State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Going to Work: Information for High School Students Who Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Work is important!

One important way you can prepare for adult life is to get some work experience and job references while you are still in high school. You have a better chance to get a job if you have work experience. Work is important even if you receive SSI because someday you may want more than SSI offers or you may no longer be able to get SSI.

You can work and still receive SSI and Medicaid

The Social Security Administration has a work incentive plan which allows you to work and continue to receive SSI benefits at the same time. You can work and keep your benefits as long as you report your wages and as long as you do not earn too much. You are eligible for the Student Earned Income Exclusion so you can earn $1,460 per month or $5,910 annually (2006 amount) without reducing your monthly SSI cash benefit check. You can also keep free Medicaid as long as your earnings are less than $29,735 per year.

Cash in on your SSI work incentives

A benefit planner can help you learn about SSI work incentives and explain how working will effect your benefits. Arranging a meeting with a benefits planner is easy (all you need to do is contact the Benefits Planning Project listed at the bottom of this page) The benefits planner can help you make your work incentives work for you! It pays to work You will never lose money by going to work! When you add your earned income with your SSI cash benefit you will always have more money than if you just got the cash benefit.

For more information, contact your local Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) office. You can also contact DRS Benefits Planning Project at:

800-807-6962 (voice)
866-444-8013 (TTY)

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4154 (R-02-06) DRS' Going to Work
Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois. 7,500 copies