Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays monthly cash benefits to people who are age 65 or older, those who are blind or those who have a disability and who do not own much or have a lot of income. The standard of disability is the same as with Social Security Disability (SSD), however, to qualify for Supplemental Security Income a financial need threshold must also be met. SSI kicks in for the disabled when they do not qualify for SSD or the amount of SSD they will receive puts them below the financial standard.
SSI is not just for adults. Monthly SSI Disability benefits may go to disabled and blind children too.
To qualify for SSI benefits, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, which can be confusing and may vary state by state. The requirements in New York are different from the requirements in Florida or any other state, but our advocates will explain everything to you when we discuss your SSD claim.
Social Security Disability vs SSI
Social Security Disability Income is not the same as another disability program known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While the requirements are essentially the same for each, Social Security Disability Income is intended for people with a recent work history. As an employee, you pay into Social Security through payroll taxes and accumulate work credits for each quarter of a year you are employed. If you become disabled, you can seek SSDI benefits.
SSI is for people without a sufficient work background to meet the requirements for Social Security Disability Income. To qualify for SSI, however, they must meet strict financial requirements. For example, their assets must be very limited.
SSI Financial Eligibility and Benefits
While you must have a disability as determined by the SSA to qualify for both types of benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is very different than Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in one very important respect. SSI benefits are public assistance, and therefore they are “needs-based.” Your assets, income, and other resources can make you ineligible for SSI benefits. Certain assets and resources are exempt, but in general, anything you can sell to bring in some money to support yourself works against you.
If you qualify, your SSI benefit amount will be based on your income, resources, and living situation. Certain income, such as food stamps, will not count against your federal SSI benefits. The federal monthly maximum and the state supplement amount change every year.
In 2014, the federal benefit rate is $721 for an individual and $1,082 for a couple. Some states supplement your federal SSI benefit with additional payments. This makes the total SSI benefit levels higher in those states. SSI benefit amounts and state supplemental payment amounts vary based upon your income, living arrangements and other factors.
Many people will have their SSI benefits application rejected. Having a professional advocate on your side can maximize the chances of winning your benefits case. We are here to do the hard work for you and get you the benefits you need.