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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Understanding Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program administered by Social Security that benefits people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 and older.  Blind or disabled children may also receive SSI.

To receive SSI you must reside in the United States, not be absent from the country for 30 consecutive days or more, and be either a U.S. citizen or national, or a qualified non-citizen.

Many people who are eligible for SSI may also be entitled to Social Security Benefits.  However, SSI and Social Security differ.  Social Security benefits are paid to individuals who have worked long enough and paid Social Security Taxes, where SSI benefits are not based on prior work.  SSI is financed by general funds of the United States Treasury, personal income taxes, corporate and other taxes, and Social Security taxes do not fund the SSI program.

To qualify for SSI you must have limited income and few assets.  Effective January 2019, prior to reaching full retirement age, you will be able to earn up to $17,640.  After that, $1 will be deducted from your payment for every $2 that exceeds the limit.  Social Security requires SSI recipients to have less than $2,000 in assets for a single person, and less than $3,000 for a couple.   

The maximum Federal amounts of SSI that can be received are $771 per month for an eligible individual, and $1,157 per month for an eligible couple.  SSI benefits are paid on the first of the month, and recipients can also receive medical assistance (Medicaid) to pay for hospital stays, doctors bills, prescription drugs and other health costs.

If you are interested in applying for SSI you can schedule an appointment with a local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213 or file an application online at