Do You Have To Qualify For SSI Financially?

Social Security uses the same medical determination process to medically qualify you for Social Security Disability and SSI disability. While the same medical determination qualification process exists for both programs, SSI disability applicants must also meet income and resource requirements to qualify for disability benefits.

Social Security reviews income and resources (resources is term that Social Security uses for "assets") at the time of your initial disability application, and again if you are medically approved for disability benefits.

In this sense, you do have to qualify for SSI financially even when you already medically qualify for disability. SSI is a need based disability program and like most other social help programs there are financial requirements.


The SSI disability program resource limit is $2000.00 for an individual and $3000.00 for a couple. SSI resource limits have been the same for many years, however they are subject to change should Social Security determine to do so.

Social Security allows an individual or couple to exclude one vehicle (usually the highest valued) and the home and land they live on. All other resources (i.e. land, stocks, bonds, houses, 401K account, or any other resource that can be easily converted to cash) are counted against the resource limit.


The SSI income limit is somewhat more subjective in that the limit amount is subject to other variables such as household composition when work earnings are involved. In this kind of situation, we are speaking of work income provided by a spouse rather than the disability beneficiary.

Social Security allows more income to be earned through work if the family is larger. The income limit amount of a family of six is more than the income amount limit of a family of four.

While Social Security allows for more income to be earned by a non-disabled spouse, the disability applicant is still bound by SGA rules. If an SSI applicant has earnings over the SGA limit, their disability claim is denied.

There are types of income other than work that could cause an applicant not to financially qualify for SSI disability benefits. Income derived from workman's compensation, short term or long term disability, trust funds, retirement, or unemployment benefits counts dollar for dollar against the SSI monthly disability benefit amount, if the applicant receives more than the SSI monthly disability amount their disability claim is denied.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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