Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that the Social Security Administration (SSA) manages. It is designed to provide income assistance for Texans who are disabled or blind and for individuals over the age of 65. The SSA determines an applicant's eligibility, and the amount that they qualify to receive based in part on the person's income. Nevertheless, what exactly counts as income for purposes of SSI determinations?
The SSA includes four different income categories when it evaluates an applicant for SSI benefits. The first is earned income that essentially includes a person's earnings from wages or self-employment. By contrast, unearned income includes other Social Security and unemployment benefits that the person receives, as well as interest income and any cash that friends and family give to the person.
A third category of income is in-kind income, and that includes food and shelter that the person receives for either free or at a reduced rate. Finally, deemed income is a calculation that the SSA makes based on the income from an applicant's spouse, parents or other person with whom the applicant lives.
Although the SSA groups the applicant's income into one of these four categories, some income does not count at all toward the person's eligibility for benefits. For example, the first $65 of earnings that a person has does not count, and neither does half of their monthly earnings that exceeds the $65 amount. Likewise, income tax refunds do not count toward the applicant's income calculation, and neither do grants nor scholarships for tuition and other expenses related to education.
Assigning categories and values to a person's income is just one component of figuring out whether they can get SSI. Houston area residents who need more information about the program and how to apply may want to contact an experienced Social Security attorney.
Source: SSA.gov, "Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Income -- 2015 Edition," accessed on June 12, 2015