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How is my income factored in with SSI benefits?

For New Jersey residents who are seeking Supplemental Security Income through Social Security disability, the word income has several meanings. The person who is receiving SSI might be getting income from other sources. There are rules as to what counts when calculating the SSI benefits and what is considered income. This is key when seeking and receiving SSI benefits.

There are four different kinds of income: earned income, unearned income, in-kind income, and deemed income. Earned income is wages from work, net earnings for those who are self-employed, certain royalties, honoraria (stipends and the like), and sheltered workshop payments. Unearned income is income that the person receives but did not work for, such as Social Security, a pension, interest, cash from others and similar payments. In-kind income is food or shelter that the person gets without paying or paying less than its market value. Deemed income is part of the income of the spouse or parents with whom the person lives, or a sponsor if the person is an alien.

Some income is not counted for SSI. This includes: the first $20 received in income per month; the first $65 that is earned and half the earnings that go beyond $65 in a month; value of food stamps (SNAP); refunds for income taxes; home energy assistance; small income that is received infrequently or irregularly; food and shelter from nonprofits; grants or scholarships for tuition; loans that must be repaid; money that others spend to pay the person's expenses for goods apart from food and shelter like a telephone bill; student earnings; impairment-related work expenses; the cost of work expenses for a blind person who works; and other payments.

The SSA has formulas to determine how income will affect the SSI payments, depending on the circumstances. Because these factors are so important, it is similarly important that those seeking SSI benefits understand how income is weighed. Discussing the case with a legal professional experienced in all aspects of Supplemental Security Income can be crucial to a case and receiving the maximum in SSI.

Source: ssa.gov, "Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Income -- 2017 Edition," accessed on Nov. 14, 2017

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