Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE)

For additional information visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov or call the Ticket Helpline at 1-866-968-7842.

How can IRWE help you? Social Security can deduct the cost of certain impairment-related items and services that you need to work from your gross earnings when they decide if your work is substantial gainful activity (SGA). It does not matter if you also use these items and services for non-work activities.
When will SSA deduct your IRWE? They deduct IRWE for SGA purposes when:

  • The item(s) or service(s) enables 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;
  • The cost is “reasonable”, that is, it represents the standard charge for the item or service in your community.
How does SSA use IRWE to figure your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly payments? If you receive SSI benefits, Social Security will exclude IRWE from your earned income when we 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 you used the IRWE.
Can IRWE be deducted during a non-work month? Generally, you must be working in the month you pay for an IRWE. However in certain situations, they can deduct IRWE amounts for expenses you pay before you start or after you stop work.
What types of expenses are deductible? Visit The Red book for types of expenses that are deductible as IRWE.

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