Supplemental Security Income: Know your income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be a great help to those who receive Social Security Disability (SSD) or other benefits but still need a helping hand with their finances each month. SSI is designed to provide an individual with additional income for the necessities, like clothes and food.

Your income plays an important role in whether or not you qualify for SSI. The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at four kinds of income to determine your income level and if you're able to qualify for SSI. These include:

  • Earned income
  • Unearned income
  • Deemed income
  • In-kind income

Essentially, these types of income are income gained through wages, self-employment, royalties, unemployment benefits and other income sources. Even a portion of what your spouse earns and the food or shelter you receive for free or reduced rates will count toward the SSI limits.

Certain income doesn't count toward SSI including your income tax returns, home energy assistance, any food stamps you receive, grants or scholarships and others. A full list is available from the Social Security Administration.

To be able to qualify for SSI, you'll have to show that you need additional financial support, which isn't always easy to do. That's why many people looking to apply for SSI will do so when they apply for SSD. You are able to apply at the same time. Additionally, doing so will save you time and allow you to use all the same documents when you apply.

Our site has more on SSI and what you need to do if you want to qualify for it or other benefits programs.

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