While children may receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), qualifying medically is just one step in the process of receiving an award of benefits. SSI claimants, adults, and children alike, must also meet financial requirements. Deemed income and resources is a term applied to the portion of an ineligible relative’s income and resources that are imputed to an applicant for SSI benefits. Deemed income is used in measuring whether an applicant meets the SSI resource limit, as well as calculating the payment of SSI benefits.

Thus, if a child is under the age of 18, unmarried, living at home with parent(s) who do not receive SSI benefits, a portion of the parents’ income and resources is considered to be available to the child.  This occurs whether or not the parent is a natural, adoptive parent, or a stepparent.

Because this considers the time periods when a child is subject to parental control, taking into consideration when a child is temporarily away at school, returns home during weekends, holidays or during the summer, the analysis may be complicated. Further complicating this calculation, not all types of income are included in the equation, such as money received for providing foster care to an ineligible child. An experienced and knowledgeable disability attorney may provide assistance for this potentially confusing analysis.

Deductions are made from deemed income for parents and for other children living in the home, the subtracted, which arrives at the amount that determines if the child meets the SSI income and resource requirements for a monthly benefit.

Deeming from the parent stops when a child attains the age of majority, 18, marries, or no longer lives with a parent. Deeming does not apply, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) may minimally pay the applicable State supplement when:

  • a disabled child receives a reduced SSI benefit while in a medical treatment facility; and
  • the child is eligible for Medicaid under a State home care plan; and
  • deeming would otherwise cause ineligibility for SSI benefits.

Also, the income of a parent for deeming purposes is not considered if the parent receives a Public Income Maintenance payment and the parent’s income was used to compute such payment.

If either child or parent is temporarily absent from the household for a period of fewer than 60 days, the rules about deemed income still apply. Children living with a parent in the military service overseas may receive SSI benefits, but they are not eligible for Medicaid.

The SSA provides a Deeming Eligibility Chart for Children that lists the highest amount of gross monthly income for the applicable year before taxes are withheld that a parent(s) may earn or receive to allow a child to qualify for SSI benefits. The charts indicate the points at which deemed income affects a recipient’s benefit or causes payment to cease.

The charts do not apply if there is a combination of earned and unearned income, if the “Value of the One-Third Reduction” or VTR is applicable, if children have income, or if there is more than one eligible child in the household. Earned income is considered wages or net earnings from self-employment and unearned income is typically considered Social Security benefits, pensions, unemployment compensation, interest income, and State disability benefits.

In summary, the Deeming Eligibility Chart for Children does not apply when:

  • The parent(s) receives both earned and unearned income.
  • The parent(s) receives a public income maintenance payment.
  • The parent pays court-ordered support payments.
  • The child has income of his or her own.
  • Any ineligible child has income of his or her own, marries, or leaves the home.
  • There is more than one disabled child applying for or receiving SSI benefits.
  • The applicant’s state supplements the Federal benefit.

Calculating income including deemed income and a child’s eligibility for SSI is a complicated analysis. However, a disability attorney may provide assistance to all SSI applicants in making this determination. Whether you are 10, 30, or 50, the assistance of an experienced disability attorney may help you navigate the often lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. Contact the Sullivan Law Office to get the help you need in the Louisville metro area. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.Children & SSI: Deemed Income Explained