SSI: Why Not Everyone Gets It

By now, you are probably familiar with the different kinds of Social Security benefits for which people can apply and potentially receive. One such benefit is Social Security SSI, or Supplemental Security Income. Not everyone who applies receives this benefit, and not everyone automatically qualifies if they receive another form of SS benefit. Here are some of the more common reasons why you may not receive SSI, even if your Social Security Disability lawyer is successful at getting your application accepted for disability benefits (i.e., SSDI) or early retirement benefits (which may have been denied for strange reasons). 

Household Income Exceeds Federal Allowances for SSI

SSI is "supplemental," which means that you only receive it when your household income is substantially less than the government allows or expects for household income. This does not exclude your spouse's income from the calculations. If there is a second income in the home, the SSA counts that as it calculates your SSI amount and whether or not you qualify for SSI in the first place.

When the second income and your own Social Security or Social Security Disability benefits are lumped together for this purpose, your household income can easily exceed the allowable limits by SSA. Additionally, if your spouse already receives retirement or disability benefits, SSI benefits will either drop, or you could lose them completely.

Your Retirement Accounts Have Too Much Money

If you spend your whole life planning for retirement and then successfully amass hundreds of thousands of dollars that you can tap into when you retire, SSA counts this money too. If it is easily accessible, it counts as "monthly income." They do not count "future income" when future income does not apply to the present. It is only when you can access and use the funds from your retirement accounts in the present will SSA count that money against you when calculating your SSI and/or qualification for SSI benefits.

Additionally, if you have substantial money in retirement accounts when you are ready to retire, you may not receive regular retirement benefits because you have enough money already. Regular retirement benefits from Social Security are a benefit paid to those who have little to no income after retirement age- not a benefit for the independently wealthy.

Special Retirement Accounts or Your Deceased Spouse's Pension

If your spouse has already passed away and leaves you with a substantial pension or special interest group benefits (e.g., Railroad worker's union benefits, Native American benefits, etc.), then you may not receive SSI either. SSI is strictly a benefit for those in greater need of financial stability and who do not have extra funds to support themselves. Any and all extra money, regardless of source, is considered when determining if you qualify for SSI.