The Supplemental Security Income program is a welfare program that helps people that need financial relief. Times are hard and we all could use a little help. If your current situation is not improving and you need some help, then the SSI program will do it for you. You should think about applying for SSI benefits. But, like every other welfare program, you have to make sure that you qualify for the program. Also, do not confuse the SSI program with SSDI and Social Security benefits. Each program works differently, but they all help.
This article will tell you everything there is to know about Supplemental Security Income assistance and how it can help you. You will also understand how the Program calculates your SSI benefits and the factors that determine your SSI benefit amount.
What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Assistance?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program in the United States that offers additional income for seniors and people with disabilities that cannot support themselves. With this program, participants will receive cash distributions every month, which will assist them in meeting their basic needs. The Supplemental Security Income Program is not the same as Social Security retirement benefits; those are two different programs. Think of the SSI as a safety net for Americans who need help with their financial situation, due to their age or disability. You will receive the benefits on the first day of every month. Also, make sure that you are registered as a resident of one of the 50 states.
Types Of Income For SSI Purposes
Income is essential regarding your SSI benefits. Typically, income is any fund that you receive that you use to meet your basic needs. For the purpose of the SSI benefits, you will include the receipt of any items that you purchased to meet the basic needs of food and shelter. There are four types of income that you can include in your SSI benefits. The first type of income is earned income, which includes the following: wages, net earnings from self–employment, certain royalties, honoraria, and sheltered workshop payments. Another type of income is unearned income, which is income you receive and do not earn. This includes: Social Security benefits, pensions, state disability payments, unemployment benefits, interest income, dividends, and cash from friends and relatives.
The third type of income is in-kind income is the basic needs you receive for free or receive for less than its market value. Finally, the deemed income is the income of your spouse or family that you currently live with. The income of your sponsor can also be included to determine the SSI benefit amount.
The Importance of Income in SSI Assistance
The more countable income you have, the less SSI benefits you receive. If your countable limit surpasses that limit, then you will automatically be disqualified from receiving SSI benefits. There are sources of payments or services that do not count as sources of income for the SSI program, according to Social Security Assistance. This includes:
- “the first $20 of most income received in a month;
- the first $65 of earnings and one–half of earnings over $65 received in a month;
- the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) received;
- income tax refunds;
- home energy assistance;
- assistance based on need funded by a state or local government, or an Indian tribe;
- small amounts of income received irregularly or infrequently;
- interest or dividends earned on countable resources or resources excluded under other federal laws;
- grants, scholarships, fellowships or gifts used for tuition and educational expenses;
- food or shelter based on need provided by nonprofit agencies;
- loans to you (cash or in–kind) that you have to repay;
- money someone else spends to pay your expenses for items other than food or shelter (for example, someone pays your telephone or medical bills);
- Income set aside under a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS).
Also, you will find that the program does not include the following, as well:
- Earnings up to $1,930 per month to a maximum of $7,770 per year (effective January 2021) for a student under age 22
- The cost of impairment–related work expenses for items or services that a disabled person needs in order to work. See the SSI Spotlight on Impairment–Related Work Expenses;
- The cost of work expenses that a blind person incurs in order to work.
- disaster assistance;
- The first $2,000 of compensation received per calendar year for participating in certain clinical trials;
- Refundable Federal and advanced tax credits received on or after January 1, 2010; and
- certain exclusions on Indian trust fund payments paid to American Indians who are members of a federally recognized tribe”
Can My Income Affect My SSI Assistance Benefits?
Your income can influence your SSI Assistance benefits. The Program subtracts any income that they do not count from your total gross income. With the remaining amount, you can think of it as your countable income. The next step is subtracting your countable income from the SSI Federal benefit rate. To find out your monthly SSI Federal benefit, you will subtract the SSI Federal benefit rate and your countable income; that is your SSI Federal benefit.
But, you should beware of windfall offset. Windfall offset takes place when the program reduces your Social Security benefits, if you are eligible for both Social Security and SSI benefits in the same month. With a windfall offset, the program reduces Social Security benefits by the amount of SSI you would not receive, if you received Social Security benefits when they were due.
What is Deemed Income and How Does It Apply to SSI Benefits?
As mentioned above, deemed income is the income your spouse or parents earn. You need to be currently living with them for their income to count as deemed income. If you qualify for SSI benefits and you live with someone who does not qualify, then some of that person’s income will determine how much you will receive. The same applies to your parents, as well. If a person under the age of 18 who is blind or disabled and lives with their parents, then the program will factor in the parent’s income. This only applies if the parents do not receive SSI benefits.
There are sources of deemed income that do not affect your SSI benefits. In the case that you do not live with a spouse or parent, the deemed income does not apply. Additionally, when a disabled or blind child reaches the age of 18, then the parents’ income does not apply. Finally, if your sponsorship ends, then your sponsor’s income does not count.
In conclusion, you should consider applying for Supplemental Security Income Assistance. The eligibility requirements for SSI Assistance rely on five factors. You must be an American or a resident in one of the 50 states. For your age, you need to be 65 years old or older There is an exception, if you have a disability, which supersedes the age requirement. You need to apply for benefits through Social Security or any other welfare program that you qualify for. Finally, you can qualify for SSI Assistance, if your countable income does not exceed the allowable amount.