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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a safety-net benefit that the Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees for older, disabled and blind people with very low incomes and limited assets. Because eligibility depends on financial need, Social Security periodically reviews SSI recipients’ economic and living circumstances to determine if they still qualify for benefits and are receiving the correct amount.
This procedure, called a redetermination, is distinct from a disability review, Social Security’s process for checking that someone getting benefits on the basis of a serious illness or injury still meets the medical qualifications. Redetermination is concerned only with nonmedical aspects of SSI eligibility, specifically a beneficiary’s income, resources and living arrangements.
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What happens in a redetermination?
You’ll be asked to provide information, via an interview with an SSA representative or by filling out a form, about changes in your life related to those three eligibility factors. Here’s why.
To receive SSI, your income that Social Security considers “countable” cannot exceed the maximum federal benefit payment for the program, which the SSA sets and is adjusted annually for inflation. Countable income can include both earnings from work and money from other sources such as investment returns and government benefits.
In 2023, the maximum benefit is $914 a month for an individual and $1,371 for a married couple who are both eligible for SSI. If your countable income is below that level, you can get SSI, but your payments might be reduced. Social Security doesn’t count every dollar you bring in — for example, a portion of work income is excluded from the equation — but what it does count can be subtracted from your monthly SSI benefit.