How do I calculate countable income?


Social Security allows for some money to be excluded from your countable income. This is because Social Security doesn’t restrict income to just cash. They consider many sources as countable income, listed here:

In general, if someone gives you an item that cannot be used as, or used to obtain, food, clothing or shelter, it will not be labeled as income. Social Security does not count the following when calculating your income:

Once you add up all relevant sources of income and then apply the deductions listed here, you will arrive at your countable income figure. Again, to be eligible for supplemental security income, the maximum amount of countable income one can make is $733 per month for individuals and $1,100 for couples.

In effect, this typically means that an individual can earn up to about $1,500 per month and still be eligible for SSI benefits. This is because one could subtract $65 of earned income, then subtract half of the remainder, and lastly another $20 of unearned income, and come out with just about $700 in countable income. The closer one makes to (about) $1,500 (without exceeding it), the less they will be granted from SSI.