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What are income and resource limits for SSI benefits?

Tennessee residents who fall under a certain level for income and resources and are blind or disabled might be able to obtain Supplemental Security Income. This is part of the Social Security disability program provided by the government. The Social Security Administration oversees it, and there are certain criteria that must be met before an applicant can be approved for SSI. Knowing the rules for income and resources is thus key before applying for SSI.

When determining income for SSI purposes, wages and benefits from Social Security and pensions are assessed. Other items, such as shelter and food, are considered income, too. There is a limit to what a person can receive in income before SSI is affected, so determining what counts as income is critical. For example, the location in which a person lives is considered.

However, not all income a person receives is counted by the SSA for SSI determination purposes. The following is not counted: the first $20 of income received per month; the first $65 earned from working and half of what is earned beyond $65 per month; food stamps; shelter from a private nonprofit organization; and most home energy assistance. A claimant who is married, though, will have part of his or her spouse's income and resources counted, and an individual who is under the age of 18 will have part of his or her parents' income and resources counted. A sponsored noncitizen might have the sponsor's income and resources considered.

When the Social Security Administration looks at resources, meaning the things one owns, they will consider: bonds, stocks, cash, bank accounts, and real estate. It is possible to get SSI if one's resources are lower than $2,000. If it is a couple, they might be able to receive SSI if resources amount to $3,000 or less. Those who have property they are attempting to sell might have the ability to get SSI while this sale is taking place. The SSA will not count the following towards an individual's resources things like the home and land where the person lives; life insurance policies that have a face value of $1,500 or less; a car; burial plots for the individual and immediate family members and more.

Since SSI is based on need, these rules of income and resources are important to remember when thinking about applying for SSI benefits. If there is confusion or belief that the claim was denied when it should not have been, legal advice from an attorney experienced in SSI benefits may shed light on how best to proceed moving forward.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) -- Rules for getting SSI, pages 5-6," accessed on Nov. 21, 2016

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We serve clients throughout the United States. We charge no fees in disability cases unless we recover benefits for you. To schedule your free consultation with a Social Security Disability lawyer, call 800-945-4950 or contact us by email.

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