SSI Benefits Calculator

If you are currently receiving SSI benefits or have applied and been approved for benefits and have income from other sources (wages earned from work or other unearned income), this could affect how much in benefits you receive. In this post, we are going to show you how to use the SSI Benefits Calculator to find out how the Social Security administration calculates Supplemental Security Income and how much benefits you are likely to receive based on your earned or unearned income.

"How is the SSI benefit calculated"

This post will cover:

  • Should I try to Work while getting SSI?
  • How Much Will I Recieve in SSI Benefits?
  • How Income affects your SSI Benefits
  • SSI Benefits Calculator

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income or SSI, is a federal benefit program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides monthly payments to people who have limited income and few resources, and who are:

  • Disabled (at any age), or
  • Age 65 or older

SSI is a needs-based program, which means the amount you receive in benefits depends on the income that is available to you.

However, unlike Social Security retirement benefits, SSI benefits are paid out of general U.S. Treasury funds, not from Social Security taxes.

As a result, you need not have worked a certain amount, or paid FICA taxes, to be eligible.

How Much Will I Recieve in SSI Benefits?

The basic monthly SSI payment for 2020 is the same nationwide. It is:
—$783 for one person.
—$1,175 for a couple.

However, not everyone gets the same amount. You may get more if you live in a state that adds money to the federal SSI payment.

Also, you may receive less if you or your family has other income.

In addition, where and with whom you live also makes a difference in the amount of your
SSI payment.

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia offer supplemental SSI payments.

States that provide additional payments may have their own rules regarding income and eligibility.

Should I try to Work while getting SSI?

If you are able to work while receiving SSI benefits and you earn money, your SSI check will decrease.

However, because less than half of your gross earnings are counted by SSI, you will usually have more money working than when you were not working.

If you currently have a monthly income, half of anything you earn over $85 per month will be deducted from the maximum amount of benefits in order to determine your SSI amount.

How Income affects your SSI Benefits

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program. This means any other income you receive, such as earned income from work, will cause your SSI benefit payment amount to decrease.

If you have any income coming in other than SSI, some of it, but not all of it, will be subtracted from your SSI payment.

The SSA will first look to see what income you have is countable. Countable income includes:

  • money you earn from work (you can make a small amount of money and still be eligible for SSI)
  • food or shelter you get for free, or for less than what it’s worth (called “in-kind support and maintenance,” or IKSM)
  • money you get from friends or family
  • other benefits, such as workers’ compensation, unemployment, SSDI, or a pension.

But not all income is subtracted from your SSI payment. Each month, the SSA does not count:

  • the first $20 of any kind of income you receive
  • the first $65 of money you earn from work, plus half of the remainder
  • food stamps
  • income tax refunds, or
  • food or shelter provided by a nonprofit agency.

We will show you below how wages from work (earned income) will affect your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Please note this calculator is for estimating only. Social Security will make the official determination when you report your wages.

For help in how to report your wages to Social Security, see our SSI Wage Reporting Guide.

To calculate your SSI benefit, just type in your monthly wage before taxes and press tab.

SSI Benefits Calculator

"How to calculate SSI benefits"

To find out how much you will get in SSI Benefits, follow the steps below.

Step 1 – Calculate your Countable Income

If you are currently working a receiving income, here’s what you need to know:

If you earn income, you are allowed to deduct a certain amount of the income before it gets subtracted from your SSI payment.

How Your Income Affects Your SSI Payment

You can subtract $65 of your earned income (wages from work or self-employment income), plus another $20 for earned or unearned income.

Next, subtract half of the remainder. The result is your “countable income.”

Step 2 – Calculate your SSI Payment Benefit Amount

Now that you have shown how to calculate countable income, the next step is to calculate how much you will receive in benefits.

To do that, you simply take the maximum benefit you are available to you, deduct countable unearned income and then deduct countable earned income.

We are going to use three examples below to show you how to calculate your SSI benefits.

Example #1 and #2 are for individual SSI recipients.

Example #3 is for couples receiving SSI benefits.

In example #1, there is both earned and unearned income.

However, in example #2, there is only earned income.

Example #1

As an example, let’s calculate the countable income of someone who has both earned and unearned income.

Let’s say a man has been getting SSI for more than three months. He is married and his wife does not get SSI. Let’s say that two months ago, he received a $300 V.A. Compensation check and he earned $500 in gross wages working at the local convenience store.

In 2020, the maximum federal SSI payment for an individual getting SSI is $783.00.

Here’s what his countable income will be:

SSI Countable Income Calculations:

$300.00      V.A. Compensation

–   20.00    unearned income exclusion

$280.00     countable unearned income

$500.00     gross work earnings

–   65.00   earned income exclusion

$435.00

/          2    second earned income exclusion

$217.50     countable earned income

His countable income will be $217.50. Now that we have the countable income number, it’s time to calculate how much he will get in SSI Benefits

SSI Payment Benefit Amount Calculation:

$783.00    maximum Federal Benefit Amount for 2020

– 280.00   countable unearned income

$503.00

– 217.50   countable earned income

$285.50   SSI Benefit Payment Amount.

He will receive $285.50 in SSI benefits.

If the individual had only earned income, then SSA would have subtracted the $20 general exclusion from the wages in addition to the $65 exclusion before dividing the remaining earnings in half to determine countable earnings.

Example #2 – Earned Income Only

As an example, Let’s say a woman has been getting SSI for more than three months and earns $700 in gross wages working at a grocery store.

In 2020, the maximum federal SSI payment for an individual getting SSI is $783.00.

Here’s what her countable income will be:

SSI Countable Income Calculations:

$700         gross work earnings

–   65.00   earned income exclusion
–   20.00    unearned income exclusion

$615.00

/          2    second earned income exclusion

$307.50     countable earned income

Her countable income will be $307.50.

SSI Payment Benefit Amount Calculation:

$783.00    maximum Federal Benefit Amount for 2020

– 307.50   countable earned income

$475.50   SSI Benefit Payment Amount.

She will receive $475.50 in SSI benefits.

How Couple Payments Are Calculated

In some cases, both a husband and a wife are disabled or over age sixty-five and both receive SSI benefits.

When that happens, their payment amount is determined jointly and then the amount payable to the couple is divided equally and paid separately to each member of the couple.

Here’s an example of how to calculate a couple’s SSI benefits if both are recipients.

As an example, a married couple both receive SSI benefits. The man has $300.00 in V.A. Compensation and earns $500 a month in a job. His wife receives $35 a month from a friend and works earning $400 monthly.

Example #3

Here’s what their benefit payment will look like:

First, we will calculate their combined countable income:

SSI Countable Income Calculations:

$300.00        V.A. Compensation (husband)

+  35.00       cash gift( wife)

$ 335.00       total unearned income

–   20.00      unearned income exclusion

$315.00        total countable unearned income

$500.00        gross work earnings (husband)

$400.00        gross work earnings (wife)

$900.00        total countable earned income

–   65.00      earned income exclusion

$835.00

/          2     second earned income exclusion

$417.50     countable earned income

This couple will have a combined countable income of $417.50.

Next, we will calculate how much they will receive in SSI benefits.

SSI Payment Calculation

$1,175.00    maximum Federal Benefit Amount for 2020.

–    315.00   countable unearned income

$ 860.00

–    417.50   countable earned income

$ 442.50.     SSI payable to the couple

/             2

$ 221.25.   The amount the husband and wife will each receive in SSI benefits.

SSI Benefits Calculator Summary

We hope this post on SSI Benefits Calculator was helpful.

If you have further questions about Social Security, SSI, or SSDI, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles on Social Security including SSI payments ScheduleSocial Security Questions and Answers, and SSI Wage reporting instructions