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