What is Parental Deeming?

Submitted by Daniel on

In today’s blog post we will be answering a question that we receive from parents all the time—“What is parental deeming and how does it work?” This is such an important question because parental deeming can determine a child’s eligibility for the SSI program. If parents do not understand the concept, mistakes can be made and a child’s claim may be denied. We hope the following blog post will give the parents out there a better understanding of the deeming process!

As always, if you have questions that you’d like us to answer, please leave them in the comment section below.

“What is parental deeming and how does it work?”

Children with disabilities typically qualify for Social Security Disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Eligibility for SSI is determined by an applicant’s income and financial resources. In the case of a child, the Social Security Administration (SSA) assumes that he or she has access to a parent or guardian’s income and will evaluate their application as such.

The process of assessing a parent’s income as part of the SSI application process is referred to as parental deeming. The deeming process is simply a method that the SSA uses to determine which sources of income and resources affect a child’s eligibility for SSI benefits.

Deemed income not only determines whether or not a child qualifies, but also the amount of the monthly check that he or she will receive if approved.


The deeming process will only occur for a child who is under the age of 18, who is unmarried, and who still lives at home with a parent or guardian. Deeming will stop if any one of these factors changes.

The SSA will deem the income of any adult earner that provides for and lives with the child in question. This means that parents, stepparents, grandparents, foster parents, and even sponsors can all be included in the deeming process. If the child has a parent that lives outside the home (an absent parent), but pays child support, this income may also be counted.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your income counts, you should contact the SSA (1-800-772-1213).


It is important to note that only some types of income and resources are counted by the SSA. Examples of resources and income that are not counted as part of the deeming process include:

  • One home
  • One vehicle
  • Pension fund money
  • Welfare
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • VA pension
  • Foster care payments
  • Disaster assistance
  • Property tax refunds
  • SNAP (formerly food stamps)

In addition to the previously mentioned types of income and resources, the SSA will not count a certain amount of money for family living expenses. In 2013 for each additional child living in the household, the monthly living allowance is $356. For a single parent, the monthly living allowance is $710. For two parents, the monthly living allowance is $1,066. Keep in mind that these allowances only exist for individuals who do not earn any other type of benefits.

It is very important that you keep the SSA updated during the application process. Any changes in living circumstances or income could make a child ineligible.

For more detailed information about the parental deeming process, visit the following page:

Spotlight on Deeming Parental Income and Resources

Submitted By: Molly Clarke

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