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Understanding how income is subtracted from SSI benefits

| Aug 1, 2019 | Supplemental Security Income

Since New Jersey residents must meet certain requirements to be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, it is obviously imperative to know what those requirements are. The requirements include being blind or disabled, being 65 or older and being limited in income and resources. If the person’s income or resources go beyond a certain level, then they cannot get SSI benefits. As people prepare to file their application, income is frequently forgotten even though it is one of the most important factors.

Income is defined as items that a person receives either as cash or in-kind and it can be used for food or shelter. If an item can be used or converted into something to get food or shelter, the Social Security Administration will consider it as income in the SSI application process. When the SSA assesses a person’s income, the following will be considered: earned income, unearned income, in-kind income and deemed income. These have been discussed in previous posts here. What should be of concern is the income and its impact on the SSI benefits when the income is subtracted.

When there is an SSI benefit, the SSA will subtract income that is not counted as part of the applicant’s gross income. What remains is the countable income and this will be used to determine the amount of SSI. The countable income will be subtracted from the SSI Federal benefit rate. For 2019, the federal benefit rate annually for an individual is $9,259.67. For a couple, it is $13,887.67. For an essential person, it is $4,640.45. The SSI benefit rate then subtracts the person’s countable income and that equals their SSI federal benefit.

For those seeking SSI benefits, the income requirements and how much is counted and not counted is critical. Not everyone who is getting SSI is incapable of working. Understanding how certain amounts of work and income affect the benefits is a fundamental part of an application and in retaining Supplemental Security Income.