my college grants. ( I am going to school online) I have received 2 school checks already. 1 in Dec and ! in Jan. I am due for another towards the end of March.

    This money has helped so much with my grandkids being able to have a great Christmas and to catch me up on some bills plus alittle bit of things I’ve always wanted but couldn’t afford.

    I read also have read something about SEIE. Could you tell me what this is and am I eligible? I received a tax form from school. I wasn’t going to file on it but my daughter talked me into it. (shes also in the same online college) She suggested using the free Turbo Tax to file. So I did. I came out with quite abit of return money on my state and federal return taxes. I am not sure this is even right because I only received ! check from school in 2014. So I am also worried I filed wrong. Can you please help me with any of my questions.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mary,

      I cannot help you with your tax question; I suggest you check with a professional tax preparer. Your Pell Grant is excluded by federal statute from counting as income for SSI; and bonafide loans that you must repay are not income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • monique

    Hi I’m currently receiving ssi for my daughter …. I’m a student in college I’m in work studies … I started in September but never reported it because I was told it’s not consider a income is that true? September 2014 I started

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Monique,

      Some financial aid for college is countable income if it is used for shelter and food and other aid is not. Work study programs are partially funded by a federal act that excludes its program payments from counting as income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Because your work study is not countable income, you do not have to make a special report. At your annual redetermination, report it because it explains how you have been covering your expenses, but it will not affect your payment amount.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Lisa

    Hi. Currently receiving ssdi for epilepsy. Worked for more than 30 years. Medications seem to be working. Lifetime illness. Due to age, can not get a job. Looking to go back to college. Previous employment in insurance. I already have a BS. What are my options. Only source of income. Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      I am not sure what you are asking. Could you please be more specific.

      Thanks,
      Kay

  • Arianna

    Hello! I started receiving SSI (supplemental security income) in 2012. I became a college student in fall of 2013. Do I have to report to ssi by law about this? I was never told to and so I haven’t… Will I get in trouble? Will this affect my income? I get loans and FAFSA, and I can not work and go to school with my disability. I am scared I am going to get in trouble and be homeless… What do I do? Does it matter if I report it being that I get my school things from the gov? HELP!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Arianna,

      If all your aid is loans and grants for tuition and books and none is work study, the assistance you are getting to attend school is not income. You should report that you are in school because when you complete your education, you may no longer be disabled because you will have education or skills for occupations that you did not have before going to school.

      In the meantime, if you are age twenty-two or younger and you do work, say between terms, you can earn substantially more as a student that you otherwise would be able to before causing your benefit to go down. If you start working, in addition to reporting earnings, you should report your student status.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • brandy

    I’m currently in High school but am wanting to do online schooling and wanted to know if it would affect my ssi I get because my dad is disable I will get it until I graduate high school?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandy,

      You are receiving Social Security dependent benefits not SSI, which is Supplemental Security Income. I believe that if you are eighteen you must be a full-time student at a high school to receive benefits and that online classes will not fulfill that requirement. I suggest that you check this with the Social Security Administration. If you are under eighteen, you can receive benefits without being in school so online classes instead of school wouldn’t affect benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tori

    Im 32 years old and receive SSD for physical disabilities. I just received a letter that states that a 9 month work period (for a graduate assistantship) was counted as a part of my 9 month trial work period, which means that I’m now on my 36 month “watch” period where if I earn over 1090.00 a month, I will not be paid disability afterward.

    My question is: Is a graduate assistantship (like work-study) considered an income? All earnings was used for graduate study including books, tuition and travel to and from school.

    Should I appeal this decision? I also was told when I first accepted the assistantship in the social security office that this would not count so its disturbing to see that it, in fact, did.

    Please help. Thank you in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tori,

      A graduate assistantship is a job that your preform for which you get paid. I believe that if you look at your pay stubs, you will find that your compensation was subject to Social Security taxes (FICA taxes), which means that the IRS classifies your compensation as work earnings. In all likelihood the first person did not understand the situation and thought it was a like a grant or something of the like. I am not sure an appeal would be successful, but you always have the right to appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • joeydacrum

    It is mostly labs the hours in school. Classes are 50 min. Long, labs 2-3 hrs. Vocational rehab is payin for school n i know i can’t work. My grades r okay due to da extra time I get for assignments. I rarely sit for more den n hour, n b in pain most days. Up now bcus back is hurtin, also have insomnia. Will they hold me goin to school against me.

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joey,

      I did not see your second post when I responded to the first. Given that you are attending school as part of a Vocational Rehabilitation program, it is likely that your school attendance will not affect your disability claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • joeydacrum

    I have applied for disability and have a hearing coming up this month. Thru vocational rehabilitation I started school. I attend school this semester everyday almost 20 hrs a week. Would this be held against me. My disability is myofascial pain a herniated disc, severe asthma depression and rib pain. There was no time limit on assignments last semester. What are my chances

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joey,

      If you have an attorney helping you with your claim, explain to him why you can attend school half time, but are unable to work; that is, explain the differences in the demands. You seem to be saying that you could do the school work at your own pace. If you do not have an attorney and the issue comes up,explain this to the judge.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • dan z

    Hi im 32 and im on SSI , i received full benefits and Medicare for major depression, anxiety and i have physical condition called rsd/crps ( there is cure), lower back pain due to work injury so i cant lift, stand for longtime or sit for while and i still in treatments and gotta get short terms procedures each month. I also have problems performing daily life activities but im interesting on going back to school at home part time and one class in school if possible so i wanna know my benefits will be impacted if i do go back to school?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dan,

      I am unclear whether your receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Medicare or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Please clarify which you receive so that I can respond.

      Thanks,
      Kay

  • Elly

    Hai,
    Please do you think I should attend seven hours of college classes a week, and what type of assistant will affect my ssi/d since I am getting both. Secondly, I will be Fifty one when I do decide to go back to school. My disability is depression, anxiety and ptsd.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Elly,

      Usually an hour in class requires two hours of studying outside of class, so Social Security might regard your going to school as twenty-one hours of activity. However, if your health has not improved substantially, Social Security may not see any need to review your disability. If you are going to school with the goal of studying something that will lead to the ability to work, you could request a Ticket to Work from Social Security and you could get the school approved as part of a rehabilitation program.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • cindy

    Dear sir/madam,
    I will be fifty one years old in couple of months and I am on SSI/D due to major depression, PTSD, ANXAITY, and I want to go back to school part time. Do you think that it will affect my SSI/D and moreover I will be getting grants and financial aid. In light of it I just started receiving SSI/D last year and I have not yet had my evaluation if I am still disabled or not. I know I am, and I am experiencing short term memory and I believe attending school will help me. please I need your honest answer.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cindy,

      I suggest that you discuss your plans with the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and not Social Security Disability (SSDI), you must report the grants and financial aid to find out whether any of the assistance to attend school will affect your SSI payment. Some types of assistance do and some don’t.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Daniela

    Hi im on ssi for end stage kidney failure and Ive been thinking of going back to school but im scared of my benefits getting cut. Will it affect them if I only go to school for two days a week for four hours??

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Daniela,

      Typically eight contact hours of school would also represent sixteen hours of study for a total of twenty-four hours of activity. However, you can control when you do the studying and how much at a time, so I wouldn’t expect your attending school would be considered a sign of recovery or affect your SSI disability benefits. If you receive financial aid to attend school and you receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and not Social Security Disability (SSDI), you need to report the income though it may not affect benefits. If you receive SSDI, there’s no need to report the income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • BillyT

    I’m on SSI

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Billy,

      If your student aid is for tuition and fees and is paid directly to the school, the assistance will not count against your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Check with Social Security whether grant money designated for books or paid to your directly for tuition and fees affects benefits. Student loans would not affect SSI.If you get a grant or scholarship to cover housing and food,that money would like impact SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • BillyT

    I’m currently on full disability for having a multiple sclerosis I’m 27 and I’m wanting to go back to school if I receive money to go to school will that interfere with the amount of money I receive from my disability or my medical help I get my medication cost is high if I had to pay myself or does it all just depend on the state just wondering… thanks

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Billy,

      Please tell me whether you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability or Social Security Disability (SSDI). Then I can respond.

      Thanks,
      Kay

  • Sue Sue

    Hi. I’m getting SSI cuz of my ADHD & learning disability. So it’s not a physical SSI disability. I’m starting school at Bryant & Stratton with a student aid loan. Big bucks! Tell me anything you know what I should do & would I get more money or less? Thanks Sue

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sue Sue,

      If you have income other than SSI that is reducing your SSI, I suggest talking to Social Security about a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS). This could result in your getting more SSI to make up for your other income that you are using for school-related expenses not covered by the loan. (Formal loans are not income.) If you are under age twenty-two, you can also earn more money from work if you are a student, so if you want to work to cover some of your expenses, talk to Social Security the student earned income exclusion.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Barnaby James

    Hi Kay, currently I’m attending school and I have a pt job through school. I cannot work more than 20 hrs a week, due to receiving government grants for school. I have been diagnosed w/ situational depression, which has gotten worse, and required me to have a stronger/ higher dosage. It really has become tough for me to work and concentrate for periods of time. My question is: what are my options as far as attending school and re roving benefits and so forth. I’m 41, does that hurt me at all? Also, any advice would help. I am also seeing a Dr regularly for my depression.

    Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Barnaby,

      There are no prohibitions against receiving disability and attending school. On the other hand, if you can still attend school with your depression, it could raise the question of whether you are really disabled. If you find that you do have to stop work, certainly file a disability application to get a formal determination. The only bearing your age has on a claim is that because you are under age fifty you have to be disabled from all appropriate occupations, not just occupations you have performed in the past.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Syediah

    Hello, I recently applied for SSI disability. I have been attending classes online, prior to submitting my claim, because due to my disability I failed the last semester I attended on campus. I have been out of work for almost 2 years. My condition is incurable and the excruciating pain is chronic. I worry no one will hire me in my pervious field of hospitality because there are certain times each month when I cannot possibly do physical activities such a lift things or even stand for long periods of time. I want to attend an 8 month medical assistant program at a trade school, do you think this will affect my claim.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Syediah,

      I will first offer a comment that is not related to your question. Before you enroll in a medical assistant program, I recommend talking to a vocational rehabilitation counselor or other source to inform yourself about the physical requirements of the medical assistant occupation. I am under the impression that a medical assistant is on her feet most of the day, so you may not be able to do that occupation. On the other hand, your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation may be able to identify occupations you can perform with the education you have or identify jobs you can train for that are within your capabilities.

      Getting job training would not immediately affect your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. If you become able to perform an occupation because of yourcompleted training, then upon review your SSI could be terminated. However, there are work incentives that allow individuals to attempt wor while getting SSI. Also, if after your training you can work, you will no longer need SSI.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • i apply for SSI because i get panic attacks and seizures, I use to work but i am going to college to become a medical assistant can they said no about my SSI.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Beatriz,

          When you file a claim, there is always a possibility that the claim will be denied. If you believe that you cannot work and are denied, you should appeal the denial.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Renee

    I recently started my first year of college. Do I need to report that to my social security office or can I do it over phone? Please and thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Renee,

      Please tell me the kind of benefits you receive so that I can respond to your question.

      Thank you,

      Kay

  • Abraham Hempel

    Hello,

    I am currently in the process of reapplying for SSI after being denied the first time from an ALJ. I was told by my lawyer that attending school will seem as if I can work, so he advised against my returning.

    Will being a full-time university student reduce my chances of being granted SSI?

    Thank YOu

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Abraham,

      Your attorney could be correct, full-time is usually twelve class hours or more per week. A rule of thumb is that each hour in class requires that you study at least two hours outside of class. Using that guideline that would be a thiry-six-hour week. If you can work thirty-six hours a week in a sedentary job (sitting in class and studying), then you would likely be earning more than $1,040 monthly if your school hours were work hours.

      On the other hand, if you would require assistance to attend school, such as having someone take notes for youor require voice-recognition software because you have limited use of your hands, then going to school might not affect things.

      Lastly, you could also consider taking one three- or four-hour course per term so that your school activity doesn’t affect your claim. This might be appropriate if you really believe you are disabled despite thinking you are well enough to attend school full time.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

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