Supplemental Security Income

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Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a federal government program created to assist those most in need. The current SSI program was incorporated into Title XVI of the Social Security Act during the Nixon era. Before this time, programs existed to help the elderly, blind, or disabled, but they were run on a state level and did not always provide consistent support. In 1972, President Nixon signed the Social Security Amendments, and the Federal SSI program was born.

SSI benefits can be a major boon for your disabled child, providing him or her with the necessary monthly monies to pay for food, housing, and shelter. All those with disabled children should carefully review the SSI program and apply if they believe their minor or adult child might meet eligibility requirements. For additional assistance, Stern Law, PLLC is pleased to help: Please call (800)462-5772 today.

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The purpose of SSI benefits is to assist people who are least capable of maintaining adequate employment and self-sufficiently caring for their basic life needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. To this end, receipt of SSI benefits is limited to those individuals who are:

  • Over the age of 65
  • Considered to be legally blind
  • Disabled children or adults.

In addition, applicants must have limited income and resources. The Social Security Administration sets strict income and asset limits. Recipients must also be a resident of the United States, not absent the country for more than 30 consecutive days, and be either a U.S. citizen or national, or fall into one of the categories of eligible non-citizens.

SSI benefits vary greatly from Social Security benefits, but individuals sometimes get confused about these two programs. Some of the central differences include:

  • SSI benefits are not based on your work history or family member’s prior employment. You can have no work history and still receive SSI. Social Security funds, on the other hand, are generally only paid to you if you are “insured,” meaning you have worked long enough to qualify.
  • SSI is financed by the U.S. Treasury, and Social Security taxes such as those assessed under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA, and the Self Employment Contributions Act, or SECA, do not go towards the SSI program.
  • SSI beneficiaries are often also eligible for medical assistance through Medicaid and food assistance, depending upon your state.

Some similarities do exist between the two programs. They both provide monthly benefits and are administered by the SSA. Additionally, they utilize the same definition of disability for those over the age of 18.

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Supplemental Security Income provides monthly cash benefits to be received at the first of the month and utilized for food, housing, and basic necessities. The Federal government sets a maximum monthly SSI each year, and the amount you will receive varies by several factors such as whether you are married or live with another.

Currently, individuals can receive a maximum of $721 a month if they either live alone or pay their share of food and housing costs. Couples can receive a maximum of $1,082. Aged, blind, or disabled people who live in the household of another will be limited to $465.34 per month, for individuals, and $698.67 for a couple. Those who live in a Medicaid institution are capped at $30 a month. The maximum benefit rate will be reduced by your amount of countable income, if applicable.

In addition, numerous states elect to supplemental federal SSI payments. All states except for Arizona, North Dakota, Mississippi, Northern Mariana Islands, and West Virginia pay some sort of supplement for those who receive SSI. Several states administer their supplement through SSA, making it easy for you to determine your final SSI amount. Other states pay and administer their own supplemental payments. SSA.gov is a great resource with links to state assistance websites where you can apply for your supplemental benefits.

Stern Law, PLLC desires to see every disabled person, whether minor or adult, receive the benefits they are eligible for. For any questions concerning the SSI program, eligibility, or for help applying, call Stern Law, PLLC today at (800)462-5772.