Supplemental Security Income is a federal program that provides financial assistance to eligible individuals with disabilities, as well as elderly individuals with limited income and resources. According to the Social Security Administration, the total number of recipients in 2021 for this program was 1,148,777.
Because the SSA offers various programs, it can be easy to confuse them. SSI has very particular criteria for eligibility and is a very specific program only available to a limited group.
Eligibility for SSI
SSI is available to individuals who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled and have limited income and resources. It is a need-based program at its core.
To qualify, you must meet certain financial criteria. The SSA sets strict income and resource limits to qualify for benefits. Income includes money you earn from work, as well as other sources like Social Security benefits and pensions. Resources encompass assets such as cash, bank accounts and property. These limits periodically adjust for inflation, so it is important to stay updated on the current limits.
If you wish to qualify due to blindness or disability, you must provide evidence that your disability prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity and will last for at least 12 months or result in death. The SSA will evaluate your medical records and may request additional medical exams or documentation.
Applying for SSI
The application process for SSI begins with contacting the SSA. You can apply online, by phone or by scheduling an appointment at your local SSA office. During the application process, you will need to provide detailed information about your financial situation, medical conditions and any relevant documentation, such as medical records or proof of income.
Maintaining eligibility for SSI requires regular reporting to the SSA about changes in your income, resources, living situation or medical condition. Failure to report changes promptly may affect your benefit amount or even lead to the termination of your benefits.
SSI is a lifeline for individuals with disabilities and elderly individuals with limited means. Once you have an approval, you will receive monthly cash payments to help cover basic living expenses, such as food, shelter and clothing. The exact amount of your SSI benefit depends on your income, resources and living arrangements.