If you are age 65 or older, blind or disabled, or if you have a low income, you may be eligible for Social Security insurance (SSI). These benefits are designed to help those with little or no income and compensates to provide shelter, food or clothing.

The income you make earlier in life directly affects the amount of benefit you are entitled to receive. The Social Security Administration (SSA) stipulates what qualifies as income.



Income Standards

So what exactly is viewed as income? You have earned income, which is any net wages received from employment, self employment, some royalties, payments from sheltered workshops or payment for professional services. SSA may also consider unearned income, which can be any benefits or pensions, state payments such as disability, Social Security, unemployment, any interest or any cash that you may receive from individuals. Part of the income of a spouse, a parent or parents, or a sponsor with whom you are living is also assessed and could be possibly be a part of the income calculation. There is also in-kind income which is any food or shelter that you are receiving for free or for less than its worth.

All of these incomes are considered when determining the amount of SSI benefits you can receive. The more of this type of income you have, the less you will be eligible for in benefit. Keep in mind that some of your income may not count towards the total.

There are, however, assets that are not considered by the government as income. The home you live in, along with the land, is not considered income. Household or personal items, including a vehicle, are not counted towards income, either. Burial spaces or burial funds are generally not income, although there is a limit on the amount. Life insurance policies, grants or scholarships for education, and retroactive Social Security benefits do not count as income towards your overall total.

As stated earlier, the less you you earn the more benefits you will receive. The Social Security Administration uses its formulas for this determination. The agency determines what income can be subtracted from your total income and this will be your “countable income”. From that figure, SSA subtracts that countable income from the SSI Federal Benefit Rate. This basic formula determines your receivable benefit. In New York, you are also entitled to additional monthly payments.

This information is a basic overview of the determination process for earned income. Additional information and support is available through our associates, all of whom are experts in this type of scenario.