How Will Having Children Affect My SSI Benefits?

How Will Having Children Affect My SSI Benefits?
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The Social Security Administration states that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a cash benefit that can be given to eligible U.S. citizens and nationals with low income and limited resources who are ​65 years​ or older, disabled or blind. If you meet these criteria, you will receive your fair share of SSI. In addition, if your child is also eligible for SSI, they will get their fair share. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that sometimes, having children may affect your SSI benefits.

Eligibility Criteria for Disabled or Blind Children

Before you try to determine your children’s SSI income limits, it would be best to first find out if your child is eligible. Usually, the SSA considers children as disabled if:

  • They have a medically proven physical or mental impairment that will lead to death.
  • Their medically proven issue has lasted or will last for at least 12 continuous months.
  • Their impairment severely reduces their ability to function.

Your child is considered blind for SSI purposes if:

  • They have a central visual acuity for a distance of 20/200 or less in their better eye, even with a correcting lens.
  • They have a visual field vision in their better eye in such a way that the widest diameter of their visual field subtends at an angle of 20 degrees or less.

If your child meets this criteria, they will receive access to SSI benefits. However, the amount may be subject to additional financial limitations.

Disability and Blindness Criteria for Adults

The blindness criteria for adults and children are similar. Also, some aspects of disabilities of children and adults are similar. For example, a medically proven impairment must last for a continuous ​12 months​ or more or lead to death.

However, whereas children’s impairments are judged on how they limit their ability to function, adult disability is determined by the extent to which it limits the ability to engage in substantial gainful activity that can earn you $1,350​ per month or more.

Will Getting Married Affect a Child's SSI?

You may be wondering, “Will getting married affect my child's SSI?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Your child’s SSI limits will depend on their own income situation instead of yours, but it is directly influenced partly by the parents’ income, including stepparents. Also, your marital status will determine how much you receive in SSI benefits since it affects your upper resource and income limits before they are reduced.

SSI Income Limits for Couples and Individuals

If you remain unmarried, you could earn as much as $1,767​ a month and still qualify for SSI benefits. However, if you are considered one half of a couple, your household can earn up to ​$2,607​ and still qualify for SSI benefits.

Also, if you are a single parent, you could still qualify for SSI as long as your unearned income is less than ​$861​ per month. But as half of couple, your limit will be ​$1,281​, and if your other half is ineligible for SSI, some of their income may also count against you.

In addition, since child support is considered unearned income, having children will affect your SSI benefits if you receive it. The more kids you have, the higher the child support may be. That in turn reduces your SSI benefits.

SSI Countable Resources for Couples and Individuals

For SSI purposes, the SSA considers some of your possessions as countable resources. These include land, vehicles, residential property, bank accounts and cash. However, not all of them are factored in during the calculations. For those resources that are counted for SSI purposes, the countable resource limit is $2,000​ for individuals and ​$3,000​ for couples.

How Much Does a Child Get on SSI?

If your child is eligible for SSI, the Social Security benefits for a minor child will depend on whether they are blind, disabled or working. Also, it will depend partly on the overall household income.

According to the SSA’s 2022 guidelines, a disabled child who is not blind should not earn more than ​$1,350​ per month. On the other hand, a blind child must not earn more than ​$2,260​ each month. Otherwise, they will be disqualified from SSI. It is also worth noting that child support counts towards your child’s SSI benefits calculations, but SSI calculations only consider ​two-thirds​ of the child support for an SSI-eligible child.

Also, some of your earned and unearned income as well as countable resources are factored in your child’s SSI benefits calculations. This is known as deeming and may make a minor child ineligible for SSI but allow the same child to receive SSI benefits after 18 years. However, if you have other SSI-ineligible kids, there will be an allocation made to them that is excluded from your countable income when it’s deemed toward your eligible child.

So, in the end, how much children eligible for SSI actually get is hard to say. You may need to use an SSI income calculator for a child for 2022 to be sure.

The Bottom Line

Having children will affect your SSI benefits if you receive child support for them since it will count toward your countable income limit. In addition, if you get married, your collective household income will influence what the eligible recipient gets in the way of SSI.

Also, if your child is eligible for SSI benefits, having other kids will affect their benefits. That’s because parental allocation for other kids, including stepchildren, must be excluded during calculations. Generally, any monies factored into SSI calculations will reduce the benefits due to your household.