3.1 Income Requirements


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Whatever the type of Social Security Disability Benefits you are applying for, the SSA has certain income requirements. It not only determines your eligibility for a given program, but also the amount of monthly compensation you will receive.

1. How does Income affect SSDI?

Income plays a major role when determining your eligibility for SSDI. If you are currently able to perform your job duties and earn a steady income despite your disability, you may not be eligible for disability insurance benefits, or SSDI. In this case, even though you have a disability, you’ve shown that you can participate in the workforce and engage in what is known as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

In 2024, Substantial Gainful Activity is $1,550/month

If you can prove that a disability keeps you from earning a living wage and your SSDI claim is approved, your pre-disability income will determine the amount of disability pay you can receive each month.

How does income affect my eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)?

Your income will determine your eligibility for SSI. There is an allowable income limit set by the Social Security Administration. This income limit is the same as what is known as the “Federal Benefit Rate”

In 2024, an individual adult seeking benefits for a minor child must earn less than $1,971 / month from a job (before taxes and deductions) or get less than $963 / month in benefits like unemployment or pensions. 

Married couples who live together and are applying for SSI for a minor child must earn less than $2,915 / month and get less than $1,435 / month in benefits like unemployment or pensions.

What is considered income when applying for SSI?

  • Most wages and earnings,
  • Money for food and shelter you receive from friends or family,
  • Rental income, annuity and pension benefits,
  • and certain prizes, gifts, settlements, and court-ordered awards.

What is not considered income when applying for SSI?

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP or “food stamps”),
  • Shelter from nonprofit organizations,
  • and medical care and social services.

Questions about SSI benefits for you or you child?

Determining if your assets disqualify you for SSI benefits

In addition to your household income, your assets affect your eligibility for SSI benefits.

Single seeking SSI benefits? If so, you can have assets worth up to $2,000.00.

A couple seeking SSI benefits? You can have assets worth up to $3,000.00 and still be eligible.

Assets are things you own.

Some assets the Social Security Administration considers are:

  • Cash or money in checking and savings accounts,
  • Certificates of Deposit,
  • Stocks and U.S. Savings Bonds
  • Certain life insurance policies.

Things that are not typically considered assets/resources:

  • The value of the home you live in and the land it is on,
  • Usually your car,
  • Burial plots and burial funds for immediate family members.

Remember, your income and assets, as well your disabilities, determine the amount of SSI benefits you receive.

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