What is Supplemental Security Income Program? – A program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI), offered by the Social Security Administration, helps low-income older and disabled people. Even though it is often referred to as a component of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), it is a separate program. SSI applications aren’t difficult to submit, but entry into the program is difficult. You should know what your benefit level is before applying so that you can determine whether you qualify.
SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is a program that works with Social Security to assist low-income seniors and disabled people. People with disabilities and seniors with limited resources and income can receive modest income support from SSI to pay for medicines they need and keep a roof over their heads.
What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
The Supplemental Security Income program provides benefits to disabled (or blind) children and adults, as well as to those age 65 and older who are not disabled. Low-income people and few resources can benefit from the program’s supplemental income. Unlike other Social Security programs, it receives funding from general taxes instead of Social Security taxes. The same benefits you will receive depend on your circumstances, as explained in the following section.
It was the welfare program reforms of President Richard Nixon that led to the establishment of this program. A federal program was launched in 1974, combining state programs with federal ones.
This program is separate from Social Security Disability Insurance, which is for working-age people who cannot work because of disabilities. That program has different eligibility requirements, benefit levels, and application processes. It is possible to apply to both programs, but they are different, and you would need to apply separately.
Supplemental Security Income Limits and Benefits
It is the federal benefit rate that determines the SSI benefit level. In 2022 and 2023, that amounts to $841 and $914 for individuals, and $1,261 and $1,371 for couples. You’ll receive that amount as your maximum benefit. You may, however, receive less based on other factors, such as your total income and assets.
To qualify for SSI, your income and assets must be below certain thresholds. As of 2022, the following income limits were in effect:
- Individuals whose only source of income is wages receive $1,767
- Individuals who do not receive wages receive $861
- The cost of living for couples whose only source of income is wages is $2,607
- For couples who do not earn wages, it is $1,281
A person receiving SSI can also have a certain amount of resources. A resource can be either cash or an asset that can be sold for cash. You do not have to count these resources towards your limit, however:
- Your house
- A vehicle used for transportation
- Insurance policies with a face value of less than $1,500
- You or your immediate family can purchase a burial plot
- Up to $1,500 in burial funds
- Personal items and household goods
- A business’s property
- Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) funds
The resource limits for adults are $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. When there are two parents in a house, the limits are $5,000 for a single parent and $4,000 for a child with a single parent.
Who is Eligible for Supplemental Security Income(SSI)?
Adults who are:
- Those who are 65 years of age or older, blind, or disabled.
- Having a limited income (wage, pension, etc.).
- Limited resources (what you own).
- Citizens, nationals, and noncitizens of the United States.
- Residents of a state, district, or island of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible. No United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or Guam is included. SSI payments may be received outside the U.S. by military children and students temporarily abroad with their military parents.
Children Who are:
- They have a physical or mental condition that severely restricts their daily activities for a period of 12 months or more or may result in death, and they are under 18 years of age.
- Have limited income, resources, or benefits (benefits based on need).
- You can find more information about SSI for children on the website.
How to Apply for Supplemental Security Income(SSI)?
A person can apply for SSI online at the Social Security Administration’s website. You can also visit your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 if you prefer.
In order to complete your application, you will need the following information and items:
- Proof of age and Social Security number
- A list of doctors or healthcare professionals and their contact information
- Information about medication dosages
- The results of the tests and the labs
- Summary of work history
- The W-2 form or the federal tax return
- Marriage certificate and Social Security numbers of family members
How Is SSI Different From Social Security Benefits?
SSI may be available to many people who are also eligible for Social Security benefits. It is actually possible to apply for Social Security benefits at the same time as applying for SSI. There are, however, many differences between SSI and Social Security.
- A Social Security benefit may be paid to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. As opposed to Social Security benefits, SSI benefits are not based on your previous work experience or the work experience of a family member.
- The SSI program is funded by general taxes collected by the U.S. Treasury, including income tax and corporate tax. The SSI program is not funded by Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) taxes.
- Medical assistance (Medicaid) is also available to SSI recipients in most states to cover hospital stays, doctor bills, prescription drugs, and other medical expenses.
- Many states also provide SSI recipients with supplemental payments.
- SSI recipients can receive food assistance as well. SSI applications are also considered food assistance applications in some states.
- The first of the month is the payment date for SSI benefits.
- You must have limited income and resources to qualify for SSI if you’re disabled, blind, or 65 years old.
- Furthermore, to receive SSI, you must:
- Applicants must be citizens or nationals of the United States or qualified aliens;
- You must live in at least one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands.
- You must be present in the U.S. for a full calendar month or more than 30 consecutive days.
What services are covered by SSI?
When you receive SSI, you are automatically eligible for Medicaid. The Medicaid program provides you with access to all services that Medicaid approves.
How Does Marriage Affects SSI Eligibility and Benefits?
There are two important ways in which being married can affect what you receive in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a benefit administered by Social Security for low-income older and disabled people:
- You and your spouse can qualify for SSI, but your combined benefit will be less than the sum of your two personal benefits.
- Social Security can consider your spouse’s income when determining your eligibility or payment amount, a process called “deeming.”
The Social Security Administration (SSA) also provides disability insurance (SSDI) for people unable to work because of serious health issues. Neither a spouse’s earnings nor marital status affects SSDI benefits. A person’s SSDI eligibility and payment amount are determined solely by their own medical condition and work history.
Who is eligible for SSI benefits?
All the following requirements must be met to be eligible for this program: Disability, blindness, or 65 years or older. They are on a limited income and have limited resources. It is necessary to be a citizen or national of the United States or a lawfully permitted alien meeting certain requirements.
Supplemental Security Income provides more cash to low-income families and individuals who need it to make ends meet. People who are disabled and blind, disabled children, and people over 65 who are not disabled may be eligible for the program. Even though the Social Security Administration administers the program, it is funded with general tax dollars, not Social Security funds. Benefits are limited to a certain amount per month. Relationship and wage status also determine income and benefits limits. Children have separate benefit limits.