How Is My Monthly Benefit Amount Determined Under SSI?

The monthly benefit amount under SSI is a set rate per individual or couple

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Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amount is a set rate. Each person receiving SSI benefits receives the same base amount; however, same states supplement these benefits and income (in cash or in-kind) can offset these amounts. The Federal Benefit Rates (FBR) for 2015 are $733 for an eligible individual, $1,100 for a couple (you and your spouse are both eligible for SSI benefits), and $365 for an “essential person” (generally, a child). These amounts are set each year and are determined based on the average wage index and cost-of-living adjustments.


Income is considered on a monthly basis. It can include anything you receive to meet your needs of food and/or shelter. SSA considers income both “in cash” and “in-kind”. In cash is money you receive through work. It is actual money you receive. In-kind is not cash. It is food or shelter that is provided to you, or something you can use to access food or shelter. Each month, your “countable income” is determined. This is the total income (in cash and/or in kind) you receive. SSA subtracts your countable income from the FBR to determine your eligibility and calculate your monthly benefit amount.

State Supplements

Each state has its own rules regarding SSI supplements. The amounts range from $10 to $200. SSA administers state supplements in California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont. There are currently no SSI supplements in Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, and West Virginia. All other states administer their own supplements, for which an additional application must be filed.

"Back pay"

Unlike SSDI, under SSI, your entitlement to benefits begins the first full month following the month in which you applied for benefits. After you have been approved, you will receive your monthly payment, along with up to three incremental back payments given six months apart. Because this is a need-based program, certain technical requirements apply. Since you must be below the asset and resource limits, SSA will not provide you with one lump sum of these past due benefits unless you have extenuating circumstances regarding medical needs or debts related to shelter.

For more information on your state’s supplements or how your income may offset your SSI payments, contact us now. We are here to help!

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