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SSD benefits and the student earned income exclusion

For people in the Kissimmee area who are seeking Social Security disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") program, a common worry is how much money they will be able to earn through work while still qualifying to receive disability. Age, assets and income level are important factors when the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines eligibility for SSI.

What many people are not aware of is that students can use the student earned income exclusion if they meet the criteria of being blind or disabled, attend school, are under a certain age and do not earn more than a designated amount that is determined on an annual basis.

This exclusion is only available for those who are under the age of 22. Their income will then be excluded. The amount for January of 2015 was $1,780 per month, equating to an annual income of $7,180. Because there was no cost of living adjustment in 2016, the amount that a person receiving SSI can earn will remain the same.

By "regularly attending school," the SSA means that the person is taking one or more courses and attends classes in the following situations: they are in a college or university for a minimum of eight hours per week; they are between the seventh and twelfth grades for a minimum of 12 hours per week; they are in a training course to gain skills for employment for a minimum of 12 hours per week or 15 hours if it is a shop course; they are being home schooled for a minimum of 12 hours each week and are adhering to the state's home school laws; or they are attending for less time than listed for reasons that the student has no control over.

If a person is homebound due to disability, he or she can qualify as a student under various different circumstances. SSI benefits are in place for those who meet the requirements. The student earned income exclusion allows those who are in school to also receive disability. Speaking to an attorney with experience in helping those who fall into this category to receive disability benefits can provide more information to take part in this program.

Source: SSA.gov, "What is the Student Earned Income Exclusion?," accessed on Jan. 10, 2016

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