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How Income is Counted

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2132. How Income is Counted

2132.1 How does SSA count income?

We count income by determining countable income for each calendar month of eligibility. This means looking at income you received (or deemed to have received, see §2167) in a given month. We then apply exclusions appropriate to that month's income.

2132.2 What happens if countable income is more than the FBR?

If your countable income is more than the FBR, you are not eligible for a Federal benefit. Since SSI payments are made on the first day of a month for that same month, we need to use an estimate of countable income to project your eligibility for that month.

2132.3 When does SSA review the estimates of countable income?

We review the estimates (and revise them, if necessary) whenever there is a report of change or a redetermination.

2132.4 What month is used to compute your benefit amount?

If you are eligible for a particular month, we usually compute your SSI benefit amount for the month using your countable income from two months before the current month. This is called retrospective monthly accounting (see §2183).

Last Revised: March, 2001

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