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Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE)

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What is the SEIE?

If you are a student under the age of 22 who is working, you may qualify for the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE). The SEIE is a great way for students to earn and save money!

When you receive SSI and you work, your SSI dollar amount usually goes down by about $1 for every $2 earned. With the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE), you can earn money from a job, up to a certain amount, and keep your full SSI check!

Am I eligible?

You must be:

Am I regularly attending school?

“Regularly attending school” means you are one of the following:

A combination of hours in the classroom, hours in the community with school staff, and hours working can meet the 12-hour attendance requirement.

If you take the summer off but plan to go back to school in the Fall, you may still qualify for the SEIE during the summer months.

How much does SEIE allow me to exclude?

The SEIE has monthly and annual exclusion limits.

How does it work?

Let’s say you receive $943 SSI and you start a job, earning $700 per month.

Building Wealth: What to do with all this money? Save it in an ABLE account or trust!

A young man with a bookbag slung over his shoulder.

SEIE Calculation Example: Meet Clark

Clark is 20 years old, a full-time student, and eligible for $943 SSI. He begins working a summer job, earning $1,000 gross wages per month. Clark lets Social Security know that he is working and that he is a full-time student. Social Security applies the Student Earned Income Exclusion when calculating Clark’s SSI benefit amount:

Step One: What is Clark’s countable income?

Here, Social Security applies the Student Earned Income Exclusion

   $1,000 gross wages
– $1,000 Student Earned Income Exclusion
= $ 0

Social Security continues with the calculation:

   $ 0
– $ 20 General Exclusion
   $ 0
– $ 65 Earned Income Exclusion
= $ 0

   $0 / 2 (divide by 2)
= $0 This is Clark’s total countable income

Step Two: What will be Clark’s adjusted SSI?

   $943 SSI
– $ 0 total countable income
= $943 SSI

Step Three: What does Clark get altogether?

   $1,000 gross wages
+ $ 943 SSI check
= $1,943 total monthly income

By claiming the Student Earned Income, Clark is able to earn money and receive a full SSI benefit check.

Student Earned Income Exclusion: Student Instructions

Step #1:
Documentation

Gather the following documentation and check the boxes as you go. You can begin to do this before finding a job.

Step #2:
Visit your Social Security office

Once you begin working, you can apply for the Student Earned Income Exclusion.

Step #3:
Wage reporting

Student Earned Income Exclusion: Teacher Instructions

Your student may qualify for the Student Earned Income Exclusion with Social Security. This exclusion is a great opportunity for your student to build wealth while working!

To apply for the exclusion, your student will need the following information from you:

A letter on school letterhead

Write a brief letter on school letterhead. Include the following:

Sample Letter Template:

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to confirm that [Student Name] is enrolled in a transition program in [School name or district]. This transition program helps students build skills to become employed. [Student Name] attends school for [##] many hours per week, working toward [his/her] vocational goals. [Student Name] is expected to exit the transition program on [date].

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you,

Teacher’s name, Title
Phone number; Email address

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