Will My Daughter with Autism Lose Her SSI If She Works?

Randall asks: “My daughter receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income), which is vital to her support.  She also has the ability to work.  If she does work, will that impact her SSI?”


Randall, Thank you your question.

Since your daughter already receives SSI, then she can earn more than $1,090 per month from working; however, the SSA will reduce her SSI benefits by the income she earns and if she begins earning more than $1,500 per month she will most likely lose her SSI.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a clear formula in regards to the SSI monthly income and countable income.  When your daughter begins to work she will be receiving earned income.  The SSA allows an individual on SSI to exclude the first $65 of earned income.  The SSA will also exclude half of the remaining amount of her income which is over $65 per month.  Let’s consider an example:

Your daughter earns $1,365 per month.

  • $65 is excluded from the calculations, which leaves her with $1,300.
  • The SSA will then half that amount ($1,300/2) to arrive at $650
  • This $650 will then be subtracted from $733 (which is considered the Federal Benefit Rate or FBR) to arrive at the amount of SSI your daughter will still receive
    • $733 – $650 = $83
  • Your daughter’s new SSI payment will be $83.

In a nutshell, any income your daughter receives from work will decrease her SSI payment if it is over $65 per month.

If your daughter is a student and is under the age of 22, then the Social Security Administration may disregard up to $1,780 of gross income per month when calculating her countable income.

Please keep in mind that the discussion above is only for Earned Income from work.  Unearned income from items such as other social security benefits, pensions, interest income, cash from friends or family, and 2/3 of any child support payments are calculated differently when determining their impact on SSI benefits.

For more information on how to prepare for the future, be sure to contact a financial advisor who specializes in serving families with special needs. A Special Needs Plan is driven by what they call Unleash L.I.F.E.™- L.I.F.E. meaning Lasting Independence For Everyone™. This is accomplished with education, action, and support in the creation, implementation, and continued monitoring of a specifically designed lifelong and integrated plan for your family: parents, caregivers, your loved one with special needs and their siblings.

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Charlotte, NC 28210

This article was featured in Issue 42 – Autism: Fighting the Stigmas

Ryan Platt

Ryan F. Platt completed his Special Care Planner Certification in 2005 at the American College in Bryn Mawr, PA, in which he received advanced training in estate and tax planning, special needs trusts, government programs, and the emotional dynamics of working with people and families with special needs loved ones. In 2013, he went on to complete the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation. A pioneer in his field, Ryan is one of only a few planners certified through Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and the American College in Special Care Planning in Charlotte. He is the founder of A Special Needs Plan.

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