What are the Social Security Benefits for Single-Income Households?

Increasing rent, transportation, interest rates, food and fuel costs make it difficult for a single-income household to pay the bills, put food on the table and handle emergencies, such as a trip to the doctor’s office or a flat tire. Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a benefit available to some single-income households through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Let’s take a look at these Social Security benefits for single-income households, what the qualification requirements are, whether or not you can have a job and still receive these benefits and how much you might get.

Who Can Receive Social Security Benefits as a Single-Income Household?

Supplemental Security Income is a benefit that eligible individuals can receive if their household’s income is less than a certain level. This benefit is different from Social Security Disability Insurance due to the fact that you don’t have to be disabled to receive it. SSI is available to people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a minimum number of years.

What Are the SSI Eligibility Requirements?

The SSA uses the federal benefit rate as the monthly income limit. In 2022, the most you can earn from a job is $841 per month for a single-income household. This amount may increase for 2023 if Congress passes a cost-of-living adjustment for SSI payments. Importantly, the SSA doesn’t count all of your earnings. The Earned Income Exclusion means that less than half of what you earn each month is counted toward the income limit, so you can earn more than $841 per month from a job. If you have unearned income, the full amount of those funds counts toward the $841.

What Is Unearned Income When Determining Eligibility for SSI?

The SSA considers several categories of unearned income when determining whether or not you qualify for SSI as a single-income household. Unearned income includes pensions, Social Security disability payments, state disability payments, unemployment benefits, interest income, stock dividends and cash gifts you receive from friends and or family members.

Which Benefits Don’t Count as Income for Social Security SSI?

The SSA doesn’t count all of the other benefits you might receive when determining your eligibility for SSI as a single-income household. Some of the benefits not counted toward your income or for eligibility include SNAP or food assistance, WIC food assistance, income tax refunds and home energy assistance. The SSA also doesn’t count the first $20 of earned income or the first $65 of your earnings in one month. Any scholarships or grants that you or a member of your household receives for educational purposes aren’t counted as income by the SSA. If someone else directly pays your electricity or phone bill, the SSA also doesn’t count that bill payment as income.

Making ends meet on a single income is a challenge. The tough eligibility standards for SSI are designed to ensure that only those who really need help receive it. Applying for SSI benefits could help you maintain a minimum level of income stability and peace of mind.