A Brief Overview of SSI Benefits and Spending
What Can You Spend Your SSI Benefits On?
Basic personal needs
- Determine the beneficiary’s needs and use their payments to meet those needs;
- Save any money left after meeting the beneficiary’s current needs in an interest-bearing account or savings bonds for the beneficiary's future needs;
- Report any changes or events that could affect the beneficiary's eligibility for payments;
- Keep records of all payments received and how you spent and saved them;
- Provide all records of how payments are spent or saved to the SSA upon request;
- Report to the SSA any changes that would affect your performance or your continuing as payee;
- Complete reports accounting for your use of payments, as required;
- Return to the SSA any payments to which the beneficiary is not entitled; and
- Return to the SSA any payments saved when you are no longer the representative payee for the beneficiary.
Safety, residential, and financial Needs
The case for child's SSI benefits: What can I use my child's SSI money for?
Be Aware of These Things
Hiding money from the SSA
Earning more money
Going back to work
If the recipient’s identity is stolen
Taxes on the benefits
Follow These Tips to Spend the SSI Benefits Wisely
Report any changes to SSA
- Change of address
- Change in living arrangements
- Change in earned and unearned income, including a change in wages or net earnings from self-employment, including your spouse’s income if you are married and living together, and parents’ income if applying for a child
- Change in resources including your spouse’s resources, if you are married and living together, and parents’ resources if applying for a child
- Death of spouse or anyone in your household
- Change in marital status (including any same-sex relationships)
- Change in citizenship or immigration status
- Change in help with living expenses from friends or relatives
- Eligibility for other benefits or payments
- Admission to or discharge from an institution (such as a hospital, nursing home, or a correctional institution such as prison, jail, detention center, boot camp, etc.)
- Change in school attendance (if you are under age 22)
- Change in legal alien status
- Sponsor (or sponsor’s spouse) changes of income, resources, or living arrangement for aliens
- Leaving the United States for a full calendar month, or 30 consecutive days or more
- An unsatisfied felony or arrest warrant for escape from custody, flight to avoid prosecution or confinement, or flight escape
Prioritize necessities and proactively pay your bills
Don't go overboard with SSI back payment
Know This About SSD Checking Your Bank Account
Seek Expert Guidance
The rules surrounding SSI spending can be complex. If you are unsure of your benefits eligibility, consult with LaPorte Law Firm. We are here to answer all of your questions about SSI. We also have a page dedicated to Supplemental Security Income on our website where you can find all the details about this program.
SSI benefits will last as long as you remain disabled. The Social Security Administration will do periodic reviews to determine if you are still disabled. If you remain disabled, you will continue to receive SSI benefits.
You may receive your SSI benefits in a bank account via direct deposit. Federal law mandates that all SSI benefits be paid electronically.
There are two ways you can receive your benefits:
- Through an existing bank account via Direct Deposit
- Through a Direct Express® Debit Mastercard®
If you receive monthly SSI payments, there are no restrictions that would prevent you from obtaining or using a credit card.
Technically speaking, the Social Security Administration can monitor your bank account to track your balances to determine your income and assets. The SSA uses a verification program to access and review all alleged bank account balances with a financial institution. They may also conduct a geographic search for any other accounts that may belong to you. The Social Security Administration can also review your financial and banking information annually to determine whether you meet the income and resource requirements of the SSI program.
The maximum SSI benefit changes yearly. At the time this article is written in March 2023, the maximum rate is $914 for an individual and $1,371 for a couple.
The SSI benefit is a means-tested benefit. If you have little or no income and few resources, you may be eligible for SSI. If you are single, the value of the things you own must be less than $2,000. If you are married, the value of the things you own as a couple must be less than $3,000. The amount of money in the bank will affect your eligibility for SSI.
The SSDI benefit is a benefit for disabled people who are “insured” under the Social Security Administration. It is not a means-tested benefit. The amount of money in your bank account will not affect your eligibility for SSDI or the monthly amount you receive each month.