The amount of money individuals and married couples get through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is pretty low. That is why many people wonder if they can get their monthly payouts increased. If you are getting the maximum amount in benefits, then the simple answer is “no.” This amount is a fixed number and there is no way to appeal to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for an increase.
SSI Maximum Amount
The maximum amount of SSI in most states, including Virginia, is $771 per month as an individual and $1,157 per month as a married couple. If you are not receiving the full amount, you should start by determining why.
Why You Might Not Be Receiving the Maximum SSI Amount
If you are getting less than the maximum SSI amounts, it is likely that the SSA assumes you are receiving “in-kind” support. In-kind support is often in the form of food or reduced rent. The SSA would assume this based on what you put on the application when you applied for SSI.
Sometimes, people who have relied on others to help with food and rent start paying these costs themselves once they start receiving SSI. If you are in this situation, you should contact SSA about getting an increase.
Determine if Your Income is Limiting Your SSI Benefits
If you are not getting the maximum amount of SSI, it could be that your income is lowering your benefit amount. To qualify for SSI benefits you must have no more than $2,000 in assets as an individual and no more than $3,000 in assets as a married couple. It is important to note that all “countable income” is counted. Countable income may include:
- Income from work – you are allowed to earn a small amount of income and still qualify for SSI
- In-kind support and maintenance – as stated earlier, food and shelter you receive for free or at a discount would count as income
- Deemed income – part of the income of your spouse is used to calculate your SSI benefit
- Gifts – any financial gift you receive from family or friends is considered countable income
- Unearned income and benefits – any payments you receive from Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI), worker’s compensation, or pensions are considered countable income