Thursday, October 2, 2014

Resource Limits in the SSI Program

 As a program based on need, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) uses the value of a person's resources as one of two “need” criteria in determining eligibility. (The other need criterion is income.)  Resources are cash and other property, including personal property and real property, that an individual owns or has the right to convert to cash.

To be eligible for SSI, an individual’s countable resources must not exceed $2,000 as of the first moment of a given month.  For an eligible couple (two SSI recipients considered to be married to each other) the combined countable resources of the members must not exceed $3,000.  If countable resources are above the limit as of the first of the month, the individual (or couple) is not due an SSI payment or associated Medicaid coverage for that month.
Not everything that an individual owns meets the SSI definition of a resource and not all resources count against the statutory limit. Below is a partial list of some types of resources that are excluded under the SSI program. 
·         Household goods and personal effects,
·         Medical devices and adaptive equipment,
·         The home in which the beneficiary lives,
·         One automobile per household,
·         Burial funds up to a certain value
·         Student financial assistance received under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), including Pell grants and Work-Study grants,
·         Some trusts.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hi Everyone From The WIPA Leadership Call!!!!

Any questions may be directed to:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Earned Income Tax Credit for 2013

With tax time just around the corner, 
here’s some valuable information on the 
Earned Income Tax Credit for 2013!

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?   
Sometimes called the Earned Income Credit (EIC), is a tax credit that can help individuals keep more of the income they have earned through working.  Congress approved the tax credit legislation in part to provide an incentive to work. When EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to the individuals who claim and qualify for the credit.

How does one qualify for  EITC for the 2013 tax year?  
You must file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not otherwise required to file a return. You must also meet certain other requirements, including income limits. Your earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than: 
  • $45,060 ($50,270 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children; 
  • $41,952 ($47,162 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children; 
  • $36,920 ($42,130 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child; 
  • $13,980 ($19,190 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children.
What is the maximum credit for the 2013 Tax Year?
  • $5,891 with three or more qualifying children;
  • $5,236 with two qualifying children;
  • $3,169 with one qualifying child;
  • $475 with no qualifying children.

And just a reminder... any EITC refund does not count as income and is excluded from the resource limit for 12 months!

Any questions may be directed to:  or

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) 2014

Important Changes in Social Security for 2014

·Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). The 2014 SGA guideline is $1800 for persons who are blind and $1070 for persons with disabilities other than blindness. In 2013, SGA for persons who are blind was $1740 and  $1040 for persons with disabilities other than blindness.

· Trial Work Period (TWP) Months. The earnings amount to determine if the month is counted as a TWP month went from $750 in 2013 to $770 per month in 2014.

· Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).  The highest SSI payment amount an individual could receive per month in 2013 was $710. This changed to $721 in 2014. For eligible couples, this amount was $1066 in 2013 and was raised to $1082 for 2014.

· Student Earned-Income Exclusion (SEIE).  To qualify for SEIE, an SSI recipient must be under the age of 22, regularly attending school, and working. The amount of earnings that may be excluded in 2014 is $7060 per year or $1750 per month.

· The earnings needed to earn one Social Security Credit (quarter of coverage) is $1200 in 2014.

· Information about Medicare changes for 2014 is available at

· A complete listing of all 2014 Social Security changes can be found at

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Change For Veterans in SSA's Rules

Want to let you know about a change that SSA is making in their Program Operations Manual System, or POMS. The POMS reference is: RS 01402.485 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Incentive Therapy (IT) and Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Programs.

Here is an excerpt from the SSA change notice. To read the whole notice, go to this LINK.


We are providing a new section, RS 01402.485 Department of Veterans Affairs Incentive Therapy (IT) and Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Programs, to clarify that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers income received from these programs as non- taxable medical services.

Summary of Changes

RS 01402.485 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Incentive Therapy (IT) and Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Programs

This section is new and includes an introduction to the VA’s IT and CWT Programs. This section also includes policy on how the Internal Revenue Service treats income from the IT and CWT Programs.

Any questions may be directed to:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Question: Is Rental Income Earned Income?

In most cases this question relates to a beneficiary who owns a house that he/she rents out, or when a beneficiary lives in a house and rents out a room or owns a duplex that he/she lives in and rents out the other unit.

The basic rule of thumb in cases like these is that net rental income counts as unearned income (meaning not subject to FICA per POMS Section RS 02505.240) unless it is earned income from self-employment (e.g., someone who is in the business of renting properties). This is actually stated very clearly for SSI recipients in the POMS.

Of course, for SSI recipients, unearned income is treated less favorably than earned income since only the $20 General Income Exclusion is applied to unearned income. In addition, if the SSI recipient owns a home which he/she does not live in because it is rented out, then the property would be a countable resource.

If the SSI recipient is actually self-employed and in the business of renting property, then any Net Earnings from Self-Employment (NESE) the business generates would be decreased by any applicable work incentives when SSA is determining countable NESE. The countable NESE would affect the SSI cash payment in the usual manner.

On the Title II side, it is more complicated. There is no specific citation in the DI section of the POMS saying that rental income is not counted as earned unless the beneficiary is self-employed in the business of renting properties. This is implied when SSA defines what to count by describing earnings or self-employment income as income a person receives in exchange for his/her work activity – it is remuneration for work performed. In most cases, simply renting out one’s home or a portion of one’s home would not constitute work activity – it is too passive and is not subject to FICA. Unless a beneficiary is engaged in the business of renting property, the money received from renting a single house would typically NOT be considered earned income. If the rental income is not considered to be earned, then it would not be considered when SSA makes TWP or SGA determinations.

Of course, there are times when the situation becomes more complicated. What if the person rents out multiple pieces of property – does that mean the person is in the rental business? SSA must make the decision on a case-by-case basis. They first look to see if the beneficiary is engaged in “trade or business.” To make this determination, the SSA asks the following questions:

· Is there a good faith intention of making a profit or producing income?
· Is there continuity of operations, repetition of transactions, or regularity of activities?
· Are the functions being performed a regular occupation or profession?
· Is the beneficiary holding himself out to others as being engaged in the selling of goods or services?

(From POMS Section RS 01802.002)

SSA is looking for an overall pattern with these questions. One ‘yes’ answer to these questions is insufficient to make a determination of self-employment, but they need not all be answered with “yes” for self-employment to be determined to exist. If SSA determines that the beneficiary is self-employed, any countable NESE from the business will be considered during TWP and SGA determinations.

REMEMBER: Determinations of what is or is NOT earned income can only be made by SSA. If there is any doubt, refer the beneficiary to the local Social Security Field Office for clarification. If the beneficiary does not agree with the determination rendered by SSA, he/she may request reconsideration as part of the standard appeals process.

Any questions may be directed to:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trial Work Period (TWP) in a Nutshell

The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for at least 9 months. During your TWP, you will receive full SSDI benefits regardless of how high your earnings might be, as long as you report your work activity and you have a disabling impairment.

Your TWP starts the first month you are entitled to SSDI benefits or the month you file for benefits, whichever is later. The TWP continues until you accumulate 9 months (not necessarily consecutive) in which you perform what we call “services” within a rolling 60-month period. We use this “services” rule only to count TWP months.

In 2011, we consider your work to be “services” for the TWP if your gross earnings are more than $720 a month, or if you work more than 80 hours in self-employment in a month.

When your TWP is complete, you may become eligible for other employment supports and we consider whether any of them apply to your situation.

Kjellan Loe
Rehab Services, Inc.

Any questions may be directed to: