Bridges Resource Library

IRWE (Impairment Related Work Expense) Exclusions for SSDI

Updated as of February 19, 2024.

Note: The worker must have paid the expense in order for it to be considered an IRWE exclusion.


  • Attendant care services, including:
    • home (with certain limitations)
    • process of assisting an individual in making the trip to and from work; or
    • work setting.
  • Drugs and medical services which are essential to enable the individual to work (e.g., medication to control epileptic seizures)
  • Drugs and medical services which are essential to enable the individual to work (e.g., medication to control epileptic seizures)
    • Regularly prescribed medical treatment or therapy that is necessary to control your disabling condition, even if control is not achieved. This includes co-payments and insurance deductibles, but is not limited to:
      • Anti-convulsant drugs
      • Anti-depressant medication
      • Psychotropic medication
      • Blood level monitoring
      • Radiation treatment
      • Chemotherapy
      • Corrective surgery for spinal disorders
      • Counseling, mental health and therapy services
      • Your physician’s fee relating to these services
    • However, per the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp products (e.g., CBD oil) containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are federally legal. Therefore, as of December 20, 2018, such products are deductible as an IRWE.
  • Expendable medical supplies. Examples:
    • Bandages
    • Face masks
    • Incontinence pads
    • Elastic stockings
    • Catheters
  • Service animal expenses
    • Expenses paid in owning a guide dog or other service animal that enables you to overcome functional limitations to work.
    • Deductible expenses include costs of purchasing the animal, training, food, licenses, and veterinary items and services.
    • Other costs directly related to the care of the animal, such as transportation for training and veterinary services.
  • Medical devices
  • Diagnostic procedures
    • Procedures related to the control, treatment, or evaluation of your disabling condition, for example, brain scans, and electroencephalograms
  • Non-medical equipment/services
    • In unusual circumstances, devices or appliances that are essential for the control of your disabling condition either at home or at work, for example, an electric air cleaner if you have severe respiratory disease Your physician must verify this need
  • Other work-related equipment/services, such as braille materials, accessible technology
  • Physical therapy
  • Prosthesis
  • Structural modifications to the individual’s home to create a work space or to allow the individual to get to and from work
    • If you are employed outside of home, modifications to the exterior of your house that permit access to the street or to transportation Examples include:
      • Exterior ramps
      • Railings
      • Pathways
    • If you are self-employed at home, modifications made inside your home to create a workspace to accommodate your impairment This includes enlarging a doorway into an office or workroom and/or modifying office space to accommodate your dexterity challenges.
  • Training to use an impairment-related item or an item that is reasonably attributable to work, such as instruction in braille, cane use, use of technology, etc.  
  • Transportation costs
    • The cost of structural or operational modifications to your vehicle that you need to travel to work, even if you also use the vehicle for non-work purposes.
    • The cost of driver assistance, taxicabs, paratransit, special bus, or other types of transportation you need because of your disability rather than the lack of public transportation.
    • Mileage expenses at a rate determined by us for an approved vehicle and limited to travel to and from work. In 2024, the IRS mileage reimbursement for business purposes is $0.67 per mile.
  • Vehicle modification

Download available

IRWE Calculation Spreadsheet (two worksheets: SSDI Calculation & IRWE Calculation)

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This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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