For The Social Security Administration, the term deeming income means the process of considering income that belongs to someone else as your income when calculating your financial eligibility for SSI benefits as well as your SSI benefit amount. This income is counted regardless of the availability of this income to you.

This blog highlights four special situations in which income may be deemed yours for SSI eligibility purposes and three exceptions in which deemed income does not apply.

When Income May Be Deemed To You

1. Ineligible Spouse

The first situation in which income may be deemed yours is when you live with a spouse who is not eligible for SSI benefits and who receives income. Some of the spouse’s income will be counted when considering SSI financial eligibility for yourself.

2. Ineligible Parent

Another occasion in which income may be deemed yours is when a child who is disabled or blind and under the age of 18 lives with a parent who receives income. If at least one of the parents doesn’t receive SSI benefits, some of the parent’s income is counted when considering SSI the financial eligibility of the child.

3. Sponsor of an Alien

The third situation is if you are an alien with a sponsor who has income. Some of the sponsor’s income may be deemed to you. This applies to those who first applied for SSI benefits after September 30, 1980. It applies only 3 years after admittance to the US for permanent residency. Whether or not you live with your sponsor is irrelevant.

4. Essential Person

The last situation in which the SSA deems income to you is if you live in the same household as your “essential person”. An essential person is defined as someone with whom you’ve resided since December 1973. That person must not have been eligible for assistance from the State for December 1973 nor eligible for SSI benefits. There can be more than one essential person.

When Deemed Income Does Not Apply

  1. You no longer share a household with a spouse or parent.
  2. A disabled or blind child reaches the age of 18.
  3. An alien sponsorship ends.

The SSA also follows certain steps when deeming income to you in order to determine how much income to deem. For clarification on what income may be deemed to you and whether or not you may qualify financially for SSI, talk with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your eligibility for SSI.