How Much You Can Earn and Not Lose SSI

How Much Can I Earn While Collecting Social Security SSI, and Not Lose My Benefits? Carson Lawyers

Many people use the term “Social Security” to refer to both “Supplemental Security Income” (SSI) and/or “Social Security Disability Benefits” (SSD or SSDI). The Social Security Administration administers both of these programs.

The Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) pays monthly benefits to people with low/limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. The Social Security Disability Program (SSD or SSDI), however, pays benefits to workers who have paid Social Security taxes over a sufficiently long period of time, and the benefits amount is based on the worker’s earnings record.

This article is about SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

To read about Earning & Income Limits for SSDI (Social Security Disability) CLICK HERE.

To collect SSI you must have BOTH low income AND low assets.

Asset limit for Social Security SSI: Carson Lawyers

To qualify for SSI, you must also have limited assets. Social Security requires SSI recipients to have:
Less than $2,000 in assets, for a single person,
Less than $3,000 in assets for a couple.

Earning (Income) Limit for Social Security SSI: Carson Lawyers

In general, the income limit for SSI is the same as the “Federal Benefit Rate” (FBR) – which is:
$733 per month for an individual;
$1,100 per month for a couple.

Keep in mind, though, that not all income is “countable” for SSI purposes – and so in some cases you can earn more than $733 per month and still qualify for SSI. This is because way Social Security counts income is different than the way that most people usually think of income.

Countable income for SSI includes:

Any other kind of money you earn from working;
Unemployment compensation;
Social Security retirement;
Gifts from friends;
Any free food or shelter.

However, to try and encourage SSI recipients to work, Social Security will exclude part of your income from its calculations.

Income That Does NOT Count for collecting SSI:

Social Security does not count all income toward the SSI limit. Non-countable income includes:
• The first $20 of most kinds of income you receive in a month;
• The first $65 in earnings and one-half of all earnings over $65 in a month (Earned Income Exclusion);
• SNAP (food stamps);
• Tax refunds;
• Public benefits based on need;
• Any loans if you must repay them; and,
• Disabled students under 22 – $7,000 of annual income is not countable.

Whose Income Counts for collecting SSI?

If an SSI applicant lives with a spouse who does not receive SSI, part of that spouse’s income will be included in the countable income (but you use the couple’s federal benefit rate of $1,100 as your income limit). Similarly, if a disabled child applies for SSI some of the parents’ income will be counted as the child’s own (after subtracting an allowance for the other children and parents in the family).

Deductions from Income when collecting SSI

Additionally, Social Security allows you to deduct any impairment-related work expenses.

State Supplements and Social Security SSI

Another factor that affects how much income you can have and still qualify for SSI is the state you live in. The SSI income limit increases with the amount of your state supplement, so if you have a higher monthly SSI amount because of a state supplement, you can also more countable income and still qualify for SSI. Our experience lawyers can explain this to you.

Trial Work Period for Social Security SSI

A disability beneficiary is also entitled to nine trial months in a 5 year period (which begins with the 1st month they have monthly earnings over the limit). This, also, is aimed at encouraging individuals to try and re-enter the workforce without fear of losing their benefits.

As you can see calculating the amount of income you can earn and still collect Supplemental Security Income Program benefits is complicated. If you have any questions regarding your own individual income limits you can call your local Social Security Office – or contact our experienced Social Security lawyers for a free and confidential consultation of your unique case.

Call our Social Security Lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION: 562-622-4800.

Social Security lawyers for Los Angeles, Orange County & Southern California, including: Anaheim, Carson, Bellflower, Compton, Downey, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, La Habra, La Mirada, Lakewood, Lomita, Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Ana, Torrance, Wilmington, Whittier and Yorba Linda.