How Much Money Can You Make and Still Be Eligible for SSI?

Should you’re a beneficiary of Supplemental Safety Revenue (SSI) and also you even have a job or different earnings stream, is it potential to earn an excessive amount of cash? The reply is sure. And in case you do earn an excessive amount of cash, you might see your SSI advantages decreased and even revoked altogether. There are methods to work across the asset and earnings limits, nonetheless, by way of using ABLE accounts.


Key Takeaways

  • SSI beneficiaries are topic to limits on how a lot month-to-month earnings they’ll earn and the way a lot they’ve in belongings or “countable sources.”
  • For beneficiaries who earn greater than the earnings restrict or who breach the useful resource restrict, SSI advantages might be decreased or revoked altogether.
  • People can not earn greater than $1,767 per thirty days or personal greater than $2,000 price of belongings to qualify.
  • Beneficiaries can use ABLE accounts to assist discover a strategy to work across the earnings and asset limits, doubtlessly preserving their SSI advantages.

Who Is Eligible for SSI?

Individuals who obtain SSI advantages are typically older or have a incapacity that stops them from working. Beneficiaries obtain funds from the federal government to assist them pay for his or her fundamental residing bills, reminiscent of meals, clothes, and shelter.

“It’s a needs-based system,” says Mary Anne Ehlert, an authorized monetary planner and founding father of Protected Tomorrows, a monetary planning agency targeted on serving to households with members who’ve particular wants. “SSI advantages are for somebody who doesn’t have earnings, hasn’t paid into the system (which differentiates SSI from Social Safety advantages), and who wants assist.” This system is earnings and asset-based. “It is advisable show you may’t earn cash and don’t have any belongings,” Ehlert notes.

Revenue and Asset Limits for SSI Advantages

There may be each an earnings and asset restrict that beneficiaries can not breach to get or retain their SSI advantages. For 2022, a person beneficiary can not earn greater than $1,767 per thirty days in wages or have greater than $2,000 in belongings.

“SSI beneficiaries technically can’t be gainfully employed,” says Cynthia Haddad, co-founder of Particular Wants Monetary Planning, a specialty observe of Affinia Monetary Group. Haddad says that beneficiaries additionally should show that “approval is predicated in your potential to work,” and that the Social Safety Administration will have a look at whether or not or not you’re in a position to work along with whether or not a beneficiary qualifies for SSI based mostly on their earnings and belongings.

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SSI earnings limits change yearly with cost-of-living changes (COLA). In 2023, SSI and Social Safety advantages elevated by 8.7%, affecting roughly 7 million SSI beneficiaries.

Additional SSI Revenue and Asset Restrict Issues

People can obtain a most month-to-month federal SSI cost of $841 as of 2022, or $1,261 for a pair. And once more, the earnings restrict for a person is $1,767, or $2,607 for a pair—if that earnings comes from wages. These numbers change yearly too. Provided that SSI advantages are meant for individuals who can’t work because of a incapacity, Ehlert says that “if you can also make greater than [the income limit], the SSA takes that as a sign that you simply’re not disabled.”

As for the asset restrict, there are some notable exceptions as to what’s counted amongst what the SSA calls “countable sources”—one other phrase for belongings. Once more, whole countable sources can not quantity to greater than $2,000 for a person or $3,000 for a pair, and that features money in financial institution accounts, investments, and even life insurance coverage insurance policies. It doesn’t embody, nonetheless, the next:

  • Your private home and its property
  • One automobile, if it’s used for transportation
  • Family items and private belongings
  • Burial plots and burial funds as much as a sure restrict
  • As much as $100,000 in an Attaining a Higher Life Expertise (ABLE) account

What Occurs if You are Over the Restrict?

The SSA will calculate a beneficiary’s countable earnings when figuring out eligibility for, or potential adjustments to, SSI advantages. As for what occurs once you’re over the restrict? There are lots of components to contemplate, reminiscent of whether or not your earnings was earned or not, and in case your state dietary supplements your SSI advantages. 

Typically talking, your advantages will likely be progressively decreased, and finally terminated, in case your earnings breaches the bounds, in line with Ehlert. After $85 in month-to-month earnings ($65 in earnings, and $20 of any sort of earnings), the SSA will scale back advantages by one-half of earnings for the month. “For beneficiaries, the primary $85 in month-to-month earnings is free within the eyes of the SSA,” Ehlert says, “however after that, half is taken away from their SSI test.” Advantages will possible be terminated if a beneficiary’s earnings exceeds $1,767 per thirty days in 2022.

Not your whole earnings counts towards the SSI restrict. As an example, when the SSA determines your eligibility, it doesn’t depend the primary $65 earned from working, and one-half of earnings over that quantity earned in a given month. You need to contact the SSA to be taught extra, however there are different stipulations to the earnings restrict beneficiaries ought to perceive.

How To Use ABLE Accounts as a Workaround

Each Haddad and Ehlert level to ABLE accounts as a possible means for beneficiaries to work across the earnings and asset limits for SSI advantages. ABLE accounts had been created underneath the identical a part of the tax code as 529 plans, and beneficiaries who do discover themselves with further funds—which can put them over both the asset or earnings restrict—can stash these funds in an ABLE account the place they gained’t be counted till the account incorporates greater than $100,000.

“ABLE accounts are similar to 529 plans, and as much as $16,000 per 12 months can go into these accounts,” says Ehlert. “And relations and mates may also contribute.”

Particular Wants Trusts and SSI Eligibility

A person might have a particular wants belief (additionally known as a supplemental wants belief), which is designed to carry belongings for a disabled individual whereas preserving their eligibility for presidency advantages, like SSI funds. These trusts assist cowl bills past what SSI or different authorities advantages might present for, however the belongings contained in them don’t depend towards an earnings or asset restrict—so long as the cash is spent on qualifying bills.

Particular wants trusts have some traits in widespread with ABLE accounts, however a key distinction is that they’re designed to enrich or complement authorities profit packages. Like ABLE accounts, distributions ought to profit the beneficiary and canopy gadgets or providers that SSI advantages don’t present.

Can I Get SSI Advantages for My Disabled Baby?

If you wish to get advantages for a disabled youngster, the identical eligibility guidelines (earnings and asset limits) apply to the kid’s dad and mom, up till the kid turns 18. “At 18, if the kid has a incapacity, they develop into eligible on their very own,” says Haddad. The kid will then have to undergo a strategy of proving that they’re unable to work (a course of that may take many months) and thus want SSI advantages to cowl their residing bills.

Will My State Complement My SSI Advantages?

Most states complement federal SSI funds. The one states that don’t are Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, and West Virginia, together with the Northern Mariana Islands. Some states pay and administer their very own complement funds as nicely. Beneficiaries might want to contact their states to get extra data relating to the dimensions and scope of their SSI supplemental funds.

What Revenue Is SSI Based mostly On?

The earnings that SSI is predicated on is split into two classes: earned and unearned. Earned earnings is wages, internet earnings from self-employment, royalties and honoraria, and cash from sheltered workshops. Unearned earnings is Social Safety advantages, staff’ compensation, veterans’ compensation or pension, unemployment, pensions, help and upkeep in variety, annuities, lease, and every other unearned earnings.

The Backside Line

There may be each an earnings and asset restrict for beneficiaries of SSI: The earnings restrict for a person is $1,767, or $2,607 for a pair, with asset limits of $2,000 and $3,000. If beneficiaries breach that restrict, their advantages will likely be decreased by the SSA and doubtlessly terminated. However beneficiaries can use ABLE accounts as a possible workaround if their ABLE account incorporates lower than $100,000.