Some types of income and resources do not count when the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program computes a monthly SSI payment. They are excluded from the computation, and thus are called exclusions. You may also see them called disregards.
The following lists provide common examples of income and resources that SSI does not count. The lists do not contain all the possible exclusions. If you have questions about a specific type of income or resource, check with your local Social Security office or a work incentive planner.
Common Income Exclusions
These common exclusions are covered in Tool 4:
- The first $20 of most income received in a month
- The first $65 of earnings and half of monthly earnings over $65
- Cost of items or services that an individual must pay for in order to work (this is the Impairment-Related Work Expense work incentive).
- Cost of items or services that an individual who is blind must pay for in order to work (this is the Blind Work Expense work incentive).
These exclusions are directly related to education or training:
- Grants, scholarships, fellowships, or gifts used for tuition or educational expenses
- Earnings up to $2,220 per month to a maximum of $8,950 per year (effective January 2023) for a student under age 22 (this is the Student Earned Income Exclusion work incentive; see Tool 5).
More common exclusions:
- Food or shelter based on need provided by nonprofit agencies
- Assistance based on need funded by a state or political subdivision
- Loans to the beneficiary (cash or in–kind) that the beneficiary must repay
- Small amounts of income received irregularly or infrequently
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits
- Money someone else spends to pay a beneficiary’s expenses for items other than food or shelter (for example, telephone or medical bills)
- Income set aside under an approved Plan to Achieve Self–Support (PASS) (see Tool 7)
- Value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamp) benefits
- Certain exclusions on trust fund payments paid to Native Americans who are members of a federally recognized tribe.
- Federal income tax refunds
- Disaster assistance
For more about unearned income that is excluded, see Program Operations Manual System (POMS) SI 00830.050.
Common Resource Exclusions
- Money saved in an approved Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) account does not count as a resource. The money set aside in a PASS must be used to support a vocational goal (see Tool 7).
- An ABLE account allows an individual with a disability to save for future expenses—such as transportation, housing, or education costs—without any impact on SSI, Medicaid, or other federal benefits (see Tool 7).
- The house the SSI recipient lives in.
- Household goods and personal effects.
- One vehicle, if it is used for transportation for the SSI recipient or a member of their household.
- Term life insurance (life insurance with no cash surrender value) no matter who purchased it.
- For grants, scholarships, fellowships, and gifts used to pay tuition, fees, and other necessary educational expenses, SSI’s general policy provides a 9-month resource exclusion. This exclusion applies only if money is used within the 9 months for tuition or other expenses for any college, vocational program, or technical school.
- If assistance is received under Title IV of the Higher Education Act or Bureau of Indian Affairs Student Assistance Program, it is excluded from income and resources, regardless of use. This resource exclusion does not have a time limit—it is excluded regardless of how long it is held.
- Federal income tax refunds for 12 months after receipt. This includes any part of the refund that represents an Earned Income Tax Credit.