Unlike Social Security Disability benefits which are paid based on what an individual has paid into Social Security, SSI benefits are paid based upon whatever the set rate is for the year. To that set rate, an additional supplement may be added based on what state you live in. In 2020, individuals collecting SSI in the state of California receive $943.72 before deductions are considered. Couples who both receive SSI can receive a maximum of $1,582.14. These rates can change annually.
These amounts are the same for the entire state, no matter what county you live in. So, folks who live in Vallejo, CA, Vacaville, CA, Napa, CA, Fairfield, CA, etc. will all be eligible for the same amount.
With that said, do not forget that these amounts represent maximums before deductions. Most people see at least one deduction from their benefit checks. Deductions can include earned income, unearned income, in kind support, etc. If deductions are being taken from your benefit checks that you do not understand, make sure to ask the SSA or speak to an accredited representative to make sure that the SSA is not making an error when taking out deductions. Unfortunately, mistakes are common and are harder to correct the longer they have been made.
Now, let’s explore what some of these deductions are. First, let’s talk about earned income. If you work while receiving SSI, there will be a deduction in your benefits for the income you earn. The deduction is not dollar for dollar. Instead, it includes some rather complicated calculations. If you need help determining if the deductions that the SSA are taking are correct, give us a call. We can do the calculations for you and let you know.
Another type of deduction is called unearned income. This deduction is made when a person receives things like pensions, state disability benefits, unemployment benefits, gifts from friends or relatives, etc.
A third common deduction is called in-kind support. If you live with someone or receive support from them in the form of food, shelter, clothing, etc., there will likely be a deduction from your benefits to account for this assistance.
Now, let’s talk about income and benefits that should not count as deductions. Things like income tax returns, food and shelter provided by non-profit agencies, home energy assistance, loans that you have to repay, scholarships, etc. There are a myriad of things that do not count. These represent just some common examples. For a complete list, visit the SSA’s website at https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-income-ussi.htm.
If you are living within the Vacaville, Fairfield, Vallejo and Winters areas and would like to chat with an accredited disability expert concerning how your SSI benefits are being paid, please feel free to reach out to us at 707-580-9220. We offer convenient appointments via telephone, Zoom, Facetime or in person to meet your needs.