What are the income rules for SSI?

As this blog has touched on in the past, in addition to being disabled, a person who wants to qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, has to show that he or she makes a limited income and does not have property which he or she can use for support while struggling with a disability.

These rules are in place because the SSI program, unlike SSDI, is needs-based, meaning that a person who is entitled to it need not prove he or she has actually paid in to the Social Security system in order to collect this benefit. On the other hand, the Social Security Administration is going to want to be sure that SSI payments are only going to disabled, and certain other qualified people, who are truly in financial need.

The income requirements for SSI are very broad and can even include things like a person's parents helping him or her out with food or housing as income. However, the rules do not require a person to count payments of money that come in only irregularly, and they also set up some other exemptions and exceptions to what counts as income.

What is left over after all exceptions are applied is a person's countable income, and this number is subtracted from the government's monthly benefit amount, which is currently $735. The end result is the amount of SSI a Stockton, California, resident can expect each month. In other words, a person who has over $735 in "countable" monthly income is not eligible for SSI, and a person who has income approaching that amount may not find it worthwhile to pursue benefits under that program.

Because it is needs-based, Californians who are trying to qualify for SSI face an extra hurdle they must get over before being able to draw benefits. Oftentimes, the assistance of a qualified Social Security attorney is helpful in getting around these hurdles.

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