If you’re in Maryland and planning to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or if you’re currently on SSI, you should be aware that making over a certain threshold of money will disqualify you from SSI benefits.
Depending on your income streams or salary earned, the government may reduce your SSI or even revoke it entirely. It’s possible to work within the limits of the SSI program to maintain your eligibility while receiving certain levels of income or assets, but careful special needs planning is required to continue to receive SSI.
SSI income and asset thresholds
If a potential SSI beneficiary earns more than $1,767 in monthly wages or has greater than $2,000 in assets, that person is ineligible for SSI benefits.
The SSI program is designed for people who are unable to work, usually either older people or people with disabilities. As such, the program looks into whether a person is gainfully employed. The SSI program uses the monthly wage limit to test whether a person is gainfully employed.
Asset exceptions in the SSI program
Most cash and investment vehicles are part of the calculation when checking whether an SSI beneficiary’s assets exceed the allowable limit. That includes deposits in bank accounts, investments, and life insurance policies.
However, SSI doesn’t consider a home and the surrounding property for the asset limit. A single vehicle is also accepted as long as that vehicle is used for transportation. Essential household goods and personal possessions are also accepted, as are burial expenses and a burial plot.
Finally, an ABLE account (Achieving a Better Life Experience) can contain up to $100,000. An ABLE account is the best means an SSI beneficiary can receive extra money without running afoul of the SSI asset limits. But setting up an ABLE account requires a knowledgeable party to ensure it meets requirements and regulations.
SSI can provide a vital source of income for people unable to work or earn a living. But to receive it, it’s essential to understand what kinds of income and assets disqualify you and how to work around those rules.