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Table of Contents
- SSI: 2023 benefit amounts
- SSI eligibility rules
- How does income affect SSI checks?
- What are 'limited resources,' and how do they affect SSI checks?
- How does your living situation affect your SSI check?
- When will I get my SSI check?
- Can you receive SSI and Social Security retirement or disability benefits?
The 2023 monthly maximum SSI benefit is $914 for individuals and $1,372 for couples; in 2024, it’s $943 for individuals and $1,415 for couples. Certain factors, including the state in which you live, whether you live with others and whether you have additional income, could lower those amounts.
SSI: 2023 benefit amounts
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers Supplemental Security Income. It establishes benefit amounts for each calendar year and bases increases on the same cost-of-living adjustment formula used in Social Security retirement benefits. The benefit amounts in 2023 are 8.7% higher than the amounts in 2022.
SSI eligibility rules
People who answer yes to both of these questions are typically eligible for SSI:
Are you 65 or older, blind or disabled?
Do you have limited income and resources?
Children under 18 who have a disability may be eligible for SSI, even if they have working parents.
In addition, you:
Must be a U.S. citizen or national. In some cases, noncitizens with specific alien classifications and without an active warrant for deportation or removal can qualify.
Must be a resident of a U.S. state, the District of Columbia or the Northern Mariana Islands. You can't be away from those areas for a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days.
Can’t be living at the government’s expense at a hospital, prison or other institution.
Must apply for any benefit for which you’re eligible. For example, if you’re eligible to collect Social Security retirement benefits, you can’t delay that application and collect SSI instead in order to collect a larger retirement benefit later.
Must file an application and allow the SSA to request financial records about you.
How does income affect SSI checks?
To qualify for SSI, your monthly countable income can’t be larger than the monthly SSI benefit amount.
Countable income less than the SSI monthly amount is subtracted from your SSI benefit. For example, if your countable income is $600 per month, your SSI benefit would be $314 ($914 - $600).
There are four kinds of countable income:
Earned income (Example: income from a job or self-employment).
Unearned income (Example: Social Security retirement benefits, disability payments, pensions, interest, dividends and gifts).
In-kind income (Example: if you get free or discounted food or housing as income).
Deemed income (Example: if you live with a spouse or your parents and they have income).
Countable income has many exclusions, and calculating it can be complex
For example, educational grants and any additional need-based income provided by your state don't count. Free medical care or medical bill payments on your behalf typically don’t count. Other exclusions include the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, tax refunds and up to $2,220 per month in earnings ($8,950 max per year) for students under 22.
Countable income isn’t always added dollar for dollar
For example, the first $65 of earned income is excluded from countable income, and only one-half of earned income above $65 is considered countable income.
What are 'limited resources,' and how do they affect SSI checks?
You typically won’t qualify for SSI if you own cash, stocks, personal property or similar items worth more than $2,000 ($3,000 for couples) that “could be changed to cash and used for food or shelter."
Some resources don’t count against the limit. Examples include:
A house you live in.
A vehicle, if you use it for transportation.
Your wedding ring.
Life insurance policies worth $1,500 or less.
Items you use for work or business.
Up to $100,000 of ABLE accounts.
How does your living situation affect your SSI check?
If you live with other people, the Social Security Administration could reduce your benefit by up to a third. Some examples that reduce your benefit include:
You live in someone else’s home and they don’t charge you rent or charge a below-market rate.
Someone who lives with you pays your portion of the household's electric bill or similar expenses.
You live alone in a home a friend owns, but the friend doesn't charge you rent.
These are just some of the living arrangements that could affect your SSI benefit amount. Like income, the reductions aren’t always dollar for dollar, and the formulas can be complicated. You can schedule an appointment with a representative from the Social Security Administration who can help you understand your situation better.
When will I get my SSI check?
Checks go out on the first of every month. If the first of the month falls on a weekend, then the Social Security Administration issues the payments on the Friday before the first of the month.
Yes. The first $20 of a Social Security retirement benefit or disability benefit does not count against SSI benefits. Every dollar beyond that is countable income. So, if you have a $500 monthly retirement benefit and no other countable income, $480 ($500 - $20) would be deducted from the full SSI benefit amount.