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Deemed Income and Deemed Resources
Qualifying for SSI disability is just one step toward getting SSI benefits. Each applicant must also meet SSI’s financial requirements. When the Social Security Administration reviews an SSI application for children, they review for deemed income and deemed resources.
Deemed resources and deemed income refer to the portion of the ineligible parent’s income and resources that are considered available for the disabled child’s support. These amounts are used in calculating your child’s SSI payment and in determining whether the child’s resources are below the SSI resource limit. For a more detailed overview discussion of deemed income and resources, see our article “Why Do I Have to Give Information about My Family’s Income and Assets When I Apply for SSI Benefits?” For information about how spousal deeming is calculated, please visit “What Are Deemed Income and Resources and How Do They Affect SSI Payment Amount and Qualifying for SSI Disability?”
Deeming Resources to a Disabled Child
If the applicant is a minor, unmarried child, and the child lives with the parent, a portion of the parent’s resources may be deemed to, that is counted toward, the child’s individual resource limit of $2,000. If the child has one parent living with him or her, then the parent can have $2,000 in countable resources before any of the parent’s resources are deemed. If the child has two parents—natural, adoptive, or step-parent—in the household, then the two parents can have $3,000 in countable resources before any resources are deemed to the child. Occasionally, two parents and a step-parent live in the same household with the disabled child. In that case the amount of countable resources excluded from deeming is $3,000 for the couple plus $2,000 for the third parent.
Many assets are not resources for SSI eligibility. Some examples of excluded resources are property used for self-support, often one vehicle, and a home in which the ineligible parent, eligible child live, and pension funds.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that a disabled child living with her mother and step-father. Her mother has assets in her name of $500.00 and her step-father is buying the home they live in and has cash assets in his name of $3,500 for a total of $4,000 in countable resources for the two of them. The house is excluded. The eligible child has a small bank account with $75 in it. This means that the child has $1,075 in countable resources—her $75 bank account plus $1,000 deemed from her parents. Her total resources are below the $2,000 individual limit, so she qualifies for benefits as far a resources go.
It’s worth noting that deeming from a step-parent occurs only if the SSI-eligible child’s natural or adopted parent also lives in the household. Let’s continue the example we were looking at. In April 2016, the child’s mother moves out of the household and the child continues to live with her step-father. Beginning the first of the following month, May 1, 2016, Angela is no longer subject to deemed resources. Only her own $75 account is considered a resource, even though her step-father has more than the $2,000 in assets.
Factors that Determine Deemed Income
The amount of income that is deemed to a disabled child from his or her parent or parents depends on the amount of countable income the parents and any ineligible children in the household have. It also depends whether the parents’ income is earned or unearned, the number of ineligible children in the household, and whether an ineligible parent is sponsoring a noncitizen. Like resources, some kinds of income are excluded from deeming.
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