How Much Money Can You Make and Still Receive SSI Benefits?

To qualify for SSI, you must have an income below the federal benefit rate, which is currently $771 per month. Supplemental Security Income also counts certain sources of unearned income, such as gifts or court-ordered payments, toward the federal benefit rate.

Introduction to Social Security Supplemental Income

Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) is a program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides monthly benefits to financially disadvantaged elderly and disabled people who are over the age of 65 or are blind or disabled. The purpose of SSI is to help supplement a person’s income so they can make ends meet.

The amount received from SSI benefits depends on a person’s individual situation, as it considers things such as income, resources, living arrangements, marital status and citizenship. Additionally, the amount received may change if one’s circumstances change, such as if they gain additional income or resources.

When considering whether or not an individual is eligible for SSI benefits, their income level is taken into account. Generally speaking, individuals with no other resources available and low incomes may qualify for SSI assistance. Those with higher levels of income or other resources may still qualify if their overall net worth falls within Social Security’s financial threshold for benefit receipt.

The two primary ways to receive SSI benefits include filing for payment directly through either your local Social Security office or by submitting an application via the internet. Once you have submitted your application and met all requirements for SSI eligibility, you will receive your monthly payments via direct bank transfer or a paper check in the mail.

For those in need of financial assistance who also wish to maintain some degree of independence while receiving SSI benefits, they must be aware that there are strict limits on how much money they can make while still receiving those benefits. The next section will discuss these limits more thoroughly.

Limits on the Amount You Can Earn

The amount that a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiary can earn on a monthly basis is limited by the SSI program. Though there are exceptions to this, generally an SSI recipient can’t earn more than $1,041 per month in 2019. Beneficiaries may be able to earn more money from work without losing their benefits in certain situations as allowed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

For SSI recipients who aren’t working, a good portion of the money they receive comes from traditional SSI payments. An individual will receive a full SSI payment if his or her income falls below the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) limit. For 2019, the FBR limit was $771 for an individual and $1,157 for couples.

Most SSI beneficiaries need to count their earned income against their FBR. To figure out how much they must count against it, they subtract the general income exclusion amount of $65 from their gross wages or self-employment income; any remainder is counted. This means that with earnings of up to $906 per month, you can still get your full SSI benefit. However, when your earnings exceed $906 per month ($1,041 when including the general earnings exclusion of $65), your monthly SSI payment will be reduced dollar for dollar but may not go away completely even if you reach that amount.

There has been debate about whether these rules prevent those receiving disability benefits from truly supporting themselves financially and achieving independence from government aid. Some argue that these rules should be relaxed to accommodate alternative forms of employment such as contract work, freelancing, and even online labor platforms which offer more flexible hours and higher pay than regular hourly jobs but often don’t provide a formal work contracts nor dependable wages every month. Others feel that loosening these regulations would do more harm than good as it could lead to individuals becoming overly dependent on government assistance and thereby decrease their incentive to remain independent given how easy it would become to fall back into the abovementioned cycle once again.

In conclusion, current SSA regulations place strict limits on how much money an SSI beneficiary can earn while still receiving benefits in order to promote greater economic independence while protecting individuals from having their benefits reduced or cut off entirely if they make too much money in a given period of time. The following section will detail some of these Earnings Limit Regulations so readers can gain a better understanding of how they are enforced by the SSA and learn what exceptions exist for specific cases..

  • The 2020 federal monthly maximum SSI payment for an individual is $783.
  • To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have at least 20 credits of work from the last 10 year period.
  • In 2018, 8.9 million individuals received federal SSI benefits, which accounted for 5.04% of the total population of recipients for Social Security Administration benefits.

Earnings Limit Regulations

The Social Security Administration (SSA) sets limits on the amount of income a person can receive while still receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The earnings limit for 2020 is $783 per month, or $9,396 per year. This means an individual may earn up to $9,396 from employment in a year and still be eligible for SSI benefits. An individual may also earn additional income above this amount and remain eligible for SSI benefits, as long as the monthly gross earnings do not exceed the SSA’s limit of $783.

However, if an SSI recipient earns more than the limit mentioned above, the SSA will consider their excess earnings as “in-kind income” and reduce their benefits accordingly. For instance, if an individual earns $2,000 over the limit, they will be subject to a benefit reduction of two-thirds of that amount ($1,333). This means they will only be allowed to take home $666 of the income earned over the limit.

The earnings limit regulations have come under some scrutiny recently. Some argue these regulations are unfair because they penalize those who attempt to make more money and become self-sufficient by reducing their benefits substantially. On the other hand, others claim that these regulations are necessary in order to ensure individuals receive enough supplemental support to remain financially secure without having to resort to additional government assistance.

Regardless of which side of the debate individuals fall on, it is important for recipients of SSI to be aware of the SSA’s earnings limit regulations so they can plan their finances in a way that allows them to both remain eligible for SSI benefits and save money from their employment.

Leading into the next section about “Working While Receiving SSI”, it is important for individuals with disabilities who receive SSI benefits to understand how their employment and wages affect eligibility requirements and their benefits.

Working While Receiving SSI

Working while receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can be complicated. The Social Security Administration does not consider all types of income when determining a person’s eligibility for SSI, and specific limitations may vary from state to state. As such, it is important that individuals familiarize themselves with the rules and restrictions associated with earning an income while receiving SSI benefits.

Under normal circumstances, a person receiving SSI may work and still receive the same amount of SSI benefits. However, the Social Security Administration has placed limits on how much income a person may earn and still qualify for Social Security benefits. Generally, anyone earning over $772 in wages a month would need to file a report with the Social Security Administration and risk losing their benefits if they exceed the set limits.

On one hand, earning a living while still receiving benefits can give recipients freedom and financial stability they might not otherwise experience. Not only does it increase their buying power, but it also allows them to gain career experience, learn new skills, and build their resumes. In this way, those on SSI can become vital members of society by contributing to the economy and achieving some measure of independence.

On the other hand, skeptics point out that working while collecting benefits can cause some people to lose those benefits altogether because they may finally make so much money that they no longer qualify for assistance. This could create further hardship and financial insecurity as those former recipients struggle to adjust to life without any sort of assistance at all or transition into another form of assistance requirements.

In conclusion, working while collecting Supplemental Security Income appears to offer both advantages and disadvantages; thus, it is important that individuals thoroughly research the different rules and regulations that apply to their situation before accepting any jobs or continuing with employment opportunities. Finally, looking ahead, we will examine now how one can go about applying for Supplemental Security Income in the first place.

Applying for Supplemental Security Income

Applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can be a long, but necessary step for those who are eligible. To receive SSI benefits, individuals must meet certain medical, financial and other criteria outlined by the Social Security Administration.

The application process includes filling out an application form and providing documentation to prove eligibility. The Social Security manual states that applicants should submit claims as soon as they think they qualify, as there may be a wait period of up to six months after they submit their paperwork to start receiving benefits.

One of the pros of applying for SSI is that applicants will know quickly whether they qualify. Once the Social Security Administration evaluates their claim, they will receive a notice in the mail that either approves their request or explains why it was denied. Those who are approved will begin receiving benefits shortly after the approval is granted.

However, applying for SSI also carries certain risks and downsides with it. The application process can be time-consuming and tedious; individuals may have to provide records from multiple doctors and years of financial data detailing income and assets to prove that they are both medically qualified and unable to support themselves financially. Those who do not have access to this information or have difficulty gathering everything may not have their claim approved, leading to a long delay before benefits can start being disbursed.

Furthermore, even if someone meets all the SSI criteria and gathers all the required documents, submitting false information could lead to complications down the line that prevent them from receiving the full amount of their benefit or being suspended altogether. This could cause significant hardship if they depend on the income provided by SSI to cover living expenses.

Therefore, it is important for individuals considering applying for SSI benefits to understand both the positive aspects and potential drawbacks of doing so before making any decisions.

Now that we have discussed how to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits let’s look at the qualifications and eligibility requirements in our next section.

Qualifications and Eligibility Requirements

When it comes to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you must meet stringent eligibility requirements in order to qualify. Generally, to be eligible for SSI, you must be considered disabled or blind according to Social Security’s criteria. You must also have limited income and resources. It is important to understand that getting SSI involves a complex review process, so meeting SSI’s criteria does not guarantee benefits, as other factors are weighed into the determination.

When it comes to determining your eligibility for SSI based on your income levels, there are multiple scenarios that could impact whether or not you can receive benefits. For example, if you earn more than $1,000 a month from any type of pay (wages, self-employment earnings, etc.), then you’re likely to exceed the income limit and not qualify for SSI. Additionally, if you earn less than $1,000 but the sum of your countable earned income and unearned income rows up to at least $783 per month ($1143 if you’re blind), then you also won’t be eligible for SSI. Furthermore, if your countable earned income exceeds $65 per month ($85/mo if blind) then this would cause your benefit amount to drop significantly. Finally, even if your total monthly income is under $1000 and other factors make you eligible for SSI benefits, your benefit amount will still be reduced by any wages not set aside into an approved plan or excluded from gross earnings such as health insurance premiums and dependent care costs.

On the flip side of that argument, some resourceful individuals who already get paid a substantial salary find innovative ways to become eligible for benefits through careful planning by making voluntary contributions to qualified retirement plans or launching small businesses whose sole aim is to reduce their gross wages every month below the qualifying thresholds for SSI benefits. Of course this kind of behavior is frowned upon by the Social Security Administration so it is advised that consultants be sought out whenever engaging in these activities in order to ensure compliance with all laws governing Supplemental Security Income eligibility.

It is important to note that if you are married and living with your spouse who also works fulltime and earns substantial amounts— over the threshold levels mentioned above —you are unlikely to qualify for SSI benefits due to his/her earned wages exceeding the qualifying limit. Secondly, since all types of income (earned and unearned) may result in loss of benefits if they breach certain limits; regular monitoring of one’s financial transactions as well as consistent meetings with a financial consultant are highly recommended throughout an individual’s qualification period in order ensure continued eligibility for Services Security Income Benefits.

Armed with this understanding about qualifications and eligibility requirements for Supplemental Security Income Benefits it is now time move forward towards “Understanding Your Benefit Payment” section which will give us deeper insights about the way Supplemental Security Income is structured can affect the amount we receive each month from social security.

Understanding Your Benefit Payment

A Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit payment can be an invaluable source of income for those with disabilities or limited resources. Since the amount of the payment depends on your available resources and gross income, it’s important to understand how much money you can earn while still being able to receive benefits.

In general, the higher your income, the lower your SSI payments will be. This is because Social Security Administration (SSA) takes into account both your countable income and assets when determining eligibility and payment amounts. Countable income includes any earned wages from a job, income from investments, and any other sources. You must also declare if you have assets over a certain amount; for example for a single person it must be less than $2,000.

For individuals who are about to start a new job, determining an estimate for their benefit payments can be tricky because there is no exact formula in place. The SSA does not use a set compliance formula that is applied uniformly across all applicants since it considers each individual case differently based on their individual financial situation. That being said, there are some guidelines that can help you figure out a rough estimate.

For instance, if you have a job that pays minimum wage and work 30 hours per week, then the total amount of money coming in will not affect your SSI eligibility or payment – as long as the profits remain at or below $771 per month – whereas higher earning potential could cause adjustments to payment amounts and possibly even jeopardize eligibility altogether.

Additionally, SSA takes into account any outside support received, such as food stamps or housing assistance. If you currently have outside support but may soon have an increase in pay that crosses the $771 threshold per month mentioned above, then it’s likely that you should expect reductions in SSI payments – again potentially reducing your overall eligibility depending on additional factors such as other earned wages or resources.

Ultimately, understanding the various aspects of SSA aid requirements can be difficult and confusing when trying to determine how much money you can make and still receive benefits, leaving many individuals in need of assistance with navigating this complex landscape of rules and regulations when making decisions about employment opportunities. To ensure that you make informed decisions about working/earning wages while simultaneously receiving SSI benefits, consider consulting with a professional financial representative or inquiring with SSA itself for advice specific to your situation.

The laws regulating SSI allowance are complex and ever-evolving; therefore it’s important to stay abreast of changes by frequently checking in with local SSA offices. The next section will provide further insight into this matter by delving deeper into existing laws governing SSI allowance along with additional tips on how best to navigate these rules.

Laws Regulating SSI Allowance

The federal Social Security Act establishes Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as a welfare program. It is designed to provide an income supplement to aged, blind, and disabled individuals with limited financial resources. Each state has the responsibility to determine eligibility and payments to qualified applicants on behalf of the federal government.

Under federal rules, there is a limit on how much money a person can make and still qualify for SSI benefits. The limit or “income cap” is set at $783 per month in 2021 for an individual recipient and $1,175 per month for a couple receiving SSI benefits. These figures are adjusted annually by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Generally speaking, any earned income over the limits will result in SSI benefit reduction or disqualification from receiving benefits. For this reason, it is important for those receiving Supplemental Security Income to only make as much money as needed for basic daily needs. The SSA considers an individual’s other sources of income when determining allowance levels; these include non-cash items such as certain kinds of housing, food, and other forms of assistance.

There is ongoing debate about whether the current limits on SSI income should be increased to accommodate those who are living with long-term disabilities. Proponents argue that since medical expenses tend to rise with age and the cost of living increases regularly, many people could benefit from higher monthly SSI payments. Conversely, those against raising the cap point out that additional funds generated by higher income limits may not be covered by traditional funding and could lead to higher taxes on general taxpayers.

At present, most states offer supplemental programs aimed at helping those who are disabled but don’t meet the earnings guidelines set by federal law. These programs may involve vocational training, employment coaching and other services meant to optimize a beneficiary’s ability to earn extra income without disqualifying them from their existing benefits.

In conclusion, understanding your local municipality’s laws regarding SSI allowance can help you maximize the amount of benefits you receive without risking disqualification. In this next section we will discuss our conclusion on how much money you can make and still receive SSI benefits.


When it comes to how much money an individual can make and still receive SSI benefits, the answer is complicated. For those who receiveSSI due to disability, the earnings limit for working depends on whether one is considered engaging in “substantial gainful activity” and if so, how much income they are making from it. People who are elderly with limited resources may also be eligible for SSI depending on their age and assets. Although some individuals may find that their work income disqualifies them from receiving SSI benefits, other government programs may offer assistance or subsidies that can help bridge the gap.

It is important to be aware of the options available at both local and federal levels when deciding how to manage the balance between earning money and staying eligible for benefits. There are a variety of circumstances throughout life that affect income-eligibility and it can be confusing navigating these regulations. Consulting with local representatives or agencies knowledgeable about SSI and other programs is beneficial in finding out more information or questions you may have. Ultimately, understanding these nuances can help provide peace of mind and easier access to financial safety nets.

Common Questions Answered

What income limits must I meet in order to qualify for SSI benefits?

In order to qualify for SSI benefits, you must have limited income and resources. According to the Social Security Administration, the income limit for individuals is $735/month. In addition, couples can have up to $1,103/month in income together. Resources such as bank accounts, cash, stocks, and certain other items are also considered when determining eligibility. The resource limit often varies by state but generally it will not exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple. Meeting these income and resource limits is necessary to qualify for SSI benefits.

What types of income affects eligibility for SSI benefits?

Income affects eligibility for SSI benefits in a variety of ways, including earned income (such as wages from employment or self-employment), unearned income (such as Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments, Veterans benefits, unemployment compensation, and interest income) as well as gifts and transfers of money. SSI is intended to provide supplemental income to individuals with financial need. Therefore, having higher income can reduce the amount of SSI benefits that are paid out each month.

Earned income is subject to deductions such as taxes and other work related expenses before it affects eligibility for SSI benefits. Unearned income affects SSI eligibility by reducing the amount of benefits if it exceeds the maximum SSI benefit limit. Additionally, any transfer of money or assets received within 36 months of applying for SSI is subject to a period of ineligibility. After 36 months, the individual could once again be eligible for SSI.

Are there any work incentives that allow me to increase my earnings and still receive SSI benefits?

Yes, there are work incentives that allow you to increase your earnings and still receive SSI benefits. One of the most popular options is called the “Plan to Achieve Self-Support” (or PASS). This program allows individuals on SSI to set aside earned income and resources (like savings or investments) so that they can purchase items that will help them to become self-sufficient. These items could include special equipment, education costs, transportation, job-related expenses, or start-up costs related to starting a small business. When it comes time to start collecting SSI benefits again, the items purchased can be deducted from your wages before calculating your benefit amount. Another option is called “Impairment Related Work Expenses,” which are deductions allowed on your taxes if you have incurred additional expenses due to a disability, such as wheelchair ramps or transportation services. Both of these options allow you to supplement your income while staying within the limits imposed by SSI regulations.

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