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Calculator and scenarios

Maria

Maria

Maria, who is not blind, works as a receptionist in a medical clinic. She drives a vehicle modified to accommodate her disability. SSA has approved impairment-related work expenses (IRWEs) for her mileage to and from work in the modified vehicle. Explore how Maria’s income would change if she signed up for POD.

Part 1: Maria’s current work and impairment-related work expenses

Monthly gross earnings $1,663
SSDI benefit $1,300/month
Impairment-related work expenses (IRWEs)  $300

Maria earns $12 per hour and works 32 hours a week. Her monthly earnings ($1,663) are higher than the Substantial Gainful Activity level ($1,180 for 2018). But SSA also considers her IRWEs ($300) when determining her monthly benefits. Maria’s monthly SSDI benefit is $1,300. The table below shows Maria’s income under current SSA rules and the new POD rules.

  • Current SSA rules: Maria’s monthly income will change depending on whether she has completed her Trial Work Period (TWP). If Maria earns $1,663, her monthly income in the TWP will be $2,963. After the TWP, her income will be $1,663.
  • POD rules: Maria’s monthly income will be $2,556 if she earns $1,663

Maria should consider her TWP status, future earnings, and IRWEs before enrolling in POD. Maria could potentially benefit from POD if she expects to regularly earn more than $1,180 per month with no changes to her IRWEs.

  Current SSA rules
(in the TWP)
Current SSA rules
(TWP complete)
New POD rules
(always the same rules)
Monthly gross earnings

$1,663

  •  $12
  • * 32 hours
  • * 4.33 weeks
  • = $1,663
$1,663
  • $12
  • * 32 hours
  • * 4.33 weeks
  • =$1,663
$1,663
  • $12 earnings/hour
  • * 32 hours worked/week
  • * 4.33 weeks in a month
  • =$1,663
Monthly SSDI benefit (earnings adjusted) +$1,300 If Maria is still in her nine-month TWP, she will receive her full SSDI benefit amount this month. IRWEs do not count during the TWP. +$0 After subtracting her monthly IRWEs from her monthly earnings, Maria’s countable earnings ($1,363) are more than the monthly non-blind Substantial Gainful Activity amount of $1,180. She will not receive her SSDI benefit this month.
    Countable earnings
  • =$1,663
    (monthly earnings)
  • - $300
    (IRWEs)
  • = $1,363
+$893 Maria’s IRWEs are less than the POD threshold amount of $850. Therefore, her IRWEs are not counted under the new POD rules.

If Maria enrolls in POD, her SSDI benefit will be reduced by $1 for every $2 she earns over $850.

    Earnings used to
    calculate POD offset=
  • $1,663
    (monthly earnings)
  • - $850
    (POD threshold)
  • = $813
    POD offset =
  • $813
    (POD offset earnings)
  • / 2
    ($1 for $2 offset)
  • =$407
    Monthly Benefit=
  • $1,300
    (full SSDI benefit)
  • - $407
    (POD offset)
  • = $893
Monthly income =$2,963 =$1,663 =$2,556
 

Part 2: Maria’s impairment-related work expenses (IRWEs) increase

Maria moves to a new house far away from her job. SSA approves higher IRWEs for mileage to and from work ($900). Maria’s monthly earnings ($1,663) and her monthly SSDI benefit ($1,300) remain the same.

Monthly gross earnings $1,663
SSDI benefit $1,300/month
Impairment-related work expenses (IRWEs)  $900

The table below shows how Maria’s higher income-related work expenses (IRWEs) would change her income under current SSA rules and the new POD rules.

  • Current SSA rules: Maria’s monthly income does not change based on her Trial Work Period (TWP) status because her IRWEs reduce her countable earnings below the Substantial Gainful Activity level ($1,180 for 2018). Maria’s monthly income will be $2,963 if she earns $1,663 and her IRWEs are $900.
  • POD rules: Maria’s monthly income will be $2,581 if she earns $1,663.  

Maria should consider her TWP status, future earnings, and IRWEs before enrolling in POD. Maria could only benefit from POD if she expects to regularly earn more than $1,180 per month and she thinks her IRWEs will decrease. Remember that IRWEs only aeffect the benefit offset adjustment if they are higher than the POD threshold. If your IRWEs are higher than the SGA amount ($1,180 per month), the SSA only counts the first $1,180 of your monthly IRWEs expenses when calculating the benefit offset under POD.

  Current SSA rules
(in the TWP)
Current SSA rules
(TWP complete)
New POD rules
(always the same rules)
Monthly gross earnings

$1,663

  •  $12
  • * 32 hours
  • * 4.33 weeks
  • = $1,663
$1,663
  • $12
  • * 32 hours
  • * 4.33 weeks
  • =$1,663
$1,663
  • $12 earnings/hour
  • * 32 hours worked/week
  • * 4.33 weeks in a month
  • =$1,663
Monthly SSDI benefit (earnings adjusted) +$1,300 If Maria is still in her nine-month TWP, she will receive her full SSDI benefit amount this month. IRWEs do not count during the TWP. +$1,300 After subtracting her monthly IRWEs from her monthly earnings, Maria’s countable earnings ($763) are less than the monthly non-blind Substantial Gainful Activity amount of $1,180. She will receive her full SSDI benefit this month.
    Countable earnings
  • =$1,663
    (monthly earnings)
  • - $900
    (IRWEs)
  • = $763
+$918

Maria’s IRWEs of $900/month are greater than the POD threshold amount of $850. Maria earns more than her IRWEs, so her SSDI benefit is reduced by $1 for every $2 she earns over her IRWEs if she enrolls in POD.

    Earnings used to
    calculate POD offset=
  • $1,663
    (monthly earnings)
  • - $900
    (IRWEs)
  • = $763
    POD offset =
  • $763
    (POD offset earnings)
  • / 2
    ($1 for $2 offset)
  • =$382
    Monthly Benefit=
  • $1,300
    (full SSDI benefit)
  • - $382
    (POD offset)
  • = $918
Monthly income =$2,963 =$2,963 =$2,581