SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home2167. Deeming of Income and Resources

2167.1 What is deeming?

When we determine the eligibility and amount of payment for an SSI recipient, we consider the income and resources of people responsible for the recipient's welfare. This concept is called “deeming.” It is based on the idea that those who have a responsibility for one another share their income and resources. It does not matter if money is actually provided to an eligible individual for deeming to apply.

2167.2 In what situations are income and resources deemed?

There are four types of situations where income and resources are deemed:

  1. From an ineligible spouse to an eligible individual (see §2168);

  2. From a parent to a child under age 18 (see §2169);

  3. From a sponsor to an alien (see §2170); and

  4. From an essential person to an eligible qualified individual (see §2171).

2167.3 What items are not included in the deeming of income?

The following items are not included when deeming the income of an ineligible spouse or parent. Item A is not included when deeming the income of a sponsor or an essential person, but items B through AB are included.

  1. Income excluded by Federal laws other than the Social Security Act;

  2. Any public income-maintenance payments received by an ineligible spouse or parent, and any income counted or excluded in figuring the amount of those payments;

  3. Any income of an ineligible spouse or parent used by a public income-maintenance program to determine the amount of that program's benefit to someone else;

  4. Any portion of a grant, scholarship, fellowship, or gift used to pay tuition or fees (effective 6/1/04);

  5. Money received for providing foster care to an ineligible child;

  6. The value of food stamps and the value of Department of Agriculture donated foods;

  7. Food raised by an ineligible spouse or parent and consumed by household members;

  8. Tax refunds on income, real property, or food purchased by the family;

  9. Income used to fulfill an approved plan for achieving self-support (for blind and disabled individuals);

  10. Income used to comply with the terms of court-ordered support, or child support payments enforced under Title IV (Grants to States for Aid and Services to Needy Families with Children and for Child-Welfare Services, Part D-Child Support and Establishment of Paternity) of the Social Security Act;

  11. The value of in-kind support and maintenance;

  12. Payments received by certain recipients under the Alaska Longevity Bonus program;

  13. Disaster assistance (see §2138);

  14. Certain home energy and support and maintenance assistance (see §2139);

  15. Income received infrequently or irregularly (see §2135(C) and §2137(G));

  16. Work expenses if the ineligible spouse or parent is blind;

  17. Income of an ineligible spouse or parent paid under a Federal, State, or local governmental program to provide chore, attendant, or homemaker services;

  18. Certain housing assistance;

  19. The value of any commercial transportation ticket received as a gift. This applies to travel among the 50 States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. If a ticket is converted to cash, the cash is income in the month the spouse or parent receives the cash;

  20. Refunds of Federal income taxes and advances made by an employer relating to an earned income tax credit;

  21. Payments from a fund established by a State to aid victims of crimes;

  22. Relocation assistance;

  23. Hostile fire and imminent danger pay received from one of the uniformed services;

  24. Impairment-related work expenses incurred and paid by an ineligible spouse or parent, if the ineligible spouse or parent receives Social Security disability benefits;

  25. Any interest earned on excluded burial funds and any appreciation in the value of an excluded burial arrangement left to accumulate and become part of the separately identifiable burial fund;

  26. Any additional increment in pay, other than any increase in basic pay, received while serving as a member of the uniformed services, if:

    1. The spouse or parent received the pay as a result of deployment to or while serving in a combat zone, and

    2. The spouse or parent was not receiving the additional pay immediately prior to deployment to or service in a combat zone;

  27. Dividend or interest income earned on countable resources or resources excluded under other Federal laws (effective 7/1/04);

  28. Earned income of a student under the age of 22 and regularly attending school.

2167.4 What is excluded from the deeming of resources?

Any resources excluded for an eligible individual are also excluded for an ineligible spouse or ineligible parent for purposes of deeming. In addition, the following two exclusions apply to deemed resources:

  1. Pension funds owned by an ineligible spouse or by an ineligible parent or spouse of a parent are excluded from resources for deeming purposes. Pension funds are defined as funds held in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA's) or in work-related pension plans.

  2. For 9 months following the month of receipt by an ineligible spouse or ineligible parent, the unspent portion of any retroactive payment of:

    1. Hostile fire and imminent danger pay received from one of the uniformed services, and

    2. Family separation allowance received from one of the uniformed services as a result of deployment to or while serving in a combat zone.

2167.5 When does a change for an eligible individual into or out of a deeming situation become effective?

A change for an eligible individual into or out of a deeming situation is effective the month following the month of change. This rule also applies for changes within the deeming household that affect the computation of deemed income, such as the birth or death of an ineligible child, the marriage or separation of an ineligible parent, etc.

Last Revised: Apr. 12, 2010