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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

Countable Income

2131. Countable Income

2131.1 What is "countable income"?

Countable income is the amount left over after:

  1. Eliminating from consideration all items that are not income; and

  2. Applying all appropriate exclusions to the items that are income.

Countable income is determined on a calendar month basis. It is the amount actually subtracted from the FBR to determine your eligibility and to compute your monthly benefit amount. (See §2132.)

2131.2 Why is it important to distinguish earned income from unearned income?

It is important to distinguish earned income from unearned income because not as much earned income is countable.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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