Health Care Options

When you get a job, you may get good health care coverage. The type of health care coverage you get will depend on your financial situation and employment status. Here we’ll explain some of your options once you get a job.

Coverage Through Work

Many, but not all, jobs offer health care benefits. If you get health coverage through your job, usually your employer pays most of the expenses. This means that your employer pays hundreds of dollars each month so that you have access to health care. Depending on your job, you may also have to pay a monthly amount in addition to what your employer spends. Details about health coverage through work are explained in the Benefits for Young People: Private Health Care Coverage section.

Medi-Cal Through SSI 1619(b) and Medi-Cal's Working Disabled Program

If you get Medi-Cal coverage and then get a job, you have a couple of options for keeping your Medi-Cal benefits. If you got Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cash benefits before you got your job, Social Security’s 1619(b) program lets you earn up to $37,706 annually and still keep Medi-Cal coverage at no cost. That's a good deal!

If you don’t qualify for 1619(b), you may qualify for Medi-Cal's Working Disabled Program, which lets you keep your Medi-Cal coverage by paying a small monthly premium. You can read more about these options in the DB101 article about Benefits for Young People.

Remember that if you have Medi-Cal and get a job, it is very important that you report your income to your county social services agency. How to report your income is discussed here.

Medi-Cal and Individual Plans on Covered California

If your family’s income is at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) ($17,236 for an individual; $35,535 for a family of four), you may be able to get Medi-Cal coverage.

If you can't get employer-sponsored coverage or Medi-Cal, you can get individual coverage. If your income is at or below 400% of FPG ($49,960 for an individual; $103,000 for a family of four), the government will help you pay your monthly premium through a tax credit, as long as you get your plan on Covered California.

See DB101's Health Programs section to learn more about these programs. You can apply for them at Covered California.

Health Coverage Income Limits for Your Family

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and then get a job, your monthly cash benefits amount will go down after you start working. Depending on how much you make, you may still get some cash benefits, because only part of the money you earn will be counted when SSI adjusts your monthly benefits. The SSI program does not count the first $65 you earn each month, and they only count about 50% of the rest. This means that a little less than 50% of your earnings will be counted when Social Security figures out your SSI benefits amount. So, if you don't earn too much, you will get paid by your job and still keep getting paid by SSI.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to use work incentives to keep getting some or all of your benefits. These include Plans to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE), and other incentives. You can read more about incentives and other benefits in the DB101 article about Benefits for Young People.

For detailed information about how work impacts SSI benefits, read DB101’s article about SSI. DB101’s School and Work Calculator can also help you figure out how your benefits might change after you get a job.

Reporting Your Income

When you get benefits and get a job, you must tell any government agency that gives you assistance that you are now working. This assistance might be cash benefits, health care, or CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps). The agency giving you assistance might be Social Security, your county social services agency, or your local housing authority.

You will need to notify each agency of three things:

  • The date when you started working
  • How many hours you work each week
  • How much you earn each month

Be sure to keep all pay stubs or direct deposit receipts. If you have questions, talk to a Benefits Planner.

Overpayments

If you get SSI and don’t tell Social Security that you are working, you are breaking the rules and may get too much in cash benefits. This is called an overpayment. You can also get an overpayment if you do not report how much you have in resources, such as your savings and checking accounts.

If an overpayment occurs, Social Security will ask you to pay back the amount they overpaid you.

Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs) and Blind Work Expenses (BWEs)

Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs) and Blind Work Expenses (BWEs) are expenses that you pay for yourself, which are related to your disability, and that you need so you can work. You can ask the Social Security Administration to deduct these expenses when calculating your income, so that your countable income is lower. Lower countable income can let you keep more of your SSI benefits while you are working. Learn more about IRWEs and BWEs.