- Darrin Andrus
Resource and Income Limits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Resource and Income Limits
To see if you qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Social Security Administration (SSA):
Looks at your countable resources to see if they are below the SSI resource limit, and
Calculates your countable income to see if it is below the SSI income limit for a person in your situation.
If your resources and countable income are below the limits and you have a disability, Social Security gives you monthly SSI benefits to help you pay for your basic needs. The amount you get each month depends on how much other income you have.
SSI’s Resource Limit
When you apply for SSI, you have to list money and property that you own. These are called resources. Some resources don’t count towards SSI’s resource limit, like the home you live in and and one vehicle. Social Security has a complete list of excluded resources.
Additionally, if your disability began before you turned 26, you can open an ABLE account where you can keep up to $100,000 in resources and not have them counted by SSI. Learn more about ABLE accounts.
Countable resources are all resources that aren’t excluded. You must have less than $2,000 in countable resources ($3,000 for a couple) to qualify for SSI benefits.
If your countable resources are below the resource limit, you may qualify for SSI.
Billy has $4,000 in a savings account, so he doesn't qualify for SSI benefits.
SSI’s Income Limit for Your Living Situation
The most you can get in SSI each month is what Social Security thinks somebody in your situation needs to spend on basic needs. The countable income limit for getting SSI is the same as this maximum benefits amount.
This table shows the maximum possible SSI benefits for some common living situations. These situations are explained in detail below.
SSI Monthly Maximum Benefits/Countable Income Limits Single individualsCouples where both partners qualify for SSIIf you pay for your own food and shelter$914$1,371If you get help paying for food and shelter$609.33$914.00If you live in a medical facility$37$74
Note: These numbers are adjusted each year for the cost of living.
Many states, including Michigan, know that the cost of living is higher than the maximum amount of SSI benefits a person can get. That's why Michigan gives an extra payment to people who get SSI. If you live alone and get SSI, you'll probably get an extra $42 every three months. The amounts are slightly different for different living situations.
Not all income is countable
Social Security doesn’t count all of your income when they look at whether you qualify for SSI and, if so, how much you should get in benefits each month. For example, you could make $1,500 per month at work and still qualify for SSI, because Social Security would not count more than half of your earned income.
If you live alone, the most you can get in SSI is $914 per month. However, the countable income limit for SSI and the maximum benefits amount you can get may be different if:
You are married
If you live in the same household with somebody else and the two of you act as though you are married and present yourselves to the community as being married, Social Security considers you a married couple for SSI purposes.
Somebody else helps pay the costs of your food and shelter, or
You live in an institution, such as a hospital, nursing home, or prison.
If you are under 18 and living with your parents or relatives, the rules are different. Learn more about them in DB101’s Benefits for Young People article.
Rules for Couples
How SSI looks at your income and possible benefits depends on whether your spouse also qualifies for SSI.
Rules if Somebody Else Helps Pay for Your Food and Shelter
If you are single and pay for your own food and shelter, you get up to $914 per month in SSI benefits. Shelter expenses can include rent, mortgage payments, property taxes, heating fuel, gas, electricity, water, sewer service, and garbage collection. To qualify for this benefits amount if you live alone, you cannot get help paying for these expenses. If you live with other people, you must pay your fair share without getting help.
Rules If You Live in a Medical Facility
If you live in a medical facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, you probably can’t get full SSI benefits:
Copyright © 2023World Institute on Disability
Technology © 2002-2023Eightfold Way Consultants