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Income-reporting for SSI benefits recipients -- Part I

Many New Jersey residents receive Supplemental Security Income, a federal assistance program run by the Social Security Administration. SSI is intended to help individuals who have extremely limited financial resources because of disabilities, age or blindness. Recipients are required to report earned income regularly to the SSA so that the payment program can adjust to both increases and decreases in recipients' income.

Reporting is mandatory. SSA rules require that recipients make monthly income reports to the administration by submitting paycheck stubs through the mail or in person so that it receives the information no later than 10 days after the preceding reporting month. The information helps the SSA determine whether to increase or decrease the person's benefits. The SSA will disregard certain expenses that are required for working but will otherwise factor in increases and decreases in income when computing a beneficiary's SSI eligibility and benefits.

The SSA also requires a beneficiary to provide details about any other income. For example, if the SSI recipient has a spouse who receives regular income, the SSA wants details of that spouse's income, including the amount and the source. If the recipient is a minor living with parents, then the SSA asks for details about the parents' income. If the recipient is a noncitizen of the United States, the SSA asks for income details for the recipient's sponsor.

The next post will further explain how the wage-reporting process works, including more on who must report income, how to report the income and where to send detailed information. The income-reporting system is meant to keep the SSI benefits system transparent.

Sometimes, however, an individual who is reporting details on income can run into more complex requirements. In these cases, SSI recipients are strongly advised to retain an experienced legal professional who can guide them through the reporting process.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Reporting Wages When You Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)," Accessed on May 21, 2015

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