Supplemental Security Income is a federal program that provides monthly financial benefits to children and adults with disabilities, and low income individuals age 65 and older. As of 2015, the maximum monthly benefit is $733 per month for individuals and $1,100 for couples. To qualify, your income must be less than the maximum benefit amount. However, exclusions and adjustments may reduce your countable income.
All of your income isn't counted towards the income limit. Social Security allows you to exclude up to $20 per month of unearned income as of 2015. You also can exclude $65 per month of your earned income from wages. For any income earned over $65, half of that is excluded each month. Public assistance, such as housing and food monthly benefits, aren't considered countable income.
A child can receive SSI benefits if she is blind or disabled. There are no minimum age requirements to receive SSI. When the child turns 18, Social Security evaluates her impairments to determine if she meets the disability guidelines for adults. Her parents' income is used to determine eligibility, but adjustments are made to the income. First, living expenses are subtracted for parents and any other children living in the home. For any children in the home not receiving SSI, an additional $361 is deducted. A parental living allowance also is excluded from the income. The allowance is $733 for one parent and $1,100 for two parents. The remaining amount after all deductions is deemed to the disabled child.
Working Disabled Students
SSI recipients under age 22 that work and regularly attend school qualify for the Student Earned Income Exclusion. School may include high school, college and vocational or technical training. The working student can exclude $1,780 per month, but no more than $7,180 for the entire year as of 2015. The exclusion for working students may increase annually with the cost of living adjustment.
SSI benefits also are available to low-income individuals age 65 and older without disabilities. You don't need a work history to qualify for benefits. However, you'll need to fall below the resource limits that apply to all SSI applicants. Your countable resources can't exceed $2,000 if you are single and $3,000 if you are married. Your home, vehicle, prepaid funeral expenses and burial plots, life insurance policies with a face value of $1,500 or less, household goods and personal effects are exempt assets.
- Disability Secrets: What Counts as Income for the SSI Disability Limit?
- Social Security Administration: Spotlight on Deeming Parental Income and Resources
- Disability Advisor: How Does Attending School Affect My SSI Disability Status?
- Social Security Administration: Student Earned Income Exclusion for SSI