"Deeming of Income" in Social Security Disability
Navigating the maze of Social Security Disability can be challenging, especially when faced with terms and concepts that seem unfamiliar. One such term is “deeming of income.” Understanding what it means, its implications, and its significance in the disability benefit process is crucial for those seeking or currently receiving benefits. In this article, we’ll dissect the concept of “deeming of income” and its implications for Social Security Disability applicants and recipients.
Definition of “Deeming of Income”
“Deeming of income” refers to the process by which the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a portion of another person’s income as available to a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicant or recipient. This concept exists because SSI is a needs-based program, meaning it is designed to provide financial aid to individuals with limited income and resources.
When Deeming Occurs
Deeming of income typically happens in the following scenarios:
- Spousal Deeming
If an SSI applicant or recipient lives with a spouse who is not receiving SSI, the SSA may deem a portion of the spouse’s income as available to the applicant or recipient. This means that the non-SSI spouse’s income, after certain exclusions and deductions, could reduce the SSI benefit amount or even lead to ineligibility.
- Parent-to-Child Deeming
For children under age 18 applying for or receiving SSI, the SSA may deem a portion of the income of a parent (or parents) living in the same household to the child, even if the parent is not eligible for SSI themselves3. As with spousal deeming, this can impact the child’s benefit amount or eligibility.
Exclusions and Deductions
It’s essential to understand that not all of the deemed income is directly subtracted from SSI benefits. The SSA allows for specific exclusions and deductions, ensuring that only a portion of the deemed income affects the SSI benefit amount. For instance:
- An allocation is allowed for ineligible children living in the household.
- Certain general income exclusions are applied, such as the first $20 of most income received in a month.
- If the deemed individual (i.e., the spouse or parent whose income is being deemed) has earned income, further deductions like a $65 exclusion for earned income and half of the remaining earned income can be applied.
Implications for SSI Recipients
Deeming of income can profoundly affect an individual’s or family’s financial situation:
- Reduced Benefit Amount: The more income that’s deemed to an SSI recipient, the lower their monthly benefit amount will be.
- Possible Ineligibility: If the combined income (including deemed income) exceeds the SSI income limits, the individual may be rendered ineligible for benefits.
Your Best Bet is a Legal Professional
“Deeming of income” plays a pivotal role in the calculation and eligibility of SSI benefits. While the concept can seem intricate, understanding its nuances ensures that SSI recipients or applicants are well-equipped to make informed decisions about their financial futures and entitlements, and the best way to ensure that understanding is by consulting with a qualified social security disability attorney.