Many parents are hesitant to let a child work because they think that the additional income may affect eligibility for SSI payments and/or Medicaid coverage. This fact sheet explains employment supports that are available to assist your child to enter or re-enter the work force and help protect eligibility for cash payments and health care.

Young adults who want to work after high school can start looking for a job now! Working a part-time or volunteer job will help build skills for the future. Your child should think about what type of job they want. Consider skills and interests to figure out what might be a good job fit. Activities at school, at home and in the community will help your child work after high school.

Student Earned Income Exclusion

Working age youth who receive SSI payments can earn additional income over and above SSI alone.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t count up to  $1,730 a month (in 2013)  in earned income when calculating SSI payments for children younger than 22 and regularly attending school. The maximum amount that SSA can exclude is $6,960 in a calendar year. These amounts are for the year 2013. They are adjusted each year based on the cost of living. Visit the Social Security website for up to date numbers.

What is the definition of  “regularly attending school?”

To be eligible for this income exclusion, children must be regularly attending school, meaning they take one or more courses of study and attend classes:

  • In a college or university for at least eight hours a week; or
  • In grades 7-12 for at least 12 hours a week; or
  • In a training course to prepare for employment for at least 12 hours a week (15 hours a week if the course involves shop practice); or
  • For less time than indicated above for reasons beyond the student’s control, for example illness.

If children are home schooled because of a disability, they may be considered “regularly attending school” when instructed at home:

  • In grades 7-12, and
  • At least 12 hours per week, and
  • In accordance with your state’s home school law.

Health Insurance For Your Child

The Medicaid Fee-For-Service (FFS) Program is the traditional Medicaid Program provides medical coverage to low-income Hawaii residents. The program provides coverage for individuals who are age 65 and older, or residents under age 65 who are blind or disabled. All other individuals are covered by Med-QUEST.

Medicaid FFS Eligibility

  • Be a Hawaii resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant and
  • Provide proof of citizenship
  • Provide proof of identity
  • Provide a Social Security Number
  • Not reside in a public institution
  • Be age 65 and older
  • If under age 65, must be certified to be blind or disabled by the State or the Social Security Administration
  • Meet an asset test
  • Meet an income test

QUEST Eligibility

  • Be a Hawaii resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant and
  • Provide proof of citizenship
  • Provide proof of identity
  • Provide a Social Security Number
  • Not reside in a public institution
  • Be younger than 65
  • Not blind or disabled

The income limit is $2,000 for a household of one, $3000 for two, and $250 for each additional family member.  Both programs use the same asset standard.

Children younger than 19 must not have countable family income that is more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). Children under the age of 19 are not subject to the asset test in both QUEST and Medicaid FFS programs.

Transition Programs

Youth transition programs can help with a successful adjustment from school to work or higher education. Some steps toward a successful transition:

  • Gather information about getting and keeping the job your child wants
  • Seek out mentoring, internships, apprenticeships, or volunteer opportunities
  • Develop a plan with your child, and their teachers and counselors, starting at age 16

For more information about youth transition programs, refer to the fact sheet Your Transition From School To Work.

SSA Work Incentives

A Community Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC) can explain the SSA programs for which your child might be eligible, and how earnings from work might affect benefits. Ask about Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE), Blind Work Expenses (BWE), Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS), and rules 1619(a) and 1619(b).

For more information about Work Incentives and how to contact a CWIC, refer to the fact sheet Finding Ways to Work and Keep Your Benefits.