Benefits Counseling

If you receive disability cash or medical benefits (such as Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, State Supplement, Medicare and/or Medicaid), you may be able to work and still receive benefits.  Benefits Counseling ensures that you get accurate information so that you can make good decisions about your vocational goals, your potential earnings and your health insurance needs.
You will need to report your earnings to Social Security if you receive a benefit from them.  If you have a state benefit like Medicaid or State Supplement, you need to report your earnings to the Department of Social Services.  If you receive benefits from both of these programs, you will need to report your earnings to both.
Work Incentives
Social Security has work incentives that may allow you to work and still receive benefits. 
If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits:
  • You can work for a trial period and still receive your benefits. After that trial period is over, Social Security will decide if your level of earnings allows you to keep receiving benefits or if benefits should stop.
  • There are situations where you can earn over $1,470 gross per month (2023) after your trial work period and continue to receive your full SSDI monthly benefit amount.
  • SSDI cash benefits can be reactivated for an extended period of time if earnings fall below $1,470 per month.
  • Medicare continues for an extended period of time even if SSDI cash benefits have stopped.
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
  • When you work, your check will be reduced gradually, depending on your earnings.  Social Security counts less than half of your earnings when figuring how much SSI you would receive.
If you have a disability and receive Medicaid (Title XIX):
  • For SSI or State Supplement recipients, your cash benefits may stop due to earnings.  In most cases, you can continue to be insured by Medicaid until you earn $54,502 per year (2023) without paying any premium for Medicaid coverage.
  • If you work and have a disability, and your income goes over $54,502 per year (2023) you may be eligible for MED-CONNECT.  With MED-CONNECT,  you may have income up to $75,000 per year (not counting spousal income), and have $10,000 in liquid assets ($15,000 if married) and retirement accounts.  You may have to pay a monthly premium, based on your annual income (and your spouse’s income, if you are married).
  • If you are receiving SSDI, you may be eligible for MED-CONNECT.  The income and asset limits are the same as the ones described above.  The Department of Social Services (DSS) usually calls this SO5.
  • If Social Security determines that your disability has improved but is chronic, you may be able to keep your MED-CONNECT benefits as long as you continue to work. 
  • Even if you are not receiving Social Security Benefits, you may be able to obtain MED-CONNECT if you meet Social Security’s disability standards.  The Department of Social Services can have your disability evaluated to determine your eligibility in this situation.
How Do I Get the Information That I Need on Benefits So That I Can Make Good Vocational Choices?
  • A Benefits Specialist (also known as a Community Work Incentive Counselor or CWIC) at BRS understands how work and earnings will affect your benefits.
  • Please see information below on how to contact a Benefits Specialist in your area.  Simple questions can be answered by phone.  You will probably need to meet with a Benefits Specialist if you have a number of questions or a complicated situation.
  • Ask for fact sheets on Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income and State Supplement as well as a brochure on MED-CONNECT that are available at all BRS offices.
  • Request information and assistance concerning your benefits from other reliable programs or agencies that you know will give you accurate information.
Finding a Benefits Specialist- Local Contacts
Please call the office closest to where you live and ask to be connected with the Benefits Specialist:
  • Bridgeport and Fairfield County Area (203) 683-0500;
  • Hartford and Windsor Area (860) 697-3550;
  • New Haven and Middletown Area (203) 974-3000;
  • Norwich and New London Area (860) 848-5950;
  • Waterbury and Torrington Area (203) 578-4550.
Need more help?  Contact the Connect to Work Center in Central Office at:  800-773-4636 

 SSI Pamphlet 2023