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Earned or Unearned Income
Jun 1, 2001

I am currently receiving SSDI, total disability. I have a healthy 2,800 spend down (out-of-pocket expense) before I receive Medicaid assistance in the state of Kansas. I also qualify for Ryan White benefits in the same state. For the past year I have volunteered for a HIV/AIDS service organization. Unfortunately we are having to close our doors. As a thank you gesture the co-founders and board members would like to give me a stipend/honoria. By law, it would be reported from the 1099 that will be sent in to the IRS. The amount is unclear, but would be approximately 1,000. It is also unclear whether this is earned, or unearned income and how it would affect my disability benefits with Social Security Disability Income, and the local state benefits. I'm sure it will increase my spend down, but while coming close every six months to my spend down, I've not met it in the past several years. Would it be best to break this amount into two payments, or keep it as one? Thank you!

Response from Mr. Berg

First off, I am not the public/govermental benefits expert, but here is my take on your situation. I'm sure you aware that in addition to your monthly spend down (share of cost deductible?), Medicaid sets specific asset limits, so it you keep it as one payment (or 2 or 3) and bank it, you could be over the limit and you would have to spend the excess or loose the medicaid coverage until you did so. In terms of your SSDI, they want to be notified of all earned income so it can be counted toward the 9 month trial return to work program. My understanding is that monthly income under $540 is not counted but is expected to be reported. During this 9 month trial period, you can keep all income earned and well as your full SSDI monthly benefit. Since this is a one time deal and you don't spread it out over more than 2 monthly payments, it shouldn't effect your SSDI.

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