Supplemental Security Income, or SS, is a benefit provided by the federal government for the disabled or elderly. Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), SSI is not based on work credits and is given to any qualifying person. It is a “needs-based” program for people with limited income and assets. In most states, Oregon included, a person qualifying for SSI can also automatically qualify for Medicaid. That said, incentives to continue working are also part of the program.
Income and Asset Caps
In addition to a home, vehicle, furniture, and personal effects, the total amount of assets you can own, and still receive SSI is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. The income maximum is a bit more complicated because of the work incentives that the system provides. Basically, the Social Security Administration (SSA) excludes part of your earned income to minimize the risk of losing your SSI if you go back to work. For 2022, the monthly benefit for SSI is $794 for an individual and $1,191 for a couple.
What Counts As Income?
The SSA will not count food stamps, tax refunds, other benefits you receive based on need, or loans you are required to pay back. They will count part of earned wage. Firstly, they do not count the first $85 of earned income per month. Secondly, they count only one-half your earned income over $85.
This means if you make less than $1675 every month in earned income you still qualify for some amount of SSI. If you make a total of $1670 every month, you subtract the first $85 of the earned income. This leaves you with a difference of $1585. Then you divide that amount by 2 because the SSA only counts half of this income. You are left with $792.50, which is still below the monthly benefit of $794.
If you have more questions about the SSA, SSI benefits, or work incentives, call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. at (541) 434-6466.