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SSI (Supplemental Security Income)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a government program currently operating in the United States. It gives stipends to people who are disabled, blind or are 65 years of age or older. Although many people believe that the program receives its funds from the Social Security trust fund, it actually receives them from the United States Treasury general funds. In 1974, the SSI program was started in an attempt to replace state and federal programs that were already in existence to assist adults. The goal of restructuring all of the assistance programs was to bring a measure of standardization to the level of benefits that people received and the requirements for eligibility.

SSI Eligibility

For a person to qualify to receive benefits from the SSI program, he or she must meet all of the following requirements:

  • The person has resources and an income that fall within the program’s criteria
  • The person is a legal resident on the United States, Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, a student who is abroad temporarily or the child of military parents that have been permanently stationed in a foreign country.

SSI Ineligibility

A person is not eligible for SSI if any of the following are true:

  • The person is outside of the U.S. for a period of longer than 30 days (there are some exceptions)
  • The person does not give permission for the SSA to contact their financial institution to review their records
  • The person violates the conditions of their parole
  • The person has a warrant for their arrest
  • The person does not apply for all other benefits they are eligible for
  • The person resides in a public institution for one complete calendar month

SSI Income Limits

In order for a person to qualify for SSI benefits, their income must be under a certain level. The income level is based on the state that the person is living in at the time they apply for benefits. If a person moves to a different state while their SSI application is still pending in their former state, they will need to reapply in their current state. The income limit is also based on the type of income, the amount of people that reside with the applicant and the applicant’s living arrangement.

SSI Resources Limits

The SSI applicant’s resources must also fall below a specific level. This level is $5,000 for a child applicant living with two parents, $4,000 for a child applicant living with one parent, $3,000 for the applicant and their spouse and $2,000 for an applicant who is single. There are conditional SSI benefits that the applicant can receive if some of the resources are not liquid. In other words, resources that can’t be sold within one month.

How to Apply for SSI Benefits

People can apply for SSI benefits in person at their local SSA office or over the phone. If an applicant is going to apply in person, it would be wise to make an appointment so there is no need to wait. If a person is confined to their home and unable to travel because of a physical problem, the SSA can make an appointment to visit the applicant at their home.

SSI Required Documentation

SSI applicants will need the following:

  • Social Security number
  • Proof of medical condition
  • Proof or resources
  • Proof of immigration status or U.S. citizenship
  • Proof of living arrangements
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of age

For more information, visit http://www.ssa.gov/