Work Incentives Connection

Need Help? Call
1-800-976-6728 or
(MN Relay – 711)

  • Health Care

    Medical Assistance
    Medical Assistance (MA) provides necessary health care for low-income people with disabilities, families, children, pregnant women and seniors. Get details here.

    Medical Assistance for Employed People with Disabilities
    Medical Assistance for Employed People with Disabilities (MA-EPD) provides necessary health care for people with disabilities, who are working, earning more than $65 per month and are not otherwise eligible to receive MA at no cost. Get details here.

    Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people ages 65 and older, certain people with disabilities under age 65, and people of any age who have permanent kidney failure. A person receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) becomes eligible for Medicare after a 24-month waiting period from the date SSDI payments started. There are three main parts to Medicare:

    • Part A covering hospital services
    • Part B for medical services
    • Part D for prescription drug coverage

    Get details here.

    MinnesotaCare (MNCare) provides health care coverage for certain low-income Minnesotans who do not have other insurance. Call the Department of Human Services at 651-297-3862 or 1-800-657-3672 or visit this page for more information.

    Additional resources

  • Housing Programs

    Public Housing and Section 8 (HUD)
    Group Residential Housing (GRH)
    Other housing programs and resources

    Subsidized housing programs provide rental assistance for low to moderate income renters, including people with disabilities. There are both federal and state subsidized housing programs. Housing assistance is available for government owned properties (public housing), private, not-for-profit owned and operated properties and privately owned for profit properties.

    A variety of housing programs are available depending where you live in Minnesota. Program rules are diverse and may differ from site to site. The information below is limited to housing most in demand and does not include all the programs that exist, nor details you need to make decisions about your housing. The links below have more information on the major housing programs and also include additional websites and phone numbers.

    Note that rent in any of the subsidized housing programs can be affected by earnings and changes in benefits. Always discuss potential changes and their impact with your housing manager so you can plan for any increases or decreases in your rent in advance. Also, note that there are some annual income adjustments and earned income disregards that you may be entitled to – you should also discuss these with your housing manager.

    Public Housing and Section 8 (HUD)
    Public Housing, Section 8 Project-based buildings, and Section 8 Vouchers are the federal government’s main programs for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and people with disabilities to rent affordable, safe and sanitary housing.

    Rent is usually based on 30% of a household’s annual adjusted income. The amount of income that is counted toward rent can be reduced by:

    1. $480 for each dependent

    2. $400 for a family that has a disabled or elderly family member

    3. Any reasonable child care expense necessary to enable a member of the family to be employed or attend school

    4. The sum of the following in excess of 3% of the household’s annual income include both: Unreimbursed medical expenses of a disabled or elderly person AND Unreimbursed reasonable attendant care and auxiliary apparatus expenses for each disabled member of the family to the extent necessary to enable any member of the family to be employed.

    5. HUD Earned Income Disregard (EID)

    Some,but not all, HUD-funded subsidized housing agencies also allow a work incentive for people with disabilities who start working. If you qualify for the EID, your earnings would not be counted toward your rent for the first year that you work, and only partially count the second year that you work. Contact your Housing Manager to see if you might qualify for the EID or get more information in the Work Incentives Connection's HUD Earned Income Disregard (EID) flyer.

    Contact your local housing authority to apply for Public Housing or a Section 8 program.

    Find housing authorities in your community:

    Minnesota Housing Finance Agency


    1-800-657-3647 (toll-free)

    651-297-2361 (TTD)

    Group Residential Housing (GRH)
    Group Residential Housing (GRH) is a state funded income supplement program that pays for room and board costs for low income people with disabilities or elderly persons who have been placed in a licensed setting such as:

    • Adult foster care
    • Board and lodge
    • Supervised or Assisted Living facilities

    The GRH asset limit is $2,000. Assets include money in savings and checking accounts, stocks/bonds, most retirement accounts and some life insurance. There is no longer a monthly gross income limit for GRH. The amount of rent one pays in a GRH facility is based on the type and amount of income received each month. If you pay out-of-pocket for items related to your disability and those items are necessary in order for you to work, that expense may reduce the amount of rent you are responsible to pay.

    Contact your local county human services agency to find out if you are eligible for the GRH program. Department of Human Services website.

    Other housing programs and resources
    Information on the following emergency housing programs, contact

    • Crisis nurseries
    • Family violence shelters
    • Homeless shelters
    • Housing for medical patients and their families
    • Rape and sexual assault shelters
    • Rides to shelters or other safe places
    • Runaway shelters
    • Safe houses
    • Shelters that prepare people to live on their own

    For info on Emergency Assistance to pay rent, call First Call for Help at 2-1-1.

  • Publications & Events

    Receive our Moving Forward newsletter with a schedule of community meetings held each year throughout Minnesota, occasional updates on work incentives rules for SSDI, SSI, MA-EPD and other public benefits programs. To join our mailing list, please call us at: 1-800-976-6728.

    Regional community meetings

    Each year, the Work Incentives Connection holds meetings throughout Minnesota to provide in-person information about work and benefits to local communities. Topics include the SSI and SSDI programs, the rules those programs have about the impact of work on benefits and special work incentives available.

  • Work Incentive Plans

    Both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs have work incentives. These are special rules that offer you some kind of advantage when you work. Not everyone can use work incentives. Sometimes work incentives just don’t apply to a person’s situation. Keep this in mind as you look at the Work Incentive Plans below.

    Social Security program names sound the same to most of us. Sometimes people will not be sure exactly which benefit they receive. Call 1-800-772-1213 to find out which benefit you are currently receiving. Some people receive both SSI and SSDI.

    Fact sheets explain some of Social Security’s program rules and provide general information about work incentives. If you need more detailed information about specific work incentives, see below. Each Work Incentive Plan explains who can use that work incentive, when it can be used and the benefits of using that work incentive. The plans also explain each step you must take to get Social Security’s approval to use the work incentive.

    You may want to ask a job coach, case manager or a family member for help.

    How to use the Work Incentive Plans below:

    1. Find the heading with the name of the benefit you receive—either Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
    2. Choose a work incentive under the benefit you receive that you are interested in knowing more about and click on it.
    3. Read all of the information in the Work Incentive Plan.

    Available work incentive plans

    There are more work incentives than these below. On this page, we only show those work incentives for which the Work Incentives Connection has developed a work incentive plan.

    Social Security Disability Insurances (SSDI)
    Subsidy or special conditions

    SSDI Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE)
    Sample of Doctor's Letter
    Unincurred Business Expenses
    Report of Unincurred Business Expense form

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    Student Earned Income Exclusion
    SSI Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE)
    Blind Work Expense

    Do any of these above work incentives apply to you?

    If you think a work incentive may apply to you, contact your local Social Security office and ask whether you can use the work incentive. If Social Security says you probably can use the work incentive, ask them to send you more information. You might need to get receipts or a letter from your doctor or a form from your employer. Follow the steps of the Work Incentives Plan until you have done each one.

    If you do not live in Minnesota, here is a list of local Work Incentive Planning and Assistance agencies by state. Go to Two Ways to Search, Option 2: Direct Search, and click Start Your Direct Search. Select Benefits Counseling (WIPA) and put in your zip code and click Start New Search. Scroll down the page to find the results. Your Work Incentives Planning and Assistance agency (or WIPA) will be listed with a green circle noting WIPA to the right of the agency name.

  • Employment & Training

    Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS)
    This service helps people with disabilities to achieve employment and independent living goals. It is available through Minnesota WorkForce Centers across the Minnesota. For more information, call toll-free, 1-888-GET-JOBS. Find a Minnesota WorkForce Center near you and get details.

    State Services for the Blind (SSB)
    Fosters the achievement of vocational and personal independence by persons of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. Visit the SSB website.

    Minnesota WorkForce Center System (WFC)
    The Minnesota WorkForce Centers and numerous affiliate sites that make up the WorkForce Center System across Minnesota provide the tools, resources, and services you need for your employment, training, and related workforce development needs. The 50+ Minnesota WorkForce Centers represent a unique partnership of employment and training organizations that reflect the needs of each community. Workers, employers, students, and those looking for a first job or returning to the workforce will find that nearly all services are offered at no cost. Each Minnesota WorkForce Center houses a Resource Area that operates similarly to a public library. For more information, call toll-free, 1-888-GET-JOBS. Find a Minnesota WorkForce Center near you.

    Ticket to Work (TTW)
    The Ticket to Work program is designed to help people with disabilities go to work and become self-sufficient. Most adults on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs will receive a ticket in the mail from the Social Security Administration (SSA). They can use this ticket as a voucher to obtain employment-related services from either state or private vocational providers. Services may include vocational assessment, training, job placement, job coaching and other assistance needed to prepare for, obtain or maintain employment. To find Ticket to Work providers area, visit Choose and go to Two Ways to Search, Option 2: Direct Search, and click Start Your Direct Search. Select Benefits Counseling (WIPA) and put in your zip code and other basic information and click Update Results. Scroll down the page to find the results. Check out the Ticket to Work program fact sheet.

    Small Business Administration
    The Small Business Administration can answer business start up questions and help with writing business plans. Visit the SBA website.