SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income, which are monthly benefits to people with limited income, people who are disabled, or people over the age of 65. It’s important to note that SSI and Social Security Benefits are two different things. Social Security Benefits are based on your prior work and are received after retirement, and SSI is for those who are disabled or with low income.
How Much are SSI Benefits?
Benefit amounts can change yearly, or according to your situation (disabilities, child support, long-term care, etc.). As of 2022, the Federal Benefit Rate is $841 for an individual and $1,261 for a couple. However, some states offer state supplemental payments in addition to SSI.
Can You Work While on SSI?
Yes, you can work. However, the amount you work each month will be deducted from your SSI monthly benefits. If you choose to work, it’s important to report your total monthly income to the Social Security Administration. If you don’t, you could be overpaid, then have to repay your SSI money. In worst-case scenarios, you could be accused of fraud and may face criminal prosecution.
How Do I Report My Earnings to the Social Security Administration?
If you are working, make sure that you copy every pay stub you receive and either mail it or drop it off at the Social Security Administration office. Make sure they stamp each pay stub so you have proof that you have reported them.
How Many Hours Can I Work on SSI?
The Social Security Administration will limit your benefits if you work, and here’s how. First, they will disregard the first $65 you make every month. If you make less than that, your benefits will not change. However, any money you make above the $65 line will be reduced from your SSI benefits by half. For example, if you make $165 a month, only $50 will be deducted from your SSI benefits.
What if You Work While Disabled?
If you are disabled, some out-of-pocket expenses for certain items may be deducted from your income, which means they won’t be subtracted from your benefits. These items can be for your work, or for your day-to-day activities, such as medications, counseling, wheelchairs, car modifications, software applications, computer support systems, and more.
What is SGA?
SGA stands for Substantial Gainful Activity, which describes a level of work activity and earnings. The SGA limit does not mean you work full-time; it means you can perform significant physical and/or mental activities to help you obtain income. If you are earning more than $1,350 per month, you are not considered disabled. If you are blind, there is a higher SGA limit of $2,260.
What if You Receive an Overpayment Notice?
An overpayment is when you receive more money for a month than you should have received. This typically happens when you fail to report your income, or report it late. However, this can also come with a change in living situations, marital status, you have more resources than the allowable limit, etc. You will typically be notified by mail and must repay the excess balance within the month. If you feel like the overpayment was a mistake, you can request a reconsideration and appeal it. If you cannot pay the amount back, there are some scenarios where you can request a waiver.
How Does SSI Affect My Other Programs?
In most states, if you receive SSI, you are eligible for Medicaid, and the application is the same. If you are in a state that does not offer them together, you can apply for Medicaid separately. If you receive SSI, then you are usually eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which allows you to purchase food. It is worth applying online or at your local Social Security office. In the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, each state determines their own eligibility rules. Typically if you are in the TANF program, you will only receive SSI if you are disabled, blind, or over 65.
How Can Trajector Help Me?
Securing disability benefits can be a long and complicated journey, and Trajector is here to help. They help the disabled and at-risk population receive the benefits they are medically, legally, and ethically owed. Trajector can help you with cases about personal injury, disability, mental or physical health, insurance, homelessness, and more. For more information, visit Trajector to see if they’re a good fit for you. We provide additional resources to help SSI recipients find the care and answers they need.