We’re Expanding!

Disability Rights Iowa is proud to announce our Benefits Planning services have expanded!

Our Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) services now cover all of Iowa and several counties in Northwestern Illinois!

  • WIPA is a grant-funded program sponsored by the Social Security Administration.
  • Disability Rights IOWA (DRI) staff members who provide WIPA services are called Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs). They focus on beneficiaries’ choices, future, and especially work goals.

Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs) provide work incentives planning and assistance services to Social Security beneficiaries who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), who want to pursue gainful employment/self-employment or who are already employed or self-employed.

  • If you have basic questions about how earnings may affect your Social Security disability benefits, start by calling the Ticket Helpline 1-866-968-7842.
  • If you need services that are more detailed, the Ticket Helpline will refer you on to a CWIC that covers YOUR part of the state.

Northwestern Illinois Counties now served by Disability Rights Iowa:












Jo Daviess













Rock Island










Jo Daviess













Rock Island



Reporting Wages When You Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Reporting Wages When You Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program for people who are disabled, blind, or aged. The amount you can receive is based, in part, on the income available to you. To make sure you get timely and accurate payments, participate in monthly wage reporting.

What is monthly wage reporting?

When you report your wages to Social Security at the beginning of each month, we call it monthly wage reporting. The law requires you to report your wages when you receive SSI. These wages may or may not affect your SSI payment. We’ll also consider certain expenses you pay that make it possible for you to work. Generally, the more income available to you, the less your SSI payment will be. Reporting wages each month helps us pay the correct amount of SSI. Timely reporting may also prevent you from owing us money or may allow us to pay a higher amount.

Do I need to report other wages?

Sometimes you must report someone else’s wages to us. Here are a few examples:

• Your spouse, if he or she lives with you;

• Your parent(s), if you live with them and are younger than age 18; and

• Your sponsors, if you are not a U.S. citizen, even if the sponsors do not live with you.

You must also report to us if you, your spouse, parents, or sponsors start or stop working.

NOTE: If you are the spouse, parent, or sponsor of a person receiving SSI, you need to report your wages monthly to receive accurate and timely payments.

Who reports monthly wages?

You must report your own wages and those of the people mentioned previously. Some people who receive SSI have a representative payee to help them with their payments. Payees can help us make timely and accurate payments by participating in monthly wage reporting.

NOTE: If you are a representative payee, it is your responsibility to report the wages.

How do I report monthly wages?

SSI recipients and deemors, concurrent beneficiaries, and representative payees can report wages online using their my Social Security account. This will make it easier and faster to report wages. After reporting wages online, you can save or print a copy of your receipt. Representative payees can use their personal my Social Security account to report wages for the beneficiaries they represent, but will not have full access to the beneficiary’s information.

You can still use our automated phone system or free mobile wage reporting application as well. However, if you need to report wages for an employer not shown on the Wage Reporting screens in my Social Security, have selfemployment earnings to report, are reporting work activity for the first time, reporting wages outside of the reporting month, or start paying expenses for work because of your disability, please contact your local Social Security office.

When do I report monthly wages?

You should report monthly wages as soon as you receive your last payment each month, but no later than the 10th day of the next month. For example, we must receive your monthly wage report for January no later than February 10.

Contacting Social Security

The most convenient way to contact us anytime, anywhere is to visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov where you can also take care of some business with an online my Social Security account.

Call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or at 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) if you’re deaf or hard of hearing. We can answer your calls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., week days. Or use our automated services via telephone, 24 hours a day. We look forward to serving you.

SocialSecurity.gov Social Security Administration Publication No. 05-10503 | ICN 470103 | Unit of Issue — HD (one hundred) July 2018 (Recycle prior editions) Reporting Wages When You Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Produced and published at U.S. taxpayer expens

IRS Reminding People With Disabilities About New ABLE Account Rules

A great article By Michelle Diament at Disabilityscoop.com on new ABLE account rules.

With a change taking effect this year, individuals with disabilities can save more money than ever before without losing out on Social Security, Medicaid and other government benefits.

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding people with disabilities who are employed that for the first time they can deposit extra money into their ABLE accounts….


Please find more of this article at: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/12/13/irs-reminding-able-account-rules/25812/

CMS has announced new premium for Medicare Part B

CMS has announced that the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $135.50 for 2019, an increase of $1.50 from $134 in 2018. An estimated 2 million Medicare beneficiaries (about 3.5%) will pay less than the full Part B standard monthly premium amount in 2019 due to the statutory hold harmless provision, which limits certain beneficiaries’ increase in their Part B premium to be no greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits.

The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $185 in 2019, an increase of $2 from the annual deductible $183 in 2018. Premiums and deductibles for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans are already finalized and are unaffected by this announcement.

You can read more about the updated Medicare figures at CMS’s website here:



Social Security Announces 2.8 Percent Benefit Increase for 2019

**Re-post From SSA.Gov

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2019. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2018. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $132,900 from $128,400.

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail in early December about their new benefit amount. This year, for the first time, most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their my Social Security account. People may create or access their my Social Securityaccount online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Information about Medicare changes for 2019, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2019 are announced. Final 2019 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and mySocial Security Message Center.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

New Online Wage Reporting Tool for SSI Recipients!

The Social Security Administration announced that they are expanding our my Social Security online wage reporting service to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, as well as their spouses, parents, sponsors, and representative payees.

Individuals receiving both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI, as well as their representative payees, can also report wages online. This service is available through our existing mySocial Security portal. Check the website to learn more about my Social Security features and how to sign up.


Here is the article from SSA.gov.  https://www.ssa.gov/thirdparty/whatsnew.html

Social Security Administration launches: New Wage Reporting Application

On September 23, 2017, we released a new wage reporting application behind the my Social Security portal. Now, people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and their representative payees can report wages securely online.

It’s faster and easier than ever before for SSDI beneficiaries and their representative payees to report wages; they can avoid visiting a field office to report their wages in person and they can print or save a receipt of their report.

When you sign up or log in to your my Social Security account, you’ll have access to this application on your desktop, laptop, and mobile device. After you report your wages online, you can save or print a copy of your receipt.

This service will be available for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in the future. SSI recipients should continue to report wages through SSI Mobile Wage Reporting, SSI Telephone Wage Reporting, or by visiting a local field office.

We’re constantly expanding and improving our services to put you in control of your time by providing them when, where, and how you need them. You can learn more about this new wage reporting service here.

Retrieved from https://blog.ssa.gov/new-wage-reporting-application/

NEW from Social Security: What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know

Social Security recognizes same-sex couples’ marriages in all states, and some non-marital legal relationships (such as some  civil unions and domestic partnerships), for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits, Medicare entitlement, and eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Here are five things you should know about our benefits for same-sex couples:

  1. Marital status is important — same-sex couple can receive Social Security benefits when a worker retires, becomes disabled, or dies. We also consider marital status when we determine eligibility and payment amount for Supplemental Security Income.
  2. What type of benefits can you receive — Social Security taxes pay for three kinds of benefits: retirement, disability, and survivors. If you‘re entitled to benefits, your spouse and eligible family members might receive benefits, too.
  3. Children may receive benefits — your children or stepchildren could also be entitled to benefits.
  4. When you apply for benefits is important — if you’re married or have entered a non-marital legal relationship, we encourage you to apply right away, even if you’re not sure you’re eligible. Applying now will protect you against the loss of any potential benefits.
  5. Report life changes right away — you should let us know immediately if you move, marry, separate, divorce, or become the parent of a child. Don’t wait until we review your benefits to tell us about any changes. You should report changes right away so benefits are paid correctly.

For more information, please visit Social Security’s website for same-sex couples. You can also read our publication What Same-Sex Couples Need to Know.

Article Retrieved from:http://blog.socialsecurity.gov/what-same-sex-couples-need-to-know/

Work Incentives Spotlight: Impairment-Related Work Expenses

Impairment-Related Work Expenses

What are impairment-related work expenses?

IRWEs are the costs associated with certain items and services you need to work. They apply to all SSDI beneficiaries and to SSI beneficiaries. To learn more about Work Incentives for people who are blind, download Social Security Work Incentives for People who are Blind.

While IRWEs need to be used for work, the items and services can also be used in daily living. For example, a wheelchair that you use at your workplace may count as an IRWE even though you also use it at home and when you are not working.

Other examples may include medicine, disability-related changes to your home or vehicle, or costs for a service animal. IRWEs may also be out-of-pocket expenses such as medical supplies and doctor visits.

How IRWEs affect your disability benefits

If you receive SSDI, Social Security will deduct the cost of IRWEs from your gross earnings when deciding if your work is substantial gainful activity (SGA).  Social Security uses the term “substantial gainful activity” to describe a level of work activity and earnings and to help determine your eligibility for SSDI or SSI. Work is “substantial” if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both. Work activity does not need to be performed on a full-time basis to be substantial — part-time work may also be SGA.

For 2017, SGA is defined as earnings of $1,170 per month for someone who is not blind and $1,950 per month for someone who is blind. Both SGA amounts are subject to change.

Social Security deducts IRWE for SGA purposes when:

  • The item(s) or service(s) enable you to work;
  • You need the item(s) or service(s) because of a physical or mental impairment;
  • You pay for the item(s) or service(s) and are not reimbursed by another source such as Medicare, Medicaid or a private insurance carrier; and
  • The cost is “reasonable,” that is, it represents the standard charge for the item or service in your community.

If you receive SSI disability benefits, Social Security will exclude IRWEs from your earned income when they figure your monthly payment amount if:

  • You meet the requirements above, and
  • You paid the expense in a month that you received earned income or performed work while using the IRWE.

Earnings from work may affect the amount of your monthly SSI payment. But because IRWEs reduce the amount of your “countable income,” you may be able to keep more of your SSI payment while you work. Here’s an example of how IRWEs affect your benefits:

Ellen Jones receives SSI benefits because she has a disability. She works and earns $1,025 a month, which is the only income she receives. She has the following work expenses:

  • She pays $125 a month for union dues and insurance; and
  • She pays $250 a month to a special transportation service that she needs to get to and from work because of her disabling condition.

Although Ms. Jones has work expenses of $375 a month, only the $250 of her earnings, which she uses to pay for the special transportation service, are related to her impairment. Because they  are considered IRWE, the amount is deducted from her countable earnings and are not counted in determining the amount of her SSI benefit as follows:

$1,025 – $20 (general exclusion) = $1,005
$1,005 – $65 (work exclusion) = $940
$  940 – $250 (impairment–related work expense) = $690
$  690 / 2 = $345 (SSA only counts 50% of your earnings)
$  345 = countable earnings

IRWEs and Other Work Incentives

To learn more about IRWEs and other Work Incentives, visit www.ssa.gov/work or one of the following resources:

Social Security’s Red Book
Choose Work blog: Meet Your Employment Team: WIPA Projects and PABSS Organizations
Meet Your Employment Team

About Ticket to Work

Social Security’s Ticket to Work program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work.
The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Learn More

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit www.ssa.gov/work. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

*Retrieved from  SSA.gov