Man outside in a wheelchair looking at his phone smiling.

Most people that depend on the Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) get eager about the annual increase in the benefits. However, the amount you see online might not be what ends up in your account. The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates the rates differently depending on one’s situation.

It is common for people to receive less than they had expected. Sometimes, the figure could be accurate, and at other times, it might have been a mistake in calculations. Tampa Bay social security law firm can guide you in your fact-finding mission to ensure that you receive the right SSI.

Will Clarifying My Income Increase My SSI?

According to the SSA, income could be anything that can be applied to meet basic needs. Thinking that only salaries and wages will be factored in your SSI calculations would be misleading. If you can use it directly, convert it, or sell it for your food or shelter needs, then the SSA will use it to calculate your SSI.

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Deemed Income

The SSA considers the income of people you live with, such as:

  • Your sponsor, if you are an alien
  • A parent
  • A spouse

In-Kind Income

This includes any shelter or food you get at a price lower than the fair market value or for free.

Unearned Income

Income that you haven’t earned is also factored in the SSI calculations. This could include:

  • Cash from relatives and friends
  • Dividends
  • Interest income
  • Unemployment benefits
  • State disability payments
  • Pensions
  • Social Security benefits

Earned Income

The income you might have earned could include:

  • Sheltered workshop payments
  • Honoraria income
  • Royalties
  • Net earnings from self-employment
  • Wages

Failure to count any of the above as income, could be why you received less SSI than expected. Speak to social security disability lawyers in Tampa to determine if the amount you received is accurate per these standards.

How Does Marriage Increase or Decrease SSI Benefits?

In 2022, individuals are expected to receive $841 in SSI benefits. But if you get married, the amount might change depending on your spouse’s status. If they are ineligible for these benefits, their resources and income can change your benefits.

If you and your spouse get SSI separately, your rates might change from individual to couple rates. Cumulatively, you might receive $1,261 in 2022. If you split the couple rates by two, you might realize that it could be less than the amount you were receiving individually.

Should My SSI Increase When I Change My Living Arrangements?

Deemed income is a significant consideration in calculating SSI benefits in Florida. Some of your parents, spouse’s, or sponsor’s income might be considered in awarding you the benefits. However, this might need to change if your situation changes.

You might be eligible for a higher SSI if:

  • An alien’s sponsorship ends
  • A blind or disabled child turns 18
  • You don’t live with a parent or spouse anymore

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If you haven’t communicated these changes to the SSA, the chances are that you will receive less SSI than you should. A Tampa lawyer can guide you on reaching out to the proper governing body to effect the changes as soon as possible.

Which Income is Irrelevant in Calculating SSI?

Including income that doesn’t count to calculate SSI can also give you false expectations. Some of these incomes include:

  • Advanced tax credits and tax refunds received after the end of 2009
  • The first $2,000 earned for participating in clinical trials
  • Disaster assistance
  • Work expenses of blind persons
  • Impairment-related work expenses
  • Earning of up to $7,770 per year or $1,930 per month for under 22 -year-old students
  • Income under Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
  • Money spent by others to help you pay for anything other than food and shelter
  • Loans that you have to repayFood or shelter provided by non-profit agencies based on need
  • Gifts, fellowships, scholarships, or grants used for educational and tuition expenses
  • Small amounts of income received irregularly or infrequently
  • Assistance based on need by the local or state government, or an Indian tribe
  • Home energy assistance
  • Income tax refunds
  • Food stamps received
  • Half of the earnings above $65 and the first $65 of monthly earnings
  • The first $20 of most monthly incomes

Notably, many other incomes are excluded from SSI calculations. If you have questions about an income you’ve earned, consult with Tampa social security disability attorneys.

How Can I Tell if My SSI Was Calculated Correctly?

The calculations begin by subtracting uncountable income from the total gross income to get the countable income. After that, the countable income is deducted from your SSI benefit rate to get your monthly benefit.

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Failure to do the math correctly can leave you expecting the wrong amount of SSI benefit in Florida. So, make sure that you get the figures right, and if there are inconsistencies, consult with a social security disability lawyer in Tampa for skilled legal advice.

Does a Windfall Offset Affect My SSI Benefits?

A windfall offset happens when you are set to receive both SSI benefits and Social Security for the same months. Usually, your SSI benefits would have been reduced by the amount of Social Security you would have received that month.

Instead, your Social Security might be reduced by that amount while the SSI amount remains intact. To learn more about how windfall offset works, schedule an appointment with an attorney in Tampa and ask all the questions.

Attorneys Providing a Voice for Those Who Need It The Most

It would be unfair to receive less SSI income than you deserve. Sometimes, you might have miscalculated the expected benefit. The calculations are complicated, and you can easily get it wrong. Appealing the wrong amount is also an uphill task in Florida.

The social security disability lawyers at our law firm can assist Florida residents that have received less than they think they deserve. They will first work out the correct amount and determine possible inadequacies. After that, they will advise on the way forward. Kindly speak to us today to discuss your situation.

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