§ 416.1163. How we deem income to you from your ineligible spouse.

If you have an ineligible spouse who lives in the same household, we apply the deeming rules to your ineligible spouse's income in the following order.

(a) Determining your ineligible spouse's income. We first determine how much earned and unearned income your ineligible spouse has, using the appropriate exclusions in § 416.1161(a).

(b) Allocations for ineligible children. We then deduct an allocation for ineligible children in the household to help meet their needs. Exception: We do not allocate for ineligible children who are receiving public income-maintenance payments (see § 416.1142(a)).

(1) The allocation for each ineligible child is the difference between the Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual. The amount of the allocation automatically increases whenever the Federal benefit rate increases. The amount of the allocation that we use to determine the amount of a benefit for a current month is based on the Federal benefit rate that applied in the second prior month unless one of the exceptions in § 416.1160(b)(2) applies.

(2) Each ineligible child's allocation is reduced by the amount of his or her own income as described in § 416.1161(c).

(3) We first deduct the allocations from your ineligible spouse's unearned income. If your ineligible spouse does not have enough unearned income to cover the allocations we deduct the balance from your ineligible spouse's earned income.

(c) Allocations for aliens sponsored by your ineligible spouse. We also deduct an allocation for eligible aliens who have been sponsored by and who have income deemed from your ineligible spouse.

(1) The allocation for each alien who is sponsored by and who has income deemed from your ineligible spouse is the difference between the Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual. The amount of the allocation automatically increases whenever the Federal benefit rate increases. The amount of the allocation that we use to compute your benefit for a current month is based on the Federal benefit rate that applied in the second prior month (unless the current month is the first or second month of eligibility or re-eligibility as explained in § 416.420(a) and (b) (2) and (3)).

(2) Each alien's allocation is reduced by the amount of his or her own income as described in § 416.1161(d).

(3) We first deduct the allocations from your ineligible spouse's unearned income. If your ineligible spouse does not have enough unearned income to cover the allocations, we deduct the balance from your ineligible spouse's earned income.

(d) Determining your eligibility for SSI. (1) If the amount of your ineligible spouse's income that remains after appropriate allocations is not more than the difference between the Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual, there is no income to deem to you from your spouse. In this situation, we subtract only your own countable income from the Federal benefit rate for an individual to determine whether you are eligible for SSI benefits.

(2) If the amount of your ineligible spouse's income that remains after appropriate allocations is more than the difference between the Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual, we treat you and your ineligible spouse as an eligible couple. We do this by:

(i) Combining the remainder of your spouse's unearned income with your own unearned income and the remainder of your spouse's earned income with your earned income;

(ii) Applying all appropriate income exclusions in §§ 416.1112 and 416.1124; and

(iii) Subtracting the couple's countable income from the Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple. (See § 416.2025(b) for determination of the State supplementary payment amount.)

(e) Determining your SSI benefit. (1) In determining your SSI benefit amount, we follow the procedure in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section. However, we use your ineligible spouse's income in the second month prior to the current month. We vary this rule if any of the exceptions in § 416.1160(b)(2) applies (for example, if this is the first month you are eligible for payment of an SSI benefit or if you are again eligible after at least a month of being ineligible). In the first month of your eligibility for payment (or re-eligibility), we deem your ineligible spouse's income in the current month to determine both whether you are eligible for a benefit and the amount of your benefit. In the second month, we deem your ineligible spouse's income in that month to determine whether you are eligible for a benefit but we deem your ineligible spouse's income in the first month to determine the amount of your benefit.

(2) Your SSI benefit under the deeming rules cannot be higher than it would be if deeming did not apply. Therefore, your benefit is the lesser of the amount computed under the rules in paragraph (d)(2) of this section or the amount remaining after we subtract only your own countable income from an individual's Federal benefit rate.

(f) Special rules for couples when a change in status occurs. We have special rules to determine how to deem your spouse's income to you when there is a change in your situation.

(1) Ineligible spouse becomes eligible. If your ineligible spouse becomes eligible for SSI benefits, we treat both of you as newly eligible. Therefore, your eligibility and benefit amount for the first month you are an eligible couple will be based on your income in that month. In the second month, your benefit amount will also be based on your income in the first month.

(2) Spouses separate or divorce. If you separate from your ineligible spouse or your marriage to an ineligible spouse ends by divorce, we do not deem your ineligible spouse's income to you to determine your eligibility for benefits beginning with the first month following the event. If you remain eligible, we determine your benefit amount by following the rule in paragraph (e) of this section provided deeming from your spouse applied in the prior month.

(3) Eligible individual begins living with an ineligible spouse. If you begin to live with your ineligible spouse, we deem your ineligible spouse's income to you in the first month thereafter to determine whether you continue to be eligible for SSI benefits. If you continue to be eligible, we follow the rule in § 416.420(a) to determine your benefit amount.

(4) Ineligible spouse dies. If your ineligible spouse dies, we do not deem your spouse's income to you to determine your eligibility for SSI benefits beginning with the month following the month of death. In determining your benefit amount beginning with the month following the month of death, we use only your own countable income in a prior month, excluding any income deemed to you in that month from your ineligible spouse.

(5) You become subject to the $30 Federal benefit rate. If you become a resident of a medical care facility and the $30 Federal benefit rate applies, we do not deem your ineligible spouse's income to you to determine your eligibility for SSI benefits beginning with the first month for which the $30 Federal benefit rate applies. In determining your benefit amount beginning with the first month for which the $30 Federal benefit rate applies, we use only your own countable income in a prior month, excluding any income deemed to you in that month from your ineligible spouse.

(g) Examples. These examples show how we deem income from an ineligible spouse to an eligible individual in cases which do not involve any of the exceptions in § 416.1160(b)(2). The income, the income exclusions, and the allocations are monthly amounts. The Federal benefit rates used are those effective January 1, 1986.

Example 1.  In September 1986, Mr. Todd, an aged individual, lives with his ineligible spouse, Mrs. Todd, and their ineligible child, Mike. Mr. Todd has a Federal benefit rate of $336 per month. Mrs. Todd receives $252 unearned income per month. She has no earned income and Mike has no income at all. Before we deem any income, we allocate to Mike $168 (the difference between the September Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the September Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual). We subtract the $168 allocation from Mrs. Todd's $252 unearned income, leaving $84. Since Mrs. Todd's $84 remaining income is not more than $168, which is the difference between the September Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the September Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual, we do not deem any income to Mr. Todd. Instead, we compare only Mr. Todd's own countable income with the Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual to determine whether he is eligible. If Mr. Todd's own countable income is less than his Federal benefit rate, he is eligible. To determine the amount of his benefit, we determine his countable income, including any income deemed from Mrs. Todd, in July and subtract this income from the appropriate Federal benefit rate for September.

Example 2.  In September 1986, Mr. Jones, a disabled individual, lives with his ineligible spouse, Mrs. Jones, and ineligible child, Christine. Mr. Jones and Christine have no income. Mrs. Jones has earned income of $401 a month and unearned income of $252 a month. Before we deem any income, we allocate $168 to Christine. We take the $168 allocation from Mrs. Jones' $252 unearned income, leaving $84 in unearned income. Since Mrs. Jones' total remaining income ($84 unearned plus $401 earned) is more than $168, which is the difference between the September Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the September Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual, we compute the combined countable income as we do for a couple. We apply the $20 general income exclusion to the unearned income, reducing it further to $64. We then apply the earned income exclusion ($65 plus one-half the remainder) to Mrs. Jones' earned income of $401, leaving $168. We combine the $64 countable unearned income and $168 countable earned income, and compare it ($232) with the $504 September Federal benefit rate for a couple, and determine that Mr. Jones is eligible. Since Mr. Jones is eligible, we determine the amount of his benefit by subtracting his countable income in July (including any deemed from Mrs. Jones) from September's Federal benefit rate for a couple.

Example 3.  In September 1986, Mr. Smith, a disabled individual, lives with his ineligible spouse, Mrs. Smith, who earns $201 per month. Mr. Smith receives a pension (unearned income) of $100 a month. Since Mrs. Smith's income is greater than $168, which is the difference between the September Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the September Federal benefit rate for an eligible individual, we deem all of her income to be available to both Mr. and Mrs. Smith and compute the combined countable income for the couple. We apply the $20 general income exclusion to Mr. Smith's $100 unearned income, leaving $80. Then we apply the earned income exclusion ($65 plus one-half of the remainder) to Mrs. Smith's $201, leaving $68. This gives the couple total countable income of $148. This is less than the $504 September Federal benefit rate for a couple, so Mr. Smith is eligible based on deeming. Since he is eligible, we determine the amount of his benefit based on his income (including any deemed from Mrs. Smith) in July.

Example 4.  In September 1986, Mr. Simon has a disabled spouse, Mrs. Simon, and has sponsored an eligible alien, Mr. Ollie. Mrs. Simon has monthly unearned income of $100 and Mr. Simon has earned income of $405. From Mr. Simon's earned income we allocate to Mr. Ollie $168, which is the difference between the Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the rate for an eligible individual. Mr. Ollie has no other income. This reduces Mr. Simon's earned income from $405 to $237. Since $237 is more than $168 (the difference between the Federal benefit rate for an eligible couple and the rate for an eligible individual), we deem all of Mr. Simon's remaining income to be available to Mr. and Mrs. Simon and compute the combined countable income for the couple. We apply the $20 general income exclusion to Mrs. Simon's unearned income, leaving $80. Then we apply the general earned income exclusion ($65 plus one-half the remainder) to Mr. Simon's $237 earned income, leaving $86. This gives the couple total income of $166 ($80+$86.). The $166 is less than the $504 Federal benefit rate for a couple so Mrs. Simon would be eligible based on deeming. Since she is eligible, we determine the amount of her benefit based on her income (including any deemed from Mr. Simon) in July. For the way we deem Mr. Simon's income to Mr. Ollie, see the rules in § 416.1166a.

[45 FR 65547, Oct. 3, 1980, as amended at 50 FR 48576, Nov. 26, 1985; 52 FR 8883, Mar. 20, 1987; 53 FR 25151, July 5, 1988; 54 FR 19164, May 4, 1989; 64 FR 31974, June 15, 1999]