Supplemental Security Income is a federal benefits program that pays monthly amounts to children (as well as some eligible adults) with qualifying disabilities. At the start of each calendar year, the Social Security Administration determines how much your child receives each month. This amount doesn't change for the remainder of the year as long as your household income doesn't change. How much your child receives depends on a fairly complicated formula that includes your household size and total monthly income.
Obtain a copy of the current Deemed Eligibility Chart from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Use this chart to help you calculate the current maximum SSI income limits for the child's household. These limits are dependent upon many factors, including household size and whether it's headed by a single parent or a married couple. Check that your SSI income limits don't exceed the maximums for your household size and type.
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Determine the maximum amount of benefits the SSI program pays. As of 2010, this amount is $674 per month, adjusted yearly for inflation. This is not a flat rate, however; many states pay disabled children an additional benefit on top of the federal base amount. This additional amount may be as little as $15 or as much as $100 or more per month.
Calculate how much of your earned income offsets your child's SSI benefits. First, deduct $20 from your monthly income. The SSA doesn't count the first $20 of any household's monthly income as an offset to the SSI benefits. Of the remaining amount, if your household income is earned income from wages, deduct $65 from the monthly total, then divide the remaining amount in half. This is what the SSA calls "deemed income," or income it determines to be of use for the child's expenses.
For example, if you earned $500 per month at a part-time job, your child's deemed income would be $207.50. This is because $500 - 20 - 65 = $415. Divided in half, the total is $207.50. This is the amount you would subtract from your state's maximum allowable benefit.#
Calculate how much unearned income offsets your child's benefits. For example, if your child receives child support from an absent parent, that must count toward the household income that may reduce your child's SSI benefits. The $20 general income exclusion applies to child support, so the SSA doesn't count the first $20 of the monthly child support payments. Under current law, one-third of the total child support payment also doesn't count as income. If your child receives $300 per month in child support, you would subtract one-third, bringing the total to $200. Then, subtract the $20 general income exclusion, equaling $180 total. This is the amount of child support you will subtract from the maximum benefit amount.
Add the offset amounts of counted earned and unearned income in your household. In this example, you would add $207.50 (countable income from your wages) to $180 (countable income from child support payments) for a total of $387.50.
Subtract this amount from the maximum benefits payment for your state. This is the base federal rate -- currently $674 -- plus any supplemental amount your state may pay in addition to the base federal benefit rate. If your state pays an additional $26, your maximum benefit payment would be $700. Subtract $387.50, your countable income, from $700 to calculate your child's monthly SSI benefit payment. In this case, your child's SSI benefits would be $312.50 monthly.#
Things You'll Need
Monthly pay stubs for everyone in your household
Records of your household's total monthly income
- Social Security Online: SSI Spotlight on Deeming Parental Income and Resources
- Social Security Online: Understanding SSI Homepage
- Social Security Office of Policy: Child Support Payments and the SSI Program
- Social Security Online: Income Exclusions for SSI Program
- Social Security Administration: Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI for Children