TN 15 (10-09)

SI 01320.400 Deeming of Income from an Ineligible Spouse

Citations:

Social Security Act, Sec. 1614(f), as amended

Regulations 20 CFR 416.1160 and 416.1163

A. Introduction to deeming of income from an ineligible spouse

Spouse-to-spouse deeming of income can be involved in the eligibility or the payment determination, or both, for an eligible individual who lives with an ineligible spouse. For spouse-to-spouse deeming to apply, the SSI applicant or recipient must be eligible based on his or her own income. The following subsections explain the rules to follow when deeming income from an ineligible spouse.

In order to deem income, first determine the amount of the ineligible spouse's earned and unearned income applying the appropriate exclusions in SI 01320.100. Then, use the rules in SI 01320.400B. and SI 01320.400C. in this section to determine the individual's eligibility and payment amount.

B. Policy for determining SSI eligibility

1. Spouse-to-spouse

When an ineligible spouse lives in the same household as the eligible individual, these deeming rules are applied in the following order:

a. Ineligible spouse’s earned and unearned income

The amount of the ineligible spouse's earned and unearned income is determined in the computation month. See SI 01320.400A. in this section.

b. Ineligible child allocation

An allocation for each ineligible child who lives in the household is deducted. See SI 01310.110B. (Deeming Concept – Allocation).

EXCEPTION:

No allocation is given for any ineligible children who are receiving public income maintenance payments.

  • The allocation for each ineligible child is the difference between the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) for an eligible couple and the FBR for an eligible individual. The amount of the allocation automatically increases whenever the FBR increases.

  • Each ineligible child's allocation is reduced by the amount of his or her own income. For purposes of reducing the allocation, the items listed in SI 01320.100B. are not included as income to the ineligible child.

  • The allocations for ineligible children are first deducted from the ineligible spouse's unearned income. If the ineligible spouse does not have enough unearned income to cover the allocations, the balance is deducted from the ineligible spouse's earned income.

c. When there is no income to deem from the ineligible spouse to the eligible individual

If the remaining income (both earned and unearned) of the ineligible spouse is equal to or less than the difference between the FBR for an eligible couple and the FBR for an eligible individual, there is no income to deem to the eligible individual. In this situation, the individual's own countable income is subtracted from the FBR for an individual to determine eligibility.

d. When there is income to deem from the ineligible spouse to the eligible individual

If the remaining income (both earned and unearned income) of the ineligible spouse is more than the difference between the FBR for an eligible couple and the FBR for an eligible individual, the eligible individual and the ineligible spouse are treated as an eligible couple.

NOTE: The $20 general exclusion is not deducted from the eligible individual's income at this point.

e. When the eligible individual and the ineligible spouse are treated as a couple

The eligible individual and the ineligible spouse are treated as an eligible couple by:

  • Combining the remainder of the ineligible spouse's unearned income with the eligible individual's own unearned income, and the remainder of the ineligible spouse's earned income with the eligible individual's earned income;

  • Applying all appropriate income exclusions, including the first $20 of unearned income (if less than $20 of unearned income in a month, any remaining portion of the $20 exclusion is applied to any earned income in the month), $65 of any earned income in a month, and one-half of remaining earned income in a month; and

  • Subtracting the couple's countable income from the FBR for an eligible couple.

NOTE: The FBR is reduced by the value of the one-third reduction (VTR) for an eligible couple, if appropriate. When a Federally administered optional State supplement is involved, see SI 01320.430.

f. When the couple’s countable income equals or is less than the FBR

If the couple's countable income is equal to or less than the FBR for an eligible couple in the computation month, the individual is eligible for SSI under the deeming rules.

2. Sponsor-to-alien

An allocation is also deducted for eligible aliens who are sponsored by and who have income deemed from the ineligible spouse.

  • The allocation for each alien who is sponsored by and who has income deemed from the ineligible spouse is the difference between the FBR for an eligible couple and the FBR for an eligible individual. The amount of the allocation automatically increases whenever the FBR increases.

  • Each alien's allocation is reduced by the amount of his or her own income. For purposes of reducing the allocation, the items listed in SI 01320.100B. are not included as income to the alien.

  • The allocations for eligible aliens are first deducted from the ineligible spouse's unearned income. If the ineligible spouse does not have enough unearned income to cover the allocations, the balance is deducted from the ineligible spouse's earned income.

NOTE: The alien allocation is given only for an alien who is eligible for SSI or a Federally administered State supplementary payment.

  • An allocation for an eligible alien is given even if the sponsor's income has no effect on his or her eligibility or payment (i.e., nothing is deemed).

  • If the alien is ineligible for any reason (including excess income due to sponsor-to-alien deeming), there is no allocation for him or her.

  • For purposes of determining the allocation, the alien's income is his or her own income and any income deemed from a source other than the sponsor (i.e., other than the ineligible spouse). If the alien has income deemed from another sponsor or income deemed from his or her own spouse or parent, that deemed income reduces the allocation.

  • The allocation is not reduced by the alien's SSI payment, or any income deemed to the alien from the sponsor who is the ineligible spouse.

  • An alien's income reduces the allocation for him or her; his or her income is not used to reduce the allocation for another alien.

C. Policy for determining SSI payment amount

1. Determining SSI payment amount

To determine the SSI payment amount, follow the procedure in SI 01320.400B.1.a. through SI 01320.400B.1.f. in this section, using the ineligible spouse's income from the budget month. Subtract the countable income from the budget month from the FBR for an eligible couple in the computation month. The budget month is 2 months prior to the computation month except when determining the payment amount for the first and second months of eligibility or for the first and second months after a period of ineligibility. When an exception to the standard retrospective computation rules apply, see SI 02005.005. For the amount of Title II benefits used for a deemor when there is a Title II cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), see SI 02005.010.

NOTE: When using a prior month as a budget month, use those allocation values which were in effect for that prior month. For example, when determining the payment amount for January 2010, use the ineligible child allocation amount in effect for November 2009.

EXCEPTIONS:

The ineligible spouse's income from an earlier budget month is not used when:

  • Determining the payment amount for months when the eligible individual is subject to the $30 payment limit ($25 prior to July 1, 1988); or

  • Determining the payment amount for months after the month an ineligible spouse dies.

When an exception above applies, only the eligible individual's own income from the prior budget month is used. Deemed income from the ineligible spouse in that prior budget month is not used to compute the payment amount.

2. The SSI benefit

The SSI benefit under these deeming rules cannot be higher than it would be if deeming did not apply. The payment amount from SI 01320.400C.l. (in this section) is compared to the amount the individual is due based on his or her own income in the budget month; the lesser amount is the payment due. When a Federally administered optional State supplement is involved, see SI 01320.430.

D. Examples of spouse-to-spouse deeming rules

The following examples illustrate application of the spouse-to-spouse deeming rules in the eligibility computation. The same rules apply in the budget month to determine the amount of the SSI payment. It is possible for eligibility to be based on the couple computation using income in the current month, while payment is determined based on the individual's own income received in the budget month.

1. No deemed income after allocation

In September 2009, Mrs. Anne Wilson, an eligible individual, lives with her ineligible spouse and their ineligible child, Mike. She is eligible for SSI based on her own income. Mr. Wilson receives $542 unearned income per month. He has no earned income and Mike has no income at all. First allocate to Mike $337 (the difference between the FBR for a couple and the FBR for an individual). Then subtract the $337 allocation from Mr. Wilson's $542 unearned income, leaving $205. Since the $205 remaining income is not more than $337, which is the difference between the FBR for a couple and the FBR for an individual in September, no income is deemed to Mrs. Wilson. Instead, compare only her own countable income with the FBR for an eligible individual ($674 in September 2009) to determine whether she is eligible. If Mrs. Wilson's own countable income is less than or equal to the FBR, she is eligible. To determine the amount of her payment, determine the countable income, including any deemed income from Mr. Wilson in July, and subtract this income from the FBR for September.

2. Spouse has earned and unearned income after ineligible child allocation

In August 2009, Mr. Jack Ingalls, a disabled individual, lives with his ineligible spouse and ineligible child, Cathy. Mr. Ingalls and Cathy have no income. Mrs. Ingalls has earned income of $715 a month and unearned income of $527 a month. First, $337 is allocated to Cathy. Subtract the $337 allocation from Mrs. Ingalls' $527 unearned income, leaving $190 in unearned income. Since the total remaining income ($190 unearned plus $715 earned) is more than $337, which is the difference between the FBR for a couple and the FBR for an individual in August, combine Mr. and Mrs. Ingalls' income and compute countable income the same as for an eligible couple. Apply the $20 general income exclusion to the unearned income, reducing it to $170. Then apply the earned income exclusion ($65 plus one-half the remainder) to Mrs. Ingalls' earned income of $715, leaving $325. Combine the $170 countable unearned income and $325 countable earned income, and compare it ($495) with the 2009 FBR for a couple ($1011), and determine that Mr. Ingalls is eligible. Since he is eligible, the amount of his payment is determined by subtracting his countable income in June (including any deemed income from Mrs. Ingalls) from August's FBR for a couple.

3. Both eligible individual and ineligible spouse have income

In December 2009, Harold Bergman, a disabled individual, lives with his ineligible spouse, who earns $680 per month. Mr. Bergman receives a pension (unearned income) of $395 a month. Since Mrs. Bergman's income is greater than $337, which is the difference between the FBR for a couple and the FBR for an individual in December, deem all of her income to be available to both, and compute the combined countable income for the couple. Apply the $20 general income exclusion to Mr. Bergman's $395 unearned income, leaving $375. Then apply the earned income exclusion ($65 plus one-half the remainder) to Mrs. Bergman's $680, leaving $307.50. The total countable income ($682.50) is less than the $1011 December FBR for a couple, so Mr. Bergman is eligible based on deeming. Since he is eligible, determine the amount of his payment based on his income (including any deemed from Mrs. Bergman) in October.

4. Spouse-to-spouse deeming and alien allocation

Mr. Davis is an alien whose sponsor is Mr. Clark. Mr. Clark's wife is an SSI recipient. The Clarks have two dependent children who are ineligible children for SSI purposes. The income received in December 2009 is:

Mr. Clark's earned income

 

$1425.00

Mrs. Clark's Title II benefits

 

$470.00

Mr. Davis' pension

$ 95.00

 

Clarks' older child's unearned income

$ 115.00

 

 

First, a sponsor-to-alien deeming computation is done, following procedures in SI 01320.950.

Sponsor-to-Alien Deeming

 

Income of sponsor and wife

 

$1895.00

Sponsor allocation

$674.00

 

Allocation for wife

$337.00

 

Dependent allocation for child

$337.00

 

Dependent allocation for child

$337.00

 

Total allocation amount

$1685.00

-1685.00

Deemed income

 

   210.00

Alien's pension

 

+95.00

Alien's unearned income

 

$ 305.00

General exclusion

 

- 20.00

Alien's countable income

 

$ 285.00

 

Next, a spouse-to-spouse deeming computation is done to determine eligibility for Mrs. Clark.

Spouse-to-Spouse Deeming

As an individual, Mrs. Clark's countable income of $450 ($470 - $20 general exclusion) is less than the 2009 individual FBR of $674. Mrs. Clark is also eligible using the couple FBR as follows:

 

Mr. Clark's earned income

$1425.00

Allocation for children

-559.00

(2 x $337, minus $115)

 

Alien allocation ($337 minus $95)

-242.00

Mr. Clark's remaining earned income

$624.00

NOTE: Because the alien is eligible for SSI, use the alien allocation.

Combined Incomes:

Mrs. Clark's unearned income

$470.00

General exclusion

- 20.00

Remaining unearned income

$450.00

Mr. Clark's remaining earned income

$624.00

Earned income exclusion

- 65.00

Remainder

$559.00

½remainder

- 279.50

Countable earned income

$ 279.50

Countable unearned income

+450.00

Couple's CI

$729.50

Mrs. Clark is eligible after deeming because the countable income of $729.50 in December 2009 does not exceed the 2009 couple FBR of $1011.

E. References


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501320400
SI 01320.400 - Deeming of Income from an Ineligible Spouse - 10/30/2009
Batch run: 10/30/2009
Rev:10/30/2009<