Income is a key factor in determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a monthly benefit for people with disabilities, the blind, or people 65 and older who are in financial difficulty. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which runs the program, strictly regulates the type and amount of income that someone can receive and still be eligible for SSI.
There are also income limits that affect eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the other disability benefit administered by the SSA. But for SSDI, only income from work counts.
For SSI, social security defines income much broader than “any item a person receives in cash or in kind that can be used to meet their needs for food or shelter”. This includes income from work, but also money or services that you may receive from other sources, e.g. B. from government programs or family members.
In 2021, the federal maximum SSI benefit is $ 794 per month for an individual and $ 1,191 per month for a married couple if both spouses are eligible. (The federal amounts are adjusted for inflation annually; most states add additional payments for some beneficiaries.) What the SSA calls “countable income” is deducted from those payments, and if your countable income exceeds the benefit ceiling, you will not be eligible for an SSI Receive.
However, some earnings are ineligible and will not affect SSI eligibility or payments. This includes the first $ 20 a month you get from most sources and a larger chunk of what you make on the job, along with other exceptions listed below.
There are four categories of qualifying income: earned income, inactivated income, income in kind, and current income.
Wages from employment and net income from self-employment are primarily referred to as earned income. This can also include royalties paid to the owner of copyrighted material or natural resources, as well as fees such as a scholarship or gift for providing a service (e.g., a speech).
However, a considerable part of the earned income is not taken into account. Social Security exempts the first $ 65 you earn from work each month and half of any excess income. As a result, you can earn up to $ 1,673 per month in 2021 and potentially still qualify for SSI.
These include government benefits such as social security contributions, unemployment insurance, and veteran benefits, as well as pensions, interest income, dividends, employee benefits, and cash from family and friends. It can also include child support or child support.
Income from these sources – except for the first $ 20 per month in most cases – will be deducted from your SSI benefit. If you only have income from such non-working sources, you can get up to $ 814 per month and still qualify for SSI.
Tax refunds do not count as unearned income, and there are exceptions for some forms of government and private financial assistance, including: