How Wages and Income Are Used to Calculate Supplemental Security Income Benefits

SSDI formMany people worry that when they return to work, they'll lose Social Security Supplemental benefits they have come to rely on. The good news is that you can work while collecting Social Security benefits, as long as your countable income stays below the Social Security Administration's (SSA) allowable income limit.

 

In fact, you can receive many different kinds of income and retain benefits, because not all of your income will be used in calculating your eligibility for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

Types of Income That Are Not Counted Under Supplemental Security Income

The SSA relies on your countable income rather that your total income to assess your need for benefits. The SSA will first total all of your income, including earnings, royalties, other benefit payments, interest, cash gifts from friends and relatives, and shared income from your household. Next, the SSA subtracts any income that's not countable under its income guidelines. Finally, the remaining amount, or countable income, is subtracted from the SSI federal benefit rate. The result is your monthly SSI federal benefit.

Some examples of payments that are not counted as income for the SSI program include:

  • The first $20 of your income each month
  • The value of your monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps)
  • Any income tax refunds you have received
  • Payments for home energy assistance
  • Need-based benefits from a state or local government]
  • Small and infrequent amounts of income
  • Interest on countable resources
  • Grants, scholarships, or other funds used for tuition or education
  • Need-based food or shelter provided by a nonprofit agency
  • Funds from loans that must be repaid
  • Student earnings up to $1,790 per month (as of January 2017) for students under age 22
  • Costs of disability–related work expenses for disabled or blind employees
  • Funds received for disaster assistance
  • Trust fund payments paid to members of a federally recognized American Indian tribe

There are many different forms of income that may not apply toward your countable income, as well as deductions that could raise the amount of your monthly benefits. Call us today or fill out the form on this page to see how much you could receive in Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income payments.

 

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