TN 66 (02-95)

SI 00830.010 When to Count Unearned Income


20 CFR 416.1123(a), 416.1123(d)

A. Policy — General

Unearned income is counted as income in the earliest month it is:

  • received by the individual;

  • credited to the individual's account; or

  • set aside for the individual's use.

B. Policy — when to count retroactive RSDI benefits

Other than the following exceptions (SI 00830.010B.1. through SI 00830.010B.3. below), retroactive RSDI benefits, whether paid in one lump sum or by installment, are counted as unearned income in the month payment is received.

NOTE: Reissued conserved funds, whether paid in a lump sum or in installments, are not considered unearned income in the month of reissuance since such funds were previously considered in the month of original receipt (SI 01120.022B.2.).

1. Retroactive RSDI benefits paid for windfall offset months

RSDI benefits paid for a month for which an individual received an SSI payment (i.e., an offset month), including a federally administered State supplementary payment are, considered income not when received, but rather in the month regularly due. These benefits are considered when computing windfall offset. (SI 02006.001).

NOTE: Retroactive RSDI benefits paid for months outside an offset period are subject to the general policy in SI 00830.010A above unless the exception in SI 00830.010B.2. or SI 00830.010B.3. below apply.

2. Retroactive RSDI benefits paid by installment when DAA is material

Retroactive RSDI benefits must be paid in installments when paid to representative payees of individuals who are eligible because of drug addiction or alcoholism (DAA). In such cases involving DAA beneficiaries, the total of retroactive RSDI benefits paid in installment is treated as if paid in a lump sum in the usual manner. The total of such benefits paid in installments is considered unearned income in the month in which the first installment is made (except for amounts considered paid in a windfall offset period per 1. above).

In certain postentitlement situations involving DAA beneficiaries, a subsequent amount of retroactive RSDI benefits to be paid in installments cannot be paid because the beneficiary is receiving installment payments from a previous retroactive RSDI benefit. In such situations, the total of the subsequent retroactive RSDI amount (except for amounts considered paid in a windfall offset period per SI 00830.010B.1. above) is counted as unearned income in the month such total would have normally been paid (i.e., as if the lump sum had been paid in the usual manner.

NOTE: For resource purposes, each installment is subject to regular resource rules in the month following receipt (see SI 01130.600 for exclusion of RSDI underpayments).

EXAMPLE 1: Ray Calloway is eligible for SSI effective July 1995. In August 1995, Mr. Calloway is approved for a monthly title II disability benefit of $400, effective January 1995. Since Mr. Calloway was eligible because of alcoholism, his retroactive DI benefit must be paid in installments. After applying windfall offset, the total retroactive title II disability benefits is $1,900, of which $1,800 is due for months outside the offset period. The $1,900 must be paid in monthly installments of $400 beginning in September 1995.

For SSI purposes, the entire $1,800 due for months outside the offset period, is treated as unearned income in the month the installments begin (September 1995). The $100 payable for months in the windfall offset period is non-countable income. Because Mr. Calloway's regular, recurring title II check in September is $400, the total title II amount for SSI purposes for that month is $2,200. In October 1995, he receives a second installment payment of $400 in addition to his regular, recurring title II payment. For SSI purposes, only the recurring amount of $400 is treated as title II income in October 1995 (and later months).

EXAMPLE 2: Same facts as above. In November 1995, Mr. Calloway receives a recomputation of his title II benefit because of his 1994 earnings. As a result of the recomputation, Mr. Calloway is due a retroactive RSDI payment of $200 and his monthly check increases to $420 on December 3, 1995. The retroactive amount of $200 would have ordinarily been