There are two main issues to consider when it comes to your eligibility for Supplemental Security Income, the severity of your medical condition/disability and your monthly income and assets. However, if you have good reason to believe your disability qualifies, but you are concerned about your income and assets, there are some things you should know about how income is counted.
Schmidt Kramer’s experienced attorneys are available to answer your questions about Social Security Disability benefits. The initial consultation is free, and we are not paid up front for representing you unless you receive benefits. We have received numerous testimonials from satisfied Social Security Disability clients.
Income Rules for Supplemental Security Income Applicants
Unlike the Social Security Disability Insurance program, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is not for those who have been working for a significant amount of time and now have a medical condition that keeps them from working.
The SSI program is for those with limited income and assets and limited work history. For 2020, applicants are ineligible if they are earning more than $783 per month. Couples who apply cannot be earning more than $1,175. These limits are the same as the federal benefit rate.
However, there are numerous rules about what income can be counted against these limits. For example, if you work, your first $65 in monthly earnings will not be counted against the limit. One half of your earnings over $65 will also not be counted against the limit. That means you may be able to earn as much as $1,650 per month and qualify for SSI benefits in 2020. Couples could earn up to $2,400 and still qualify.
As the many eligibility requirements for SSI can be confusing to wade through, it is important to meet with an experienced lawyer. The Harrisburg Social Security Disability lawyers at our firm offer a free legal consultation.
Unearned Income Exclusions
You may also have unearned income and there are various exclusions as to what counts against the income limit:
- Income tax refunds
- Food stamps
- Income set aside under a Plan to Achieve Self-Support
- Money others spend to pay your expenses
- Home energy assistance
- Loans you must repay
- Disaster assistance
- Up to $1,900 per month in earnings if you are a student under the age of 22
- Refundable federal tax credits received on or after Jan. 1, 2010
If you live with a spouse or are under 18 and live with your parents, some of your spouse’s or parent’s income may be counted against the income limit. The income your spouse or parent has is considered deemed income.
How Your Assets Could Affect Your Eligibility for Benefits
Your assets/resources also affect your eligibility for benefits. You cannot have more than $2,000 in assets as an individual applicant or more than $3,000 in assets if you are applying as a couple. However, as with the rules about income that is counted against the limit, there are various exclusions for your assets.
For example, the following assets are not counted against the limit:
- Your home
- The land where your home is located
- Burial space for yourself
- Life insurance policies with a combined value of $1,500 or less
- One vehicle, no matter how much it is worth
Calculating Your SSI Benefit
If you are approved for benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will subtract your uncountable income from your total gross income. Then the SSA subtracts your countable income from the SSI federal benefit rate. The number they get is the amount of money you will receive each month in SSI benefits. In other words, countable income reduces the amount of your SSI benefits.
Call Today to See How Schmidt Kramer Can Help You
We understand applying for federal disability benefits can be overwhelming for many people. Applicants often have many questions about the process, including the evidence they will need and whether they are even eligible for benefits.
That is why you could benefit from meeting with one of our licensed attorneys for a free legal consultation. We can help determine if you may be eligible and discuss how we may be able to help you throughout the process.
We are ready to take your call 24/7, and there is no obligation to retain our firm, so there is no risk to you.
Schmidt Kramer. Licensed. Local. Lawyers. (717) 888-8888