Bridges Resource Library

SSI (Supplemental Security Income) – Fast Financial Facts

Updated as of February 26, 2024.

SSI in Brief

  • 2024 maximum benefit for SSI: $943
  • Benefits can be reduced if you have too much income (including gifts)
    • Monthly benefits are reduced by $1 for every $2 of EARNED of income
    • Monthly benefits are reduced by $1 for every $1 of ANY OTHER KIND of income (not EARNED)
  • Work incentives: Exclusions from earned income
    • Student Earned Income Exclusion
    • Blind Work Expenses
    • Others

SSI Disability Eligibility

  • Legally blind – special treatment in some cases
  • Other disabilities

SSI Financial Eligibility

Limitations on Resources

  • The limit is VERY low
    • For singles: $2,000
    • For married couples: $3,000
  • ANYTIME your resources exceed these limits, you are ineligible for SSI

Limitations on Income

  • Used to determine Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) for eligibility

Includes ALL income:

  • Earned income, including wages, self-employment income, cash paid for work, etc.
  • Unearned income, including cash gifts, other Social Security benefits, interest and dividends from investments, etc.
  • In-kind income, such as food or shelter provided for free or at less than market value
    • When you live with someone (even a parent) for free
    • If not paying for rent or food, your monthly SSI payment will be cut by one-third.
    • The maximum SSI monthly benefit in 2024 is $943. A one-third reduction lowers that payment to $628.67 — a reduction of $314.33 each month – a total of $3,722 in a year.
  • Deemed income, usually the income of a spouse, if you have one.

Exclusions from income

  • Unearned income exclusion = $20/month
  • EARNED income exclusions:
    • General earned income exclusion = $65
    • Student Income Exclusion
      • Available until age 22
      • Maximum monthly income in 2024: $2,290
      • Maximum annual income in 2024: $9,230
    • Blind Work Expenses (BWE)
      • Excludes any earned income that you use to meet expenses in earning that income
      • Common examples include state and federal payroll taxes, and money spent for meals at work
    • Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
      • An additional exclusion/work incentive
      • A written plan of action for getting a particular kind of job or starting a business.  In it, you identify:
        • The job or business (this is your work goal).
        • The steps you will take and the things you will need in order to achieve your work goal (for example:  education or training, transportation, child care, or assistive technology).
        • The money you will use to pay for these things (this may be any income– other than SSI payments– or assets, such as Social Security benefits, wages from a current job, or savings).
        • A timetable for achieving your goal.
      • Can get help writing the PASS
      • Must submit for approval

Medical Insurance for SSI Recipients

  • Maryland provides Medicaid eligibility to people eligible for SSI benefits. The SSI application is also the Medicaid application. Medicaid eligibility starts the same month as SSI eligibility.
  • One-month waiting period
  • What about SSI recipients who lose some or all of their SSI due to earned income
    • Note: Must still qualify for SSI under disability AND resources
    • Those who lose some or all of their SSI may keep their Medicaid coverage [Section 1619(a)-(b)]
    • Maryland’s annual income limit for Section 1619 benefits 2024 is $52,892
      • If earning that much, no longer qualify for SSI
      • Nevertheless, will still receive Medicaid

Other Benefits That May Be Available to SSI Recipients

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

  • Often called “food stamps”
  • Eligibility based on gross income

Lifeline: Free/low-cost internet or cell phone

  • Offers discounts for phone and internet services from approved companies
  • Available to those receiving SSI or SNAP benefits

Tuition Waiver at Maryland Community Colleges for SSI and SSDI Recipients Bridges Resource Library entry

  • For up to 6 credits per semester or up to 12 credits per semester if the individual is enrolled in classes as part of a degree or a certificate program designed to lead to employment
  • For continuing education designed to lead to employment, including life skills instruction
  • Available to those receiving SSI or SSDI benefits

Amazon Prime Access

  • Discounted Amazon Prime membership
  • Available to those receiving SSI or SNAP benefits

Museums for All program

Download Available

BWE Calculation Spreadsheet (two worksheets: SSI Calculation & BWE Calculation)

Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information

Our Accessible web form


Text: Send to: (410) 357-1546

Voice mail: Call (410) 357-1546, leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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