Break-Even Point

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at your finances to determine if you are financially qualified to receive disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, they review your earned and unearned income.

A portion of your finances from both these categories is considered “countable” under SSI eligibility rules:

  • For children who are applying for SSI, a portion of their parents earned and unearned income will be “deemed countable” under SSI rules.
  • For Spouses whose partner has earned or unearned income, a portion of these financial resources will also be “deemed countable” for the disability applicant.

The Break-Even Point for SSI is the level at which countable earned and unearned income from all sources has one of two affects on SSI benefits:

  • It causes the amount of your monthly benefits to be reduced
  • OR

  • It causes your benefits to end.

The amount of benefits you receive through SSI cannot exceed the federal benefit rate (FBR). The FBR is adjusted slightly on an annual basis in order to account for inflation and other economic factors. For example, the 2016 FBR for SSI benefits is:

  • $733.00 per month for an individual
  • $1,100.00 per month for a couple in which both individuals are eligible for SSI

If your countable earned and unearned income is equal to or exceeds the FBR, then you are considered to be at the break-even point.

The SSA will utilize somewhat complex computation methods to either reduce your monthly benefits or determine that you are no longer eligible to receive SSI based on the amount of your break-even point details.