Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based disability benefits program offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
In order to qualify for this type of benefit, you must meet the requirements for SSI, which include limitations on the amount of income you can have. The SSA will analyze all of your income, including that which is earned, unearned, in-kind and deemed.
If you are married, your spouse's income, or a portion of it, may be deemed available to you, which could reduce your benefit or render you ineligible. The SSA uses the term deem to identify the part of your spouse's income that is available to you to pay for everyday living expenses.
Who is a Spouse?
An applicant is considered to have a spouse if he or she is legally married and living with a member of the opposite sex. In this situation, a spouse's income may be deemed available to the applicant.
Similarly, if you are not legally married but present yourself as a husband or wife of your partner, SSA may consider your partner a spouse for income deeming purposes.
When is Spousal Income Applied?
If your spouse earns more than $368 per month in 2017, his or her income can be deemed and applied to you.
If you have children, the amount of your spouse's income is multiplied by the number of children you have plus your spouse to determine the amount that can be deemed to you.
For example, if you have one child, your spouse can make up to $735 each month without income being deemed. For each dependent, $368 in spouse income is allotted per child before income can be deemed.
How Much Spousal Income Can Be Deemed?
The SSA uses a specific formula to deem an applicant's spouse's income. In general:
- An allocation of $368 in spousal income can be deducted for each child as living expenses
- Some deductions may be applied to calculate your countable income. Generally, $65 to $85 is subtracted, and the remainder is divided to equal countable income.
The amount of countable income that remains after all allocations and deductions are removed will be the amount of spousal income applied or deemed to you.
From here, the SSA will determine the amount of benefits you may be eligible for.
If you are having trouble getting your SSI claim approved, or need guidance on how to appeal a denied claim, the Social Security Disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm PC have the experience and expertise you need on your side.