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Work Expenses of the Blind

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2176. Work Expenses of the Blind

2176.1 Do your work expenses count as income if you are blind?

Your work expenses do not count as income if you:

  1. Are eligible to SSI based on blindness (not disability);

  2. Received SSI benefits on the basis of blindness for the month before you turned 65; and

  3. Receive earned income and the expenses relate to your earning the income.

A deductible expense does not need to be directly related to your blindness. It only needs to be an ordinary and necessary work expense.

2176.2 How much can you deduct?

There is no specific dollar limit on the amount you can deduct. However, the amount must be reasonable and not be more than your earned income in the month. Work expenses are deducted in the month you pay for them.

2176.3 What are some examples of work expenses?

Some frequently encountered work expenses include:

  1. Transportation to and from work;

  2. Meals consumed during work hours;

  3. Job equipment;

  4. Licenses;

  5. Income or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes; and

  6. Costs of job training.

Expenses for life maintenance (such as life insurance or self-care) are not work-related and are not deductible.

Last Revised: March, 2001




Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration