Here is a common problem. You apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but then Social Security tells you that your spouse is making too much money for you to be eligible.
How much is too much?
It was surprisingly difficult to track down an answer. But, at long last, I was able to find out that in order to be eligible for Social Security your countable income has to be less than the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). According to Social Security, countable income is the amount left after, “eliminating from consideration all items that are not income; and applying all appropriate exclusions to the items that are income.” Then, “the amount actually subtracted from the maximum Federal benefit to determine your eligibility and to compute your monthly payment amount.”
In 2012, the FBR is $698 per month for individuals and $1048 for couples — up from $674 for individuals, and $1,011 for couples (where it has held steady for the last three years: 2011, 2010, and 2009). Normally, there is an annual change to the FBR. In 2008, the FBR was $637 per month for individuals, and $956 per month for couples. This page lists the Federal Benefit Rates back to 1998.
So, your spouse has to be making less than these amounts to keep you eligible for SSI benefits. At least, that is the best answer I am able to find to this surprisingly tricky question.
I am not addressing the difference between countable income and non-countable income. For that I refer you to your local Social Security office. This is just to give you a ball-park idea of how much of your spouse’s income may be too much. I encourage anyone trying to find out if they qualify financially for SSI, to check with Social Security.
Updated: January 12, 2012=========================================================
Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .