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Maria

Part 3 of 4

How does the BOND benefit offset help Maria earn more and still keep some of her SSDI benefits?

Maria signed up for BOND in February 2012 and contacted her Work Incentives Counselor (WIC). When they met, she learned that for 2012, SSA will only count earnings for the months Maria is eligible for the offset. Based on the number of months of eligibility for the offset in the calendar year, SSA will use a proportionate BOND yearly amount to determine whether (and how much) to reduce benefit payments for those months. In applying the offset, earnings for months before the first month of eligibility are not counted.

In fact, Maria completed the TWP in December 2011 and then had her cessation and grace period months in January through March 2012. (Her WIC counselor helped her finish and submit the paperwork to establish this with SSA.) So Maria's first month of offset is April 2012. Her earnings of $8,000 in January through March weren't counted; she also got a deduction for the $100 she spends monthly on medication co-pays.

Maria's new SSDI benefit will be calculated as follows:

Step 1 Annual estimate of gross earnings $32,000.00
Step 2 Total non-countable income is calculated by adding together:
  • Earnings from months prior to offset eligibility ($8,000) and
  • Impairment-related work expenses during the offset period (9 months at $100)
$8,900.00
Step 3 Annual BOND countable wages are calculated by subtracting the amount determined in Step 2 from the amount determined in Step 1 $23,100.00
Step 4 Determine prorated BOND yearly amount (number of months in the offset period × BOND yearly amount/12; figure shown is $1,010 per month for 2012) $9,090.00
Step 5 Subtract the amount determined in Step 4 from the amount determined in Step 3 $14,010.00
Step 6 Divide the amount determined in Step 5 by 2 (for $1 for $2) $7,005.00
Step 7 Divide the amount determined in Step 6 by the number of months in the offset period for this year, to determine the monthly offset amount (rounding to nearest dime)

In this case, divide by 9. Round the result ($778.33) to $778.00
$778.33 (rounded to $778.00)

Maria continued the same monthly earnings for the remaining months of 2012 and she did not incur any additional impairment-related expenses (beyond the medication co-pays) in order to work. The offset amount applied to her monthly benefit, calculated in Step 7, is all that was subtracted from her monthly SSDI benefit check due to BOND participation. So Maria's benefit in 2012 was $778.00 lower than her full SSDI benefit; it was $1,600 − $778.00 = $822.00 per month. More precisely, Maria's SSDI deposit was $822 per month during 2012 because the benefit amount does not include any cents.

Building on the calculations above, the next table shows how the benefit offset made Maria's income significantly higher than under current policy. Her SSDI benefit under BOND, combined with her monthly earnings, gave Maria an income of $3,488.67 per month. This is over $800 more per month than if she did not join BOND and continued instead under current policy. Over the course of 2012, her total income was $7,000 greater.

Future Income Under BOND Policy
  Monthly Remainder of 2012
Earnings $2,666.67 $24,000.03
SSDI benefit $822.00 $7398.00
Total income $3,488.67 $31,398.03

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