Unearned Income and Social Security Disability Benefits
Although applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) do not need to worry about their income or financial assets when applying for disability benefits, this is an important consideration for those applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSI applicants must meet both medical and financial requirements to obtain disability benefits. This is because SSI is reserved for those with limited financial resources.
When determining if you are eligible for SSI, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your income and assets. An important part of that evaluation is based on your unearned income.
Contact our disability lawyers for more information about how to help make sure your income is accurately counted.
What is Unearned Income?
Unearned income is any income you receive that was not earned through employment or self-employment activities, according to the SSA Handbook §2136. This can include:
- Pension or retirement plans
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Veterans’ benefits and pension
- Unemployment benefits
- Life insurance payouts or other death benefits
- Inheritance and gifts
- Child support payments
- Income from rental properties
- Housing, food or essential need subsidies that someone else provides
- Income from interest
- Income tax refunds
- Federal funds based on need
Unearned Income Exclusions
The SSA will consider some sources of income as countable income, while others will be excluded. The more countable income you have, the less your SSI benefits will be. For this reason, it is vital that you make sure the SSA is counting the correct income.
Unearned income that will be excluded from your income calculation includes:
- The first $20 per month
- The first $60 of irregular or infrequently received income in a quarter
- State or locally funded need-based assistance
- Rent subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- The value of food stamps
- Income used or set aside for pursuing a plan to achieve self-support for a blind or disabled individual
Generally, items that cannot be used as or to obtain food or shelter will not be considered income. This can include free medical care or money from social services that is repayment for what the individual already spent.
Our Disability Lawyers Can Help You Get the Benefits You Need
Income reporting is an important part of the SSI application process. Our disability lawyers can help you with the application so that your application is complete and accurate, allowing you the best chance for approval.
Whether you are applying for benefits for the first time or if your claim has been denied because it appears that you have too much income, our attorneys can help you.
Contact one of our Social Security Disability lawyers in Phoenix today for a free, no obligation consultation. We do not get paid unless you do.