Supplemental Security Income Financial Requirements


If you’re disabled and in need of financial support, or if your disabled dependent child needs additional care and/or services, Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program may be able to help. Not everyone qualifies for SSI because it is a financial needs-based program for disabled adults and children. If you’re wondering about the Supplemental Security Income financial requirements, it’s important to know that SSI is designed for low income individuals.

SSI is intended to provide supplemental financial support to individuals with a qualifying disability. The SSI program is administered by Social Security but funded by general funds of the U.S. Treasury. In other words, SSI isn’t paid for or supported by Social Security taxes. It isn’t necessary to pay into the Social Security program to qualify for SSI disability benefits.However, SSI’s income and asset tests are applied to determine if an individual adult, couple, or dependent child qualifies for benefits.

SSI Income Threshold

Social Security Administration uses four income classes to calculate SSI benefits, including earned income, unearned income, in-kind income, and deemed income:

  • Earned income includes money earned from a job (wages), such as salary or tip income.
  • Unearned income is Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits, Social Security benefits, or passive income from business interests.
  • In-kind income is earned from a kind of bartering arrangement. For instance, you provide services in exchange for lodging or meals.
  • Deemed income concerns your living arrangement with a person or persons who don’t qualify for SSI. If that person or persons provides shelter or other assistance when you request SSI, Social Security considers the amount of help you receive from this deemed income. For instance, if a relative provides lodging and you don’t pay rent (or you’re behind on rent payments because of disability), SSA determines how much deemed income is represented in the arrangement.

SSI Exemptions

Social Security Administrative exempts the first USD 65 of your earned income per month along with the first USD 20 of unearned income you receive. If you don’t receive unearned income, your first USD 85 earned income is considered exempt for the month. Thereafter, SSA calculates additional earned income at 50 percent. In this way, you may earn a bit more (about twice as much) than the currently allowed federal benefit amount.

Maximum Earned Income Calculation for SSI

In 2016, SSI monthly benefits are USD 733 per individual. In some states if he or she qualifies, the individual may receive additional supplemental income. If both husband and wife qualify to receive SSI, a qualifying couple may earn SSI benefits of USD 1,100 per month.

  • To qualify for SSI, an individual may have no more than USD 2,000 in financial resources. A couple may have up to USD 3,000.
  • If you receive VA benefits or Social Security retirement benefits of greater than current SSI benefits levels, you won’t qualify for SSI. Keep in mind that in-kind and/or deemed income is added to current earned/unearned income per month to determine SSI benefits eligibility.
  • In 2016, the maximum monthly earned income limit is USD 1,341 for an individual or USD 2,212 for a qualifying couple.
  • Dependents less than 18 years of age are considered according to their parents’ income/resources for SSI eligibility determination purposes. In some situations in which the disabled student works or earns a scholarship, these funds may not be counted for SSI purposes.
  • Ask Social Security about your living circumstances and how your earned, unearned, in-kind, and deemed income is used to calculate SSI benefits and allowances.

SSI, Disability, and Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

Social Security uses the standard of Substantial Gainful Activity to calculate an individual’s income. To receive SSI, the individual must be disabled. He or she must demonstrate the inability to work.

If he or she previously performed work that required a certain amount of training or physical labor to complete, SSA wants to know if he or she can perform another kind of work that’s less reliant on physical specific skills. If it’s possible to train an individual to perform a new job that’s less mentally/physically demanding, SSA might not consider him or her disabled.