Can COVID-Related Financial Assistance Can Affect Your Eligibility for SSI?

Most federal and state COVID-related disaster assistance funds will not affect your SSI payment or your eligibility for SSI.

SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is the federal government's program for low-income people with disabilities (and those who are over 65). To be eligible for SSI, your income and assets have to be under certain limits, but the Social Security Administration doesn't count all types of income or assets.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Social Security recently changed its rules about what financial assistance can affect your eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—or the amount of your monthly SSI payment amount.

Types of COVID-Related Financial Assistance

Social Security will no longer count the following types of COVID-related financial assistance as either income or assets when determining your eligibility or your payment amount.

  • Federal stimulus checks (called economic impact payments, or EIP)
  • State stimulus payments (some exclusions might apply here)
  • Unemployment assistance (includes regular unemployment benefits)
  • Housing allowance or tuition from the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program
  • Rental assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Fund
  • Emergency rental assistance through the Rural Housing/Rural Rental Assistance program
  • Mortgage assistance from the Homeowner Assistance Fund
  • Funds from the Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act
  • Student aid from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
  • Emergency assistance payments to families through the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund
  • Housing assistance and funds from supportive services programs for Native Americans
  • Tribal payments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
  • Loan forgiveness from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
  • Loans/grants from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
  • Aid from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program – Direct Payments to Farmers and Ranchers
  • Farm loan assistance for Socially Disadvantaged (SDA) Farmers and Ranchers
  • USDA assistance and support for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranchers, Forest Land Owners and Operators, and Groups, and
  • COVID-19 Funeral Assistance funds.

Other Types of Financial Assistance

Social Security doesn't count certain other types of government assistance as well, even aid that isn't considered COVID-related disaster assistance.

Child tax credit. Social Security won't consider the child tax credit as income or an asset that will affect your SSI payment. (The one exception is: if you still have part of the child tax credit in your bank account after one year, then Social Security will count it as an asset.)

Tax refunds and other advanced tax credits. Federal tax refunds and advanced tax credits (including the earned income tax credit) aren't counted as income and aren't counted as assets for one year. After one year, Social Security will count any remaining money as an asset.

Education-related financial aid. The financial assistance you receive for college may be excluded from your assets for an unlimited amount of time OR for only nine months, depending on the type of financial aid. For more information, see our article on educational assistance and SSI.

One-time relief payments. State or local relocation assistance, crime victim's assistance, and non-COVID disaster relief assistance aren't counted toward your SSI income or asset limit.

What If Your SSI Payment Was Lowered or You Were Denied SSI?

Social Security is currently looking at all SSI accounts going back to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to restore SSI payments for people whose SSI was lowered or stopped due to receiving any of the assistance listed above. The agency will also investigate any initial disability claims that were denied because the claimant had too many assets.

If your payments were reduced due to getting financial assistance, or if you were denied benefits, you may not need to do anything. Unless Social Security needs further information from you, the agency will restore or start your SSI payments and mail you (or your representative payee or legal representative, if you have one) a letter explaining the change. If Social Security needs more information from you, or if you need to refile your claim, Social Security will mail a letter to your last known address explaining what action you need to take.

If you've moved since your SSI was stopped, you should call to report your move and speak to a field office representative. You can call toll free at 800-772-1213, or use Social Security's office locator here: https://www.ssa.gov/locator/.

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