Work Incentives

Tax papers on desk.

(From TennesseeWorks)

What are Work Incentives?

Many work incentives exist that encourage young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to pursue competitive employment. For example, the Social Security Administration (SSA) builds incentives into its public benefits programs for individuals with disabilities. Unfortunately, many young people with disabilities and their family members do not have all the information they need related to the impact that working has on benefits, particularly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, the public health insurance SSI recipients are enrolled in. Though the SSI cash benefits are designed to decrease as income increases, multiple work incentives are built into the program to encourage competitive employment.

The federal government also provides assistance (usually in the form of tax breaks) to employers who hire people with disabilities. It makes good business sense to hire young people with IDD. For example, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) can provide employers with a tax credit of up to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of first-year wages of a new employee.

Why Are Work Incentives Important?

Having a clear understanding of the impact working has on benefits is important. Too often, a fear of losing benefits can prevent young people and their families from pursuing opportunities that might lead to meaningful employment. Key facts to consider include:

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Overview of Work Incentives