Disability Appeals in North Carolina  -   33 Years Experience
David R. Paletta
Disability Attorney

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Boone
North Carolina

(919) 491-5643

SSI Regulations (updated 9/7/17)

Published by David Paletta

In order to be eligible for SSI disability benefits, an individual must meet Resource and Income limits set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  If the limits are not met, the individual can NOT receive benefits even if he or she is disabled.  A summary of the regulations is set forth below.

For 2017 the SSI benefit is $735 per month, subject to the regulations below.

SI 00810.001.   Who is eligible?     

(B)(1) An individual is eligible for SSI benefits if the person:

• is disabled, is blind or is 65 or older; and

• meets the income and resource limits.


Rule 1.  In 2017, you can NOT earn more than $1,170 per month.  If you earn more than $1,170 per month, you are engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and do not qualify for disability benefits. 

Rule 2.  To qualify for SSI in 2017, your "countable monthly income" cannot exceed $735 per month.  The regulations that define "countable monthly income" are set forth below.

SI 00810.005.   What is Income? 

(A)(1). Income is any item an individual receives in cash or in-kind that can be used to meet his or her need for food or shelter.

(A)(3). In-kind income is not cash, but is actually food, or shelter, or some item that can be used to get one of these basic items.

SI 00810.015. Types of Income.

• Income is either earned or unearned, and different rules apply to each.

• Earned income is wages, etc.

• Unearned income is everything else (alimony, child support, rent, in-kind support)

SI 00810.400. Statutory Exclusions.

SI 00810.410. Infrequent or Irregular Income Exclusion.

(A)(1) Income is considered to be infrequently if an individual receives it only once during a calendar quarter from a single source AND the individual did not receive that type of income in the month immediately preceding that month or in the month immediately subsequent to that month.

(A)(3) Income is considered to be received irregularly if an individual cannot reasonably expect to receive it.

SI 00810.420. $20 per month general Income Exclusion.

SI 00815.001 What is not Income - General.

(B)   What is not income.

An item received is NOT income if:

• it is neither food nor shelter;  or

• it cannot be used to obtain food or shelter.

Reminder. When an item is not income, it may count as a resource.

SI 00815.050. Medical and Social Services.

(A) Medical and Social Services are NOT income.

(E)(1) Any in-kind items (including food, or shelter) provided by a governmental medical or social services program are NOT income unless provided in remuneration for sheltered employment or as incentive payments.

(E)(2) Any in-kind items (other than food, or shelter) provided by a non-governmental medical or social services program are NOT income.

SI 00815.150. Personal Services.

(A) A personal service (mowing, baby sitting) performed for an individual is NOT income.

SI 00815.200. Conversion or Sale of a Resource.

(A) Receipts from the sale, exchange or replacement of a resource are not income but are resources that have changed their form.

SI 00815.350. Proceeds of a Loan.

(A) Proceeds of a (bona fide) loan are NOT income to the borrower because of the borrower's obligation to repay.

SI 00815.400. Bills paid by a Third Party.

(A) Payment of an individual's bills by a 3rd party directly to the supplier is NOT income. 

However, anything received in kind as a result of the payment IS income if it is food or shelter.

SI 00820.500 Earned Income Exclusions 

The source and amount of all earned income must be determined, but not all earned income counts when determining SSI eligibility and payment amount.  First, income is excluded as authorized by other Federal laws.  Then, other income exclusions are applied, in the following order, to the rest of earned income in the month:

a. Earned income tax credit payments (effective January 1, 1991) and child tax credit payments.

b. Up to $30 of earned income in a calendar quarter if it is infrequent or irregular.

c. Earned income of blind or disabled student children up to the student earned income exclusion (SEIE) monthly limit , but not more than the SEIE yearly limit. (See SI 00820.510 for monthly and yearly SEIE limits).

d. Any portion of the $20 monthly general income exclusion which has not been excluded from unearned income in that same month.

e. $65 of earned income in a month.

f. Earned income of disabled individuals used to pay impairment-related work expenses.

g. One-half of remaining earned income in a month.

h. Earned income of blind individuals used to meet work expenses.

i. Any earned income used to fulfill an approved plan to achieve self-support.

SI 00835.001 (A). Policy on living arrangements and in-kind support maintenance.

In-kind support and maintenance (ISM) is unearned income in the form of food or shelter or both.

(A)(1) We reduce the SSI payment by 1/3 when an individual or couple

• lives throughout the month in another person's household; AND

• receives both food and shelter from others living in that household.

SI 00835.120 Rental Liability.

(A)(1) Rental Liability.  An individual is living in his own household when there is liability to the Landlord for payment of rent on the part of the individual or living-with eligible spouse.

(A)(3) Rental Liability Period.

A rental liability period is the time span covered by a rental agreement.  (a)  The period begins with the first month for which the Landlord requires the payment of rent, but never before the month in which the rental agreement is made, whether or not the tenant actually pays rent.

(A)(4) Rental Liability - Room rental within a private dwelling.

Room rental within a private dwelling is a form of rental liability.

• When an individual lives in the same dwelling with the Landlord, he/she must be in a separate household from the Landlord's in order to have rental liability.

• A separate household functions as a separate economic unit, and more than one economic unit may exist in a single dwelling.  If the individual and the Landlord do NOT function as separate economic units, the individual is NOT in a separate household and cannot have rental liability.

(B)(1) Landlord.  A landlord is a party who provides living quarters in return for rent....  a landlord and his tenants can NOT be members of the same household.


SI 01110.003 Resources limits for SSI benefits 

(B)(2) Single individual:   $2,000.

Individual with spouse:     $3,000.

SI 01110.100. Distinction between Assets and Resources. 

Not all of an individual's assets are resources for SSI purposes.  An asset that is not a resource does NOT count against the statutory resource limit.

SI 01110.210. Excluded Resources. 

(B) List of Resource Exclusions.

*  Home servings as the principal place of residence, including the land on which the home stands and other buildings on that land.  No limit on value.  SI 01130.100  (includes house, land house is on, and related buildings)  NOTE.  Land not contiguous to home plot is NOT excluded.

*  Real property so long as the owner's reasonable efforts to sell it are unsuccessful (see SI 01130.140 for details)

*  One vehicle per household used for transportation.  No limit on value.  SI 01130.200 
(Note that Medicaid has a $3,000 limit on the value of one vehicle).

*  Food stamps.

*  Household goods and personal effects.  No limit on value.  SI 01130.430