The somewhat lesser broadcast Section 1619(d) of the Social Security Act winds its way through the statement that “(t)he Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary of Education shall jointly develop and disseminate information, and establish training programs for staff personnel, with respect to the potential availability of benefits and services for disabled individuals under the provisions of this section. The Commissioner of Social Security shall provide such information to individuals who are applicants for and recipients of benefits based on disability under this title and shall conduct such programs for the staffs of the district offices of the Social Security Administration. The Secretary of Education shall conduct such programs for the staffs of the State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, and in cooperation with such agencies shall also provide such information to other appropriate individuals and to public and private organizations and agencies which are concerned with rehabilitation and social services or which represent the disabled.”  

While the public’s knowledge of the subject that was to be addressed, “Benefits for Individuals Who Perform Substantial Gainful Activity Despite Severe Medical Impairment”, would lead one to consider that the Commissioner and the Secretary’s remit is still a work in progress, we may at least lend a hand by having a look at Section 1619. 

Section 1619(a) decrees that anyone on SSI who works at SGA levels can still keep their SSI eligibility. In section 1619(b) that they can keep their Medical Assistance eligibility even if their earnings have reduced their SSI to $0. There are a few provisos, of course.  

They have to still be considered disabled or blind; they have to have received an SSI check in the month before they exceeded the SSI limit; they have to still need Medicaid, and most pertinently for this article they have to earnings that do not exceed a combination of the gross income that would reduce the SSI amount to $0 and the average annual per capita Medicaid expenditures for the state the person lives in.  (You can have an individualized threshold as well, if you have IRWEs or BWEs to report, or have a PASS, lots of medical expenses, or a publicly funded personal attendant.) 

That last criterion explains where those 1619(b) thresholds come from and shows why they vary from state to state. This year the threshold is up again for Maryland to the tune of $48,604, which can only be music to the ears of SSI recipients working full time and still in need of the services that Medicaid provides. 

Here’s a full list of the 2023 thresholds: Social Security Online – Continued Medicaid Eligibility (Section 1619(B)) (