How to Make SSI Go Up or Down

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Social Security has special rules for deciding how high, or how low, your SSI check will be. It can be super helpful to understand how this decision gets made.

Before reading the rest of this page, it may help you to know that in most states the maximum SSI is $735 per month. In California, it is $895. If you are already at maximum SSI, there is really no point in reading this page. Instead, read this page on SSI regs to make sure you have no problems in the future.


Income 

Down: Someone is giving you money

Up: Someone was giving you money but they stopped

Down: You are working

Up: You were working but you stopped or you are working less now

Up: You are still working but started to use work incentives

Up: You are still working but started to use an individual development account

Down: You have other kinds of income coming to your house

Up: You had other income but this stopped

Down: Someone is giving you money

Up: Someone is loaning you money (proof required)

Down: You get student grants and use them for living (Grants only. Loans are OK)

Up: Your grants are only being used for educational expenses


Marriage 

Down: Your spouse has too much income

Up: Divorce and financially separate

Up: Legally separated and financially separate

Up: Not divorced but living separately and financially separate (proof required)

Up: Spouse stops working

Up: Spouse works less or has less income (depends on situation)

Up: You have more kids (depends on situation)

Down: Your are living with someone in a marriage-like arrangement

No effect: You are living with friends, family, or housemates to share expenses


Housing

Down: You are living with other people and you are not paying your share

Up: You are Paying the Right Amount of Rent or Mortgage

Down: Someone is paying for your food or housing

Up: Someone is loaning you money for food or housing (proof required)

Up: Someone was paying your rent or food or utilities but they have stopped

Down: Someone is letting you stay free in their house

Up: You were staying free, but now you are paying rent for the room you are living in

Up: If you are still applying, you have a loan agreement for food or housing


Other Things

Down: Social Security made a mistake in their calculations.

Up: You request reconsideration on your check amount and it is successful.

Down: You never told Social Security that your situation changed.

Up: You can request an SSI interview at any time.

Down: You don’t know the SSI regulations

Up: To keep yourself safe, it’s a great idea to read All the SSI Regs

Down: You have no idea why your check is so low

Up: You can read this page and figure out more: How Come My Check is So Low?

Down: Your check went away completely

Up: You can read this page and figure out more: How to Make SSI Stop or Start


I’m Happy My Check Didn’t Change

Don’t be happy. Social Security can take months or years to make a change, and by that time they may say you owe them thousands of dollars! If there is a change in your life, it is best to notify Social Security right away. Also, makes sure to follow all the rules and make any changes you need to right away. Don’t wait. 


I’m Sad My Check Didn’t Change

Don’t be sad. Social Security will not change your check automatically. If you have had one of the changes listed above, your check doesn’t just magically go up. You have to make the magic happen.


Be Careful

If your SSI check stops for 12 months in a row, you may find it difficult or impossible to get it back.

2 thoughts on “How to Make SSI Go Up or Down”

  1. Hi, my Hubby recently got custody of his daughter (who received SSI). He submitted an application to become her payee at the SS Field Office. Today he got the letter. They will discontinue her benefits effective 07/17. Reasons: Living with others as an individual (huh?). How can he reverse this? She have additional medical expenses and her income will contribute towards the household overall expenses.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear this. My guess is that you or your husband have too many assets or too much income and this is causing her check to be eliminated.

      There are two possibilities:

      One: They made a mistake. If this is what happened, appeal the decision and also contact your congressperson.

      Two: They are correct. You or your husband make too much income or have too many assets. If this is what happened, you can review the list above and see if anything applies to your household. If anything changes with your finances or assets, contact Social Security and ask for a new SSI interview.

      When the child turns 18, she can apply again, even if she is still living with you. At that point they will no longer count your income.

      If her needs are severe, she may still qualify for medicaid. If the household has too much money for regular medicaid, look into medicaid waiver programs or medicaid long term care. That type of medicaid often will not count your income or assets for a child applying.

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