Supplemental Security Income or SSI provides benefits to low-income individuals who have few items to sell, which SSI refers to as resources. The Social Security Administration operates this program with strict guidelines and enforcement regulations. These guidelines involve the family unit or household. A person receiving SSI who changes living arrangements must report the changes to the Social Security Administration within 10 days after the month in which the change occurs.
An individual may have $2,000 in countable resources under the guidelines for SSI. Many resources do not count, including a house and lot, car, burial plot, household items and engagement and wedding rings. Items that Social Security counts for SSI resources are cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds and similar assets. A couple may have $3,000 in countable resources. An ineligible individual living with an eligible individual may affect SSI of the eligible person. Social Security calls this an "essential person" if he is not a spouse.
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Wages are not the only income considered for SSI. There are four types of income considered. Earned income is from wages or a salary; unearned income is from interest, Social Security, Veteran's benefits or even lottery winnings. In-kind income is barter, or trading for your work or services. If you live free for taking care of an apartment complex, that is in-kind income, countable for SSI. Deemed income may be applied if you are living with a boyfriend. If you have access to his assets and income, it will affect your SSI.
Effect of Living with a Boyfriend
Your income and resources change when you have a new living arrangement SSI is only available to persons over 65, disabled individuals or blind persons. If your boyfriend can qualify for SSI, your total resource allowance is $3,000 for the two of you, and the base rate for SSI would go from $674 for an individual to $1,011 for a couple. If he has assets or income, he may not qualify for SSI, and your benefits may be affected. If your boyfriend works and has income, his income may count in calculating your SSI benefits.
Deeming of Income and Resources
If your boyfriend does not qualify for SSI, his income and resources may reduce your benefits. Because you are living in the same household, Social Security deems some of his income and resources as for your benefit. It excludes many resources and income sources for deeming, including many of the same exclusions in your original SSI eligibility determination like house and lot, burial plot and household effects. Social Security exempts his retirement fund and some military pay as well. Refer to the Social Security Handbook, section 2167 for lists of exclusions and regulations. You may also call your local Social Security office for specific questions and information.
- Social Security Handbook: Deeming of Resources and Income
- Social Security Online: Publication 05-11069 -- You May Be Able to Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security Online: Publication 05-11011 -- What You Need to Know if You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security Online: Supplemental Security Income -- What Are Resources?
- Social Security Online: Supplemental Security Income -- What Is Income?
- Social Security Online: Publication 05-11000 -- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)