As a need-based program providing benefits to disabled or blind adults and children, the income and resources disclosed in your application for Supplemental Security Income are key factors in determining whether you qualify. For a child to get SSI, the income of one or both parents must be taken into consideration through a process known as deeming.
Earned and unearned income of parents must be disclosed when applying for Social Security disability benefits for a child. However, not all of a parent’s income factors into determining whether the child is entitled to SSI benefits. To help you get a better understanding of the rules about what a parent makes for a child to get SSI, we offer the following information. Keep in mind that a Social Security disability advocate at London Eligibility can help you through the application and approval process and provide trusted advice about eligibility requirements for the program.
SSI for children
A child for purposes of eligibility for the SSI program is defined as someone meeting the following criteria:
1). Be unmarried and not be the head of a household; and
2). Be younger than 18 years of age; or
3). Be younger than 22 years of age and regularly attending school as a student.
Children who are blind or disabled may qualify for benefits through SSI at birth and retain them until reaching 18 years of age. Upon reaching 18 years of age, a child must meet the definition for disabled that Social Security uses for adults under the SSI program. If benefits were approved for a child based on meeting the definition for blindness, the same definition applies to both children and adults.
A child applying for SSI benefits based on a disability must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment resulting in marked and severe functional limitations. The impairment must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or cause the person to die.
How does parental income affect a child’s eligibility for SSI?
Income available to a child may count toward and reduce the monthly SSI benefit or make the child ineligible for benefits. Anything that can be used to pay for a child’s food or shelter counts as income. It also includes the income of a parent or stepparent with whom a child lives through a process known as deeming.
As long as the parent or parents with whom the child lives do not qualify for and receive SSI benefits in their own right, a portion of parental income counts as available for the benefit of the child. The income of a stepparent may also be considered when a blind or disabled child lives with a parent and stepparent.
The same rules apply to determining the income of a person applying for or receiving SSI, so not all of it may be counted as income. Earned income of a parent, which means income received through working at a job or through self-employment, is subject to exclusions, including the following:
1). The first $65 of monthly earned income and one-half of the remaining balance.
2). The first $20 of either earned or unearned monthly income.
3). Income applied toward court-ordered support payments.
The unearned income of a parent may also count as deemed income. A parent’s unearned income includes the following for purposes of deeming:
1). Unemployment insurance benefits.
2). Workers’ compensation.
3). SSDI benefits.
4). Investment income.
5). Retirement income.
6). Dividends and interest.
Generally, any income not derived from a parent’s work or self-employment efforts is classified as unearned income.
Allowances made by SSD to a parent’s income
If a child is living in a home that is not disabled, Social Security allocates $397 of parental income toward that child and deducts it from a parent’s income for deeming purposes. SSD also allows for the living expenses of the parent with whom the eligible child resides and reduces the income by the SSI federal benefit rate of $794, which increases to $841 in 2022.
The balance of the countable income of a parent is deemed available for the benefit of the disabled child applying for or receiving SSI. If more than one blind or disabled child resides in the household and qualifies for SSI, Social Security divides the deemed income equally among those children.
To see how the deeming process works, assume an eligible child resides with a parent and has a non-disabled sibling who also lives at home. The parent’s sole source of income is a job paying $2,500 a month.
A deduction of $397 is made from the parent’s $2,500 monthly income for the nondisabled child. Of the remaining $2,103, the income deductions of $65 and $20 reduce it to $2,018, but only one-half, or $1,009, of it, counts as income for deeming purposes. The allocation of $794 for the parent’s living expenses means that Social Security deems $215 of the parent’s income to the eligible child for purposes of SSI.
Get expert advice and guidance about Social Security disability
When you have questions about SSI and SSDI, trust the Social Security disability advocates at London Eligibility for expert advice and representation. Contact us today for a free consultation.