What Counts as Income for the SSI Disability Limit?

Published on November 20th, 2019

If you have been approved for the SSI program but can still do certain types of work that provide income, be aware the SSA has income limits to how much you can make before your benefits may be reduced or stopped. The Social Security Administration considers income as any of the following:

ssi disability limit

• Self-employment net earnings

• Taxed wages

• Unearned income (pensions, unemployment, SSA benefits, dividends and interest income)

• “In Kind” income (free shelter or food)

• “Deemed” income (income of people who live with you)

If you neglect to inform the SSA about your income while you receive disability benefits, you could be held responsible for repaying the SSA the amount they claim you owe them.

How Does Earned Income Affect Disability Benefit Amounts?

The SSA will subtract income that is not considered total gross income. The resulting amount is called “countable income”. Next, the SSA subtracts countable income from the amount of your monthly benefit. The SSA also disregards the first $65 of your earned income and/or the first $20 of your income.

For example, if your monthly income consists of $1000 from working a job and an SSI benefit, the SSA would subtract $85 from your income, leaving $915. That amount is then divided by two. The result is how much the SSA would reduce your disability payment–$457.

If you were earning $1500 in SSI benefits and began earning wages of $1000 every month, your adjusted SSI benefit would then be $1003 per month.

What Income is not Considered Income by the SSA?

Recipients who work and receive SSI benefits do not have to report the following:

• Food stamps

• State or federal tax refunds

• Infrequent or irregular income

• Scholarships, grants or other gifts meant for educational expenses

• Loans requiring repayment

Disabled students under 22 years old have a different SSI disability limit that allows them to retain more of their benefits if they work and earn wages.

For help with maximizing your monthly disability benefit amount while earning income, contact a New Jersey disability attorney at the Law Office of Maryjean Ellis today.


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