How To Follow the SSI Income Regs

This is a draft. I don’t know how to save drafts. Don’t read me. I’m going to take a nap.


Before You Read Me: Don’t Read Me


Ok, Now Read Me

The number one rule of getting money is: Always report. Always tell Social Security, and if at all possible, tell them in writing and send it by certified mail or hand deliver and get a receipt.

After you report the money, your check will go down. Except sometimes it won’t. If it doesn’t, one of these things is probably happening:

Option A: Social Security is Slow

Social Security is taking their time. Some time this week, or this month, or this year, or the next year, or the year after that, they will get around to processing your file. When they finally do this, they may want some of their money back. Remember that receipt I mentioned above? Now is when you are going to be really glad you have it. If you can show that you reported everything and followed the rules, you can XXXX

VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t stockpile money. Some people are worried they will have to pay Social Security back, so they start saving up money. This is an unmitigated disaster. Whatever problem you think you have right now, cannot possibly be as bad as the problem you are going to have if you start stockpiling money. If you are receiving SSI, the regulations require that by the end of every month, your bank account should be below $2,000 ($3,000 if married)

Option B: Social Security is Letting You Keep the Money

Most money will make your check go down. But some will not! These are all the ways you can collect money and stay on SSI and not have your check change:

  • Getting food stamps or utilities assistance from the government
  • Getting food from a nonprofit agency or government program
  • Receiving discounted housing through a nonprofit or government program
  • Living in a homeless shelter with no rent (for up to nine months)
  • Receiving money or inheritance through a special needs trust.
  • Receiving money or inheritance through an ABLE account
  • Someone gives you a present. What kind of present? Ordinary household items or other small items (not cars, money, or large assets)
  • Someone pays for something for you (not food, rent or utilities)
  • Someone pays your other bills (i.e. phone, internet, medical bills, car insurance)
  • Student loans (can be used anyway you want)
  • Student grants (can only be used for educational expenses)
  • Tax refunds and tax credits
  • $20 per month from any source
  • Loans of any kind that you have to pay back (loan contract required)
  • Government assistance based on need
  • Obscure money. There are a number of other obscure ways you can collect money (i.e. Agent Orange settlements, payments from Radiation Exposure compensation, and Holocaust survivor payments from Germany). Since it is unlikely anyone who has any of these things will ever read this article, I have not listed everything here. If you wish to see a more detailed and obscure list, read this.
  • Working a certain amount if you are a student under age 22
  • Child support (in some cases)
  • Working less than $65/month
  • Working more than $65/month and using work incentives
  • Working more than $65/month and opening an individual development account
  • Someone loaning you money to pay for rent or food if you can show social security that the free rent and food was a loan


What if the income is going to my kids, not to me?



What if the income is going to my spouse, not to me?

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