SSI: What counts as income?

SSI, or supplementary security insurance, is a program through the Social Security Administration that pays individuals with a low income a monthly check.

Social Security cards issued by the SSA for people to use programs like SSI and receive benefits

SSI amounts are decided by whatever income or assets you already have.

There are four types of income, according to the SSA.

  • Earned income: wages, self employment, royalties, sheltered workshop payments
  • Unearned income: Social Security, pensions, state disability, unemployment, interest, dividends, and money from family and friends
  • In-kind income: food, shelter, both for free or less than its market value
  • Deemed income: part of your husband or wife’s, parent’s or any other person’s income who you live with

SSDI: How to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits

Income matters to the SSI program because the more you have, the smaller your SSI may be.

If it reaches past a certain threshold, you become ineligible.

Not all income will count against your SSI benefits.


What doesn’t count as income against SSI?

  • The first $20 you get each month
  • SNAP benefits
  • Income tax refunds
  • Home energy help
  • Assistance provided by the state or local government
  • Small amounts of income that you don’t get a lot
  • Interest or dividends for countable resources or resources excluded under federal law
  • Grants, scholarships, fellowships, gifts for tuition
  • Food and shelter provided by nonprofits
  • Loans you need to pay back
  • Money another person spends on you
  • Income from the PASS program
  • Income worth up to $1,930 each month or $7,770 each year for students under age 22
  • Related work expenses that aid a person with a disability to do work
  • Disaster help
  • The first $2,000 per year for doing clinical trials
  • Refundable federal and advanced tax credits
  • Some Indian trust fund payments made to Americans belonging to a federally recognized tribe

SSI: Millions eligible for $1,261 in SSI

What will income that counts do to my SSI benefits?

Income that won’t count is taken from your gross income, leaving your counted income.

Countable income is then taken from the SSI Federal benefit rate.

This will give you your SSI benefit.