Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs)

Under Social Security Administration regulations, a person can work while they apply for or have disability benefits as long as the work activity does not excede a certain dollar amount known as substantial gainful activity (SGA). In 2014, SGA is $1070/mo before taxes. There are many exceptions to this general rule including unsucessful work attempts, trial work periods, significant accommodations and impairment related work expenses (IRWEs).

Any money that a person spends on his or her disability can offset the amount of money earned each month. A claimant should keep receipts for any disability-related items, including co-pays, the cost of medications and the cost of assistive devices. Gross earnings will be reduced dollar for dollar by the IRWEs. Keeping such receipts may allow a person to receive benefits that would have otherwise been precluded.

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