The Social Security Administration (SSA) describes Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as a monthly benefit for the disabled, the blind, or those age 65 years or older who have a limited number of resources and income. SSI benefits usually last for as long as you meet the financial eligibility criteria.
Since these benefits are dependent on what you have, it would be in your best interest to learn how to report earnings to SSI. Not reporting income to the Social Security Administration may result in consequences that will make your life difficult, especially financially.
Financial Limitations for SSI Recipients
When you report SSI wages, you need to include the income you earn from work and other sources, such as Social Security, workers' compensation and free shelter or food. Countable resources include the cash you have at hand, what’s in your bank account, investments like stocks, vehicles, and personal property.
It is worth noting that the SSA doesn’t count all your income or resources when calculating what’s due to you as SSI, but it would be wise to be honest when reporting what you have to avoid accusations of fraud.
Currently, the financial limits are:
- $2,000 of countable resources for individuals and $3,000 of countable resources for couples.
- The maximum earned income one can have and still receive SSI currently stands at $1,767 monthly for individuals and $2,607 for couples.
- The maximum unearned income one can have and still receive SSI currently stands at $861 per month for individuals and $1,281 for couples.
SSI Fraud Punishments
If you fail to report other income for SSI, you may be penalized in various ways. Some of the Social Security penalties you may have to deal with include the following:
- Failure to report a change in earned and unearned income as well as resources may attract a penalty. For each failure to report such changes, you may be required to pay a penalty ranging from $25 to $100.
- For each time you report a change in your financial circumstances more than 10 days late, you will be required to pay a penalty of $25 to $100.
- If you deliberately mislead SSA or knowingly fail to report financial changes, you may have to deal with a sanction against your SSI payments. The first offense carries a six-month sanction period, the second a 12-month sanction period, and the third a 24-month sanction period.
- If you were overpaid, you may be required to pay restitution and return all or some of the payments that you should not have received in the first place.
- According to the United States Census Bureau, if you are found guilty of committing a crime according to Social Security laws, you may be fined up to $250,000.
- Each false statement you are found guilty of making may attract fines up to $5,000.
- You may also be jailed for up to five years if you are found guilty of committing SSI fraud.
How to Report Other Income for SSI Purposes
You need to report a change in other income sources for SSI within 10 days. You can do so:
- Via telephone using the number 1-800-772-1213.
- By visiting your local Social Security office or writing to it.
- Via the My Social Security online platform by reporting your wages.
Honesty is the best policy concerning SSI benefits. You may get away with fraud for a while, but in the end, the SSA will probably catch you. Not reporting your change in income or additional income sources may attract penalties that are much more than the total benefits you receive from Social Security. So, you are better off reporting your change in circumstances and saving yourself the future hassle of dealing with penalties.
- Social Security Administration: Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Overview -- 2022 Edition
- Social Security Administration: Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Eligibility Requirements -- 2022 Edition
- Social Security Administration: Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Resources -- 2022 Edition
- Social Security Administration: A Guide to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Groups and Organizations
- Social Security Administration: Understanding Supplemental Security Income Reporting Responsibilities -- 2022 Edition
- Social Security Administration: Compilation of the Social Security Laws
- Social Security Administration: Spotlight on Reporting Your Earnings to Social Security -- 2022 Edition
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