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Unearned Income

While an applicant for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits doesn’t need to be concerned about the amount of their financial assets, and can still qualify for disability benefits with an earned income up to a certain monthly threshold, eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does take an applicant’s earned income, financial assets, and unearned income into account.

Unearned income is any income that is not achieved through employment or from involvement in self-employed business activities. Unearned income can include, but is not limited to:

  • Money provided by someone else for paying your own expenses
  • Housing, food or other essential needs that are provided by someone else
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Pension or retirement benefits
  • Workers’ compensation benefits
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Life insurance payouts and inheritance, including property and cash
  • Alimony and child support payments
  • Income from rental properties you own
  • Union benefits

Some earned and unearned income is counted in determining your eligibility for SSI, while other income is not. Additionally, earned and unearned income can affect the amount of SSI benefits you’re entitled to receive each month if you are deemed eligible for this program.

SSI is a cash benefit available to SSD recipients who have very limited financial resources. To qualify for SSI, your income from all countable sources – earned and unearned, money and services – cannot exceed the maximum monthly SSI benefit amount for an individual with your particular living and other circumstances. Additionally, your SSI benefit amount may be reduced in proportion the countable resources, including the countable unearned income you have at your disposal.