Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income

What is SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. It's a program run by Social Security. It pays monthly checks to the elderly, the blind, and people with disabilities who don't own many resources or have much income.

If you get SSI, you usually get food stamps and Medicaid, too. Medicaid helps pay doctor and hospital bills.

To get SSI, you must be elderly or blind or have a disability.

  • Elderly means you are 65 or older.
  • Blind means you are either totally blind or have very poor eyesight.
  • A disability means you have a physical or mental problem that is expected to last at least a year or result in death.

How Much Can You Get From SSI?

The basic monthly SSI check is the same in all states. It is:

  • $500 for one person.
  • $751 for a couple.

Not everyone gets this exact amount, however. You may get more if you live in a state that adds to the SSI check. Or you may get less if you or your family have other money coming in each month.

Things You Own and Income You Have

To get SSI, the things you own and income you have must be below certain amounts.

Things You Own:

The government doesn't count everything you own when deciding if you can get SSI.

For example, they don't count your home and some of your personal belongings. Usually, they don't count your car. They do count cash, bank accounts, stocks, and bonds.

You may be able to get SSI if the things they count are no more than:

  • $2,000 for one person
  • $3,000 for a couple

Income You Have:

Income you have is the money you have coming in, such as earnings, Social Security checks, and pensions. Non-cash items you receive such as food, clothing, or shelter also count as income.

The amount of income you can have each month and still get SSI depends on where you live. In some states you can have more income than in others.

If you don't work, you may be able to get SSI if your monthly income is less than:

  • $520 for one person
  • $771 for a couple

If you work, you can have more income each month. If all of your income is from working, you may be able to get SSI if you make less than:

  • $1,085 a month for one person
  • $1,587 a month for a couple

However, if you earn more than $700.00 a month in disability benefits under Social Security, you probably won't be eligible for SSI benefits. In 1999, the Title II disability cutoff amount went from $500.00 to $700.00.

Remember: Theye don't count all your income so you may be able to get SSI even if you have more income, especially if you live in a state that adds money to the SSI checks.

Where You Live

To get SSI checks, you must live in the U.S. or Northern Mariana Islands and be a U.S. citizen or national. (Certain noncitizens also may be eligible for SSI. A Social Security representative can tell you if you qualify.)

How To Sign Up For SSI?

Just call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to set up an appointment with a Social Security representative who will help you sign up. You can speak to a service representative between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on business days. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on business days.

The Social Security Administration treats all calls confidentially -- whether they're made to our toll-free numbers or to one of our local offices. We also want to ensure that you receive accurate and courteous service. That is why we have a second Social Security representative monitor some incoming and outgoing telephone calls.

Source: Social Security Administration

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