In order to be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you have to be disabled under Social Security’s definition, and you have to meet the income and asset limits.
SSI is a needs-based program that is only available to people with limited resources. Resources include money in your bank account, stocks and bonds, real estate and other things that have a cash value.
To be eligible for SSI, your “countable” resources must be less than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple. Countable resources means resources that count toward that limit. Many things you may own do not count, including these items:
There are also income limits for SSI, which are based on the federal benefit rate. The federal benefit rate is the monthly income limit for SSI and is also the maximum monthly SSI payment. For 2021, this amount is $794 for an individual and $1,191 for a couple. In order to be eligible for SSI, you cannot have monthly income over the federal benefit rate. However, only some of your income counts toward the limit. For instance, if you are earning some money from working, less than half of your monthly income will count toward the limit, so it is possible to make more than the federal benefit rate per month, but still be eligible for SSI payments. The SSI payment you will receive will be the amount left when your countable income is subtracted from the SSI federal benefit rate. Most states also provide a State Supplement in addition to the federal benefit rate. The amount varies by state.
Further, if you are married and your spouse has an income, part of your spouse’s income is taken into account when calculating your SSI payment. As a result, your SSI payment may be reduced, or you may not be eligible for SSI payments.
The above is a general description of the income and asset limits, and more detailed rules may apply in your case. Your individual financial eligibility for SSI will be determined by a Social Security claims representative, who may ask you for documentation of your income and resources. For instance, if you had certain assets at one time, you may have to show proof that you no longer own those assets.
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