Deeming of Income

§ 416.1160. What is deeming of income?

(a) General. We use the term deeming to identify the process of considering another person's income to be your own. When the deeming rules apply, it does not matter whether the income of the other person is actually available to you. We must apply these rules anyway. There are four categories of individuals whose income may be deemed to you.

(1) Ineligible spouse. If you live in the same household with your ineligible spouse, we look at your spouse's income to decide whether we must deem some of it to you. We do this because we expect your spouse to use some of his or her income to take care of some of your needs.

(2) Ineligible parent. If you are a child to whom deeming rules apply (see § 416.1165), we look at your ineligible parent's income to decide whether we must deem some of it to be yours. If you live with both your parent and your parent's spouse (i.e., your stepparent), we also look at your stepparent's income to decide whether we must deem some of it to be yours. We do this because we expect your parent (and your stepparent, if living with you and your parent) to use some of his or her income to take care of your needs.

(3) Sponsor of an alien. If you are an alien who has a sponsor and you first apply for SSI benefits after September 30, 1980, we look at your sponsor's income to decide whether we must deem some of it to be yours. This rule applies for 3 years after you are admitted to the United States for permanent residence and regardless of whether you live in the same household as your sponsor. We deem your sponsor's income to you because your sponsor agreed to support you (signed an affidavit of support) as a condition of your admission to the United States. If two deeming rules could apply to you because your sponsor is also your ineligible spouse or parent who lives with you, we use the appropriate spouse-to-spouse or parent-to-child deeming rules instead of the sponsor-to-alien rules. If you have a sponsor and also have an ineligible spouse or parent who is not your sponsor and whose income can be deemed to you, both rules apply. If your sponsor is not your parent or spouse but is the ineligible spouse or parent of another SSI beneficiary, we use the sponsor-to-alien deeming rules for you and the appropriate spouse-to-spouse or parent-to-child deeming rules for the other SSI beneficiary.

(4) Essential person. If you live in the same household with your essential person (as defined in § 416.222), we must look at that person's income to decide whether we must deem some of it to you. We do this because we have increased your benefit to help meet the needs of your essential person.

(b) When we deem. We deem income to determine whether you are eligible for a benefit and to determine the amount of your benefit. However, we may consider this income in different months for each purpose.

(1) Eligibility. We consider the income of your ineligible spouse, ineligible parent, sponsor or essential person in the current month to determine whether you are eligible for SSI benefits for that month.

(2) Amount of benefit. We consider the income of your ineligible spouse, ineligible parent, sponsor, or essential person in the second month prior to the current month to determine your benefit amount for the current month. Exceptions:

(i) We use the income from the first month you are initially eligible for payment of SSI benefits (see § 416.501) to determine your benefit amount for that month. In the following month (the second month you are eligible for payment), we use the same countable income that we used in the preceding month to determine your benefit amount.

(ii) To determine your benefit amount for the first month you again become eligible after you have been ineligible for at least a month, we use the same countable income that we use to determine your eligibility for that month. In the following month (the second month of reeligibility), we use the same countable income that we used in the preceding month to determine your benefit amount.

(iii) To determine the amount of your benefit in the current month, if there are certain changes in your situation which we list below, we use only your own countable income in a prior month, excluding any income deemed to you in that month from an ineligible spouse or parent. These changes are the death of your spouse or parent, your attainment of age 18, or your becoming subject to the $30 Federal benefit rate (§ 416.211(b)).

(iv) To determine the amount of your benefit for the current month, we do not use income deemed from your essential person beginning with the month you can no longer qualify for the essential person increment (§ 416.413). We use only your own countable income in a prior month to determine the amount of your benefit for the current month.

(c) Steps in deeming. Although the way we deem income varies depending upon whether you are an eligible individual, an eligible child, an alien with a sponsor, or an individual with an essential person, we follow several general steps to determine how much income to deem.

(1) We determine how much earned and unearned income your ineligible spouse, ineligible parent, sponsor, or essential person has, and we apply the appropriate exclusions. (See § 416.1161(a) for exclusions that apply to an ineligible parent or spouse, and § 416.1161(b) for those that apply to an essential person or to a sponsor.)

(2) Before we deem income to you from either your ineligible spouse or ineligible parent, we allocate an amount for each ineligible child in the household. (Allocations for ineligible children are explained in §§ 416.1163(b) and 416.1165(b).) We also allocate an amount for each eligible alien who is subject to deeming from your ineligible spouse or parent as a sponsor. (Allocations for eligible aliens are explained in § 416.1163(c).)

(3) We then follow the deeming rules which apply to you.

(i) For deeming income from your ineligible spouse, see § 416.1163.

(ii) For deeming income from your ineligible parent, see § 416.1165.

(iii) For deeming income from your ineligible spouse when you also have an eligible child, see § 416.1166.

(iv) For deeming income from your sponsor if you are an alien, see § 416.1166a.

(v) For deeming income from your essential person, see § 416.1168. The rules on when we stop deeming income from your essential person are in § 416.1169.

(vi) For provisions on change in status involving couples see § 416.1163(f) and for those involving parents see § 416.1165(g).

(d) Definitions for deeming purposes. For deeming purposes—

Combat zone means

(i) Any area the President of the United States designates by Executive Order under 26 U.S.C. 112 as an area in which Armed Forces of the United States are or have engaged in combat;

(ii) A qualified hazardous duty area (QHDA) Congress designates be treated in the same manner as an area designated by the President under 26 U.S.C. 112, provided the member of the uniformed services serving in this area is entitled to special pay under 37 U.S.C. 310; or

(iii) An area where the Secretary of Defense or his or her designated representative has certified that Armed Forces members provide direct support for military operations in an area designated by the President under 26 U.S.C. 112 or a QHDA, provided the member of the uniformed services serving in the area certified by the Secretary of Defense or his or her designated representative is entitled to special pay under 37 U.S.C. 310.

Date of admission to or date of entry into the United States means the date established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as the date the alien is admitted for permanent residence.

Dependent means the same thing as it does for Federal income tax purposes—we mean someone for whom you are entitled to take a deduction on your personal income tax return. Exception: An alien and an alien's spouse are not considered to be dependents of the alien's sponsor for the purposes of these rules.

Essential person means someone who was identified as essential to your welfare under a State program that preceded the SSI program. (See §§ 416.220 through 416.223 for the rules on essential persons.)

Ineligible child means your natural child or adopted child, or the natural or adopted child of your spouse, or the natural or adopted child of your parent or of your parent's spouse (as the term child is defined in § 416.1101 and the term spouse is defined in § 416.1806), who lives in the same household with you, and is not eligible for SSI benefits.

Ineligible parent means a natural or adoptive parent, or the spouse (as defined in § 416.1101) of a natural or adoptive parent, who lives with you and is not eligible for SSI benefits. The income of ineligible parents affects your benefit only if you are a child under age 18.

Ineligible spouse means someone who lives with you as your husband or wife and is not eligible for SSI benefits.

Sponsor means an individual (but not an organization such as the congregation of a church or a service club, or an employer who only guarantees employment for an alien upon entry but does not sign an affadavit of support) who signs an affidavit of support agreeing to support you as a condition of your admission as an alien for permanent residence in the United States.

[52 FR 8882, Mar. 20, 1987, as amended at 54 FR 19164, May 4, 1989; 64 FR 31974, June 15, 1999; 73 FR 28035, May 15, 2008; 75 FR 7554, Feb. 22, 2010]