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Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE)

SSA deducts the cost of certain impairment-related items and services that are needed in order for beneficiaries to work from the gross earnings when deciding if the "countable earnings" demonstrate performance of SGA. It does not matter if the these items and services are also needed for non-work activities.

SSA deducts IRWE for SGA purposes when:

If you are not working above SGA and are eligible for a benefit payment for the 37th month, you will continue to be eligible for benefits until you:

  • The item(s) or service(s) enables you to work;
  • The item(s)or service(s) are needed because of a physical or mental impairment;
  • The beneficiary paid the cost and is not reimbursed by another source such as Medicare, Medicaid or a private insurance carrier;
  • The cost is "reasonable", that is, it represents the standard charge for the item or service in your community, and
  • The item(s) are paid for in a month you are or were working.

If you are receiving SSI benefits, SSA excludes IRWE from the earned income when figuring the monthly payment amount if the recipient meets the requirements above and paid the expense in a month that he or she received earned income or performed work while the impairment-related item or service was used.

In certain situations, SSA can deduct IRWE amounts for expenses paid before starting or after work stops.

For a complete explanation go to SSA Online and view the Redbook section or contact your local WSC WIPA Benefits Planner 1-(855)-886-5123.

If you are not working above SGA and are eligible for a benefit payment for the 37th month, you will continue to be eligible for benefits until you:

Your benefits will end if you work above SGA after the 36-month re-entitlement period. However you may be able to start your benefits again if you stop work within the next 5 years.

The 2021 SGA levels are $1,310.00 per month for non-visually impaired recipients and $2,190.00 per month for visually impaired recipients. The EPE applies only to individuals who receive SSDI cash benefits.

For a complete explanation go to SSA Online and view the Redbook section or contact your local WSC WIPA Benefits Planner 1-(855)-886-5123.

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