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Can You Work Part Time on SSI?


The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two disability benefit programs. SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance is regular disability, and SSI, or Supplemental Security Income helps low income, elderly and disabled people. SSI is a basic needs program providing money for food, clothing and shelter.

The program is needs-based and has very low income requirements in order for a person or family to qualify.
Can you work part time on SSI? Many clients ask this question. The answer is “yes”, as long as your wages and assets remain under the SSI income threshold.
The simplest case is when your only income comes from a job. It complicates matters when you have other sources of income, such as rental properties or stock income.

To receive benefits, you can’t own any meaningful assets–$2,000 per individual and $3,000 per couple or family. SSA calls these disposable assets, and they include bank account holdings, stock ownership, cash, property ownership, household goods, and life insurance policies. Owning a home and a single automobile are considered necessities and are excluded from your asset list. PASS (Plan for Achieving Self Support) savings accounts, and wedding rings, are also excluded, as is any savings put aside for burial needs.

SSI’s income limit is based on the monthly federal benefit rate (FBR)–$735 for individuals and $1.103 for couples or families.

The SSA classifies income as either earned or unearned. Earned income is money that comes from a job. Your spouse’s income is also considered earned “deemed” income because you benefit from part or all of that money.

Other benefits, like Social Security, child support or alimony, veteran benefits or any pension, are deemed unearned (passive) income.

SSA will also consider in-kind income, meaning food or shelter that you are receiving from someone other than the government (a church, homeless shelter, or family member). If you are living rent-free, or getting food from a shelter, it counts as income.

Certain states provide their own assistance—ranging from $10 to $400 per month–in addition to the federal SSI supplement; SSI will generally subtract your state amount from the federal amount they are willing to pay you.

The bottom line is to qualify for SSI, your countable monthly income cannot exceed the FBR, but every year, the SSA changes the rules about what counts, so it is difficult to know whether you qualify. This is why hiring representative for SSI cases can help, so call us today.

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