SSI is a social welfare program and based on income and assets. When a person is found to meet the disability criteria for SSI, the Social Security Administration will then determine the amount of benefits to be paid.
In making this determination, Social Security will look at the household of the claimant. If a claimant is married and the spouse does not receive SSI benefits, Social Security will consider the income of the spouse.
There are two types of income Social Security will consider, earned and unearned. Earned income is income from employment. Unearned income is income other than from employment, such as a pension, retirement benefits, disability insurance benefits, etc.
If a spouse is receiving unearned income, Social Security will look at the maximum benefit rate for a couple. In 2022, it is $1261. The maximum SSI benefit for an individual in 2022 was $841. If the spouse receives greater than $420 in unearned income, for every dollar over $420, the benefit will be reduced by a dollar. If the spouse receives more than $1261, no benefits will be paid to the claimant.
If the spouse has earned income, The formula is as follows: The first $841 earned is disregarded, because that is the maximum benefit rate for an individual. Social Security will then disregard the next $85. With respect to any earnings over $926 per month, for every dollar the spouse earns, benefits are reduced by $.50. If the spouse has earned income of $2608 per month, the claimant will not qualify for SSI benefits.
If the claimant and his or her spouse has a minor child that is not eligible for SSI, an additional $420 is added to the amount of household income, before benefits are reduced. For each additional child, an additional $420 is added.
If the claimant is a child, income is imputed from the parent to the child. If there is only one parent in the household, the first $881 of unearned income is disregarded. For every dollar of income the parent has over $881, the child’s benefits are reduced by a dollar.
If there are two parents in the household, The first $1261 of unearned income is disregarded. For every dollar of income the parents have over $1261, the child’s benefits are reduced by a dollar.
If the parent has earned income, the first $1807 is not counted. For every dollar earned over $1807 , benefits are reduced by $.50. If a parent has earnings over $3469 per month, the child would no longer be eligible for SSI benefits.
If there are two parents in the household, both with earned income, the first $2647 of earned income is disregarded, and for every dollar earned over $2647, benefits are reduced by $.50. If both parents have earned income over $4327 per month, the child would no longer be eligible for SSI benefits.
For each non-eligible child in the household, an additional $420 is added to the above figures.
If a parent or parents have both earned income and unearned income, The formula for earned income is applied first and then the formula for under an income applied second.
The method of calculating the amount a claimant is eligible to receive in SSI benefits can be complicated. At the end of this paragraph is a deeming chart from 2019. This chart is not updated every year, but it will give you a pretty close idea of the amount of earned and unearned income which would trigger a reduction in SSI benefits and the income that would cause SSI benefits to cease. Deeming Chart