Everything you need to know about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - Help for people with low incomes (2023)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is one of four different social security programs operated by the United States Social Security Administration. This benefit can be a lifesaver for low-income families as it offers a monthly cash payment.

Of course, like any government program, SSI has strict rules and regulations. Let's talk about what this program is, how it works, and how you can start getting the benefits you need.


What is SSI?

Who is Eligible for SSI?

(Video) Supplemental Security Income 101

How do I apply for SSI?

What happens after the application?

SSI secrets

What is SSI?

SSI is exactly what it sounds like: it's a supplemental payment designed to help low-income American adults and children living with a disability. It's not enough to live alone, but it complements or adds something more to what you already have.

The program is administered by the Social Security Administration but is distinct from Social Security Retirement or Social Security Disability. These programs have completely different rules.

How much does SSI pay?

As of 2023, the current award amount is $841 for an individual and $1,261 for a couple. Some states add an additional surcharge to this amount to help you get even more.

(Video) $841 - $1,261 Monthly for SSI Benefits - Here’s How to Get It…

According to the Social Security Administration, there are only six states that do not pay a supplement to residents who receive SSI. These include Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. The Northern Mariana Islands also do not pay a surcharge.

Who is Eligible for SSI?

SSI is available to adults and children with disabilities who meet income limits. The criteria depend on whether an adult or a child is claiming benefits.

Admission requirements for adults

To be eligible for SSI, the adult must be blind OR have a disability OR be 65 years of age or older. Only one of these three things needs to be true for this requirement to be met.

In general, Social Security defines a disability as a serious medical condition lasting (or expected to last) at least one year or resulting in death. The condition must prevent you from doing the same job as you used to and must also prevent you from doing any other work.

In addition to being blind, disabled, or over the age of 65, adults must meet income limits, resource limits, and citizenship requirements and live in an eligible area.

Eligible areas include US 50, Washington DC and the Northern Mariana Islands. Unfortunately, SSI is not available in Puerto Rico, Guam or the Virgin Islands. The only exceptions are when the applicant is the child of military parents who are permanently on duty outside the United States or when the applicant is a student temporarily residing outside the United States.

Eligibility requirements for children

To be eligible for SSI, a child must be under the age of 18 and have a disability. The disability can be physical or mental, but must seriously limit the child's daily activities for a period of 12 months or more. Terminal conditions are not required to meet the 12 month requirement.

In addition, children must live in households that meet income and resource thresholds.

What are the resource and income limits?

As of 2023, the income limit for one person is $1,913 per month gross wages or net self-employment income. Gifts, child support and other income cannot exceed $934 per month. Also, a person can only have $2,000 in countable resources.

Couples have higher limits. In 2023, the income limit for a couple is $2,827 per month gross wages or net self-employment income. Gifts, alimony, and other income cannot exceed $1,391 per month. Pairs are capped at total countable resources of $3,000.

(Video) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Basics

Countable resources do not include ABLE accounts, funeral funds, or specific funds. They also don't count the house he owns, his wedding rings or household items, nor thosevehicleYou drive. Resources generally mean cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, or other assets that can be easily converted into cash.

There are severe penalties for people who sell resources below their value to circumvent these rules. If you, your spouse or co-owner donate, give away or sell a countable asset below its value, you could lose your benefits for up to 3 years! The length of the penalty depends on what the complaint was.

How do I apply for SSI?

There are several ways to claim SSI benefits. You can make an appointment so someone from the Social Security Administration can help you apply for benefits. Alternatively, you can if you are 64 years of age or youngerfill out your application online.

Regardless of which method you choose, it is important to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation to complete your application.

The Social Security Administration recommends that you have the following documents ready when completing your application:

  • social security number
  • birth certificate
  • Proof of citizenship (if different from birth certificate)
  • admission test
  • resource test
  • Set /To rentReceipt/mortgage payment/property bill
  • Household data (names, dates of birth, social security numbers of everyone)
  • Financial information (about bills and costs)
  • medical records
  • Contact details of the doctor
  • Current recipe list
  • work history
  • PEI (for children)

Remember to keep a copy of any records you send to the Social Security Administration. They'll need to see the original documents and try to mail them back to you, but it's always helpful to have a copy of what you sent. It also helps document when you spoke to management, who you spoke to, and what was said.

What happens after the application?

The Social Security Administration reports that it takes 3-5 months to receive a decision on your SSI application. However, it may vary depending on how complete your application is, how long it takes to request additional documents, and more. The best way to speed up the process is to submit a fully developed claim with all the necessary evidence.

Don't forget to report the changes.

Once approved, you must ensure that you report any required changes within 10 days.

You are required to report:

  • changes of address
  • changes in living arrangements
  • income changes
  • role change
  • changes in family size
  • Change of Citizenship Status
  • change in the cost of living
  • arrest warrants
  • improvement in your health
  • job change

Always complete your Continuing Disability Reviews.

SSI is not a lifetime award. Every few years, the Social Security Administration will ask you to participate in a Continuing Disability Review.

(Video) 1. What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? (2020)

These checks are to ensure you are still eligible for the benefits you are receiving. The law requires a CDR to be performed at least every three years. If your condition is not expected to improve, they can sometimes extend this all at once every 5 to 7 years.

During the CDR, the office will review your income, resources, living conditions, and medical records to ensure you remain eligible for the program.

Child disability awards are reviewed at age 18 against adult criteria.

The case of a child who gets SSI is reviewed a few months before their 18th birthday. During this review, the Office checks whether the condition meets the requirements for an age penalty. In this case, the case will be re-evaluated as an adult case.

SSI secrets

There are a few things you need to know about SSI. A lot of people don't know this, but we've gone through the entire guide, looking for gaps and things you might have missed.

You can designate a representative to help you.

You may designate a representative to assist you with your SSI application. Your agent does not have to aLawyer, any! The person you refer can help you with paperwork, speak to management about your case, and more.

If you cannot afford one, the office can provide you with a list of legal aid resources and other programs that can help you. There are also some attorneys who will help your case on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case.

You have the right to a free interpreter.

If you don't speak English well, you can request a free interpreter. You may also choose to have a bilingual family member, friend, or volunteer assist you, as long as the chosen individual meets the office's requirements.

Please note that children cannot act as interpreters.

SSI offers work incentives.

The Social Security Administration has work incentives for SSI recipients. For example, the bureau doesn't count the first $65 of your earnings. They also don't count money spent on reasonable accommodation to enable you to work with your disability. These customizations can be car modifications, assistive technologies, consulting services, or other tools.

Nicole thelin

Everything you need to know about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - Help for people with low incomes (1)

Nicole is the owner and lead investigator for Low Income Relief. He has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience and has been researching exclusively on low-income issues for the past 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Assistance after aPersonal experience of poverty. When her husband was discharged from the US Army, her family found themselves in dire financial straits. Receiving help from several community agencies, Nicole moved into a nearby low-income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has dedicated herself to supporting low-income families in crisis situations. He regularly spends hundreds of hours reviewing countless resources to ensure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and comprehensive resource directories on the web today. Prior to founding Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter, and content creator. His work has been featured in numerous print and online publications including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. His work has also been highlighted byGoogle for publishersand other leading industry publications.



What is the difference between SSI and Supplemental Security Income? ›

The main difference between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the fact that SSDI is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits.

What can SSI be used to pay for? ›

You can only use money in a dedicated account for the following expenses: Medical treatment and education or job skills training. Personal needs related to the child's qualifying disability — such as therapy and rehabilitation, special equipment, and housing modifications.

What makes someone eligible for SSI? ›

To get SSI, you must meet one of these requirements: • Be age 65 or older. Be totally or partially blind. Have a medical condition that keeps you from working and is expected to last at least one year or result in death. There are different rules for children.

What makes you not eligible for SSI? ›

Workers who don't accrue the requisite 40 credits (roughly 10 years of employment) are not eligible for Social Security. Some government and railroad employees are not eligible for Social Security.

Can you receive cash assistance and SSI? ›

Adults who qualify for both TANF and SSI must accept the SSI. A person cannot receive TANF and SSI at the same time. But a person can receive SSI and medical assistance under Family Health at the same time.

Is supplemental SSI the same as disability? ›

SSI is different from our Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. However, the medical requirements are the same for both programs. To get disability payments, you must have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.

What bills does SSI count? ›

We count in-kind support and maintenance as income when we figure the amount of your SSI. For example, if someone helps pay for your rent, mortgage, food, or utilities, we reduce the amount of your SSI.

How much can my car be worth on SSI? ›

The SSA is not concerned with the value of the vehicle. Owning one $20,000 car won't count hurt you. However, owning two cars that are valued at just over $1,000 will count against you.

How much money can I have in the bank on SSI? ›

To get SSI, your countable resources must not be worth more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple. We call this the resource limit. Countable resources are the things you own that count toward the resource limit. Many things you own do not count.

Is everyone on SSI getting a check? ›

Yes. SSA will be sending payments, checks and direct deposit, to most Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in July. SSA will also be sending a written explanation to each person receiving a payment.

What is the difference between SSI and Social Security? ›

Unlike Social Security benefits, SSI benefits are not based on your prior work or a family member's prior work. SSI is financed by general funds of the U.S. Treasury--personal income taxes, corporate and other taxes.

How much will SSI checks be in 2023? ›

SSI amounts for 2023
RecipientUnrounded annual amounts for—Monthly amounts for 2023
Eligible individual$10,092.40$914
Eligible couple15,136.931,371
Essential person5,057.77458
1 more row

Can you get SSI if you are not working? ›

Can you get SSI if you never worked? In short, yes, and the amount of money you receive will be based on your need. To qualify, you have to meet the same medical disability standards as a person does for SSDI.

Can I get SSI if I can't work? ›

The SSA makes SSI available for individuals that have never worked or have not worked enough to meet the criteria required for SSDI eligibility. SSI also covers people that file a claim for disability benefits, but have not worked for a long time to qualify for SSDI.

Why does SSI want me to see their doctor? ›

Typically, a physical or mental examination with a doctor is scheduled because the SSA feels they need more medical evidence. They will use the medical evidence to decide whether or not you are eligible for disability benefits. If you need more information about your consultative exam, contact Cannon Disability Law.

What cash advance works with SSI? ›

Short-term loans for Social Security and SSI recipients are available from several sources, including cash advance payday loans, personal loans, and credit card advances. The required income amount may be modest.

Can you get an advance on your SSI check? ›

We may pay a one-time emergency advance payment to an individual initially applying for benefits who is presumptively eligible for SSI benefits and who has a financial emergency.

How long does SSI benefits last? ›

As long as you remain disabled, you will continue to receive your disability payments until you reach retirement age. At that point benefits convert to retirement benefits and are payable until death.

How many years can you go back for back pay for SSI? ›

Retroactive pay is a period of up to one year prior to your application date for which the SSA will pay you SSDI benefits, assuming that you were eligible at that time.

What if my disability check is not enough? ›

When your disability check isn't enough to live on, you may have additional options at your disposal. For example, you may qualify for extra help in specific areas such as health care costs, food, and housing. Different federal, state, and local programs may be available.

Does Social Security watch your bank account? ›

The Social Security Administration can only check your bank accounts if you have allowed them to do so. For those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the SSA can check your bank account because they were given permission.

How do you survive on disability income? ›

Here are some tips for surviving on SSDI benefits.
  1. Benefits for Family Members. ...
  2. Supplemental Security Income. ...
  3. Earning Additional Income on SSDI. ...
  4. Ticket to Work Program. ...
  5. Food Stamps. ...
  6. Energy Assistance Programs. ...
  7. Clipping Grocery Coupons. ...
  8. Medication Assistance and Samples.

Can you live with someone on SSI? ›

The Bottom Line

If you live with a spouse and they pay for living or food expenses for you, this doesn't affect your SSI benefit. Similarly, parents can provide this for their children without it affecting their child's SSI benefits. If you live in an institution, you might also see your SSI reduced.

Does SSI ask for receipts? ›

Representative payees are required to maintain detailed and accurate records of all funds received and spent in order to provide a true accounting to SSA. A detailed record of expenditures may include: Receipts.

Can SSI be used to buy a car? ›

Like taking out a loan, buying a car on SSI is possible, but there are limitations to note. If you're an SSI beneficiary, your household is allowed to own one car, so long as it's used as a means of transportation for you and others in your house.

How many cars can I own on SSI? ›

If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), there is no limit to how many cars you can own. If you receive Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you are allowed to own one car.

Can I have a savings account while on SSI? ›

If someone is applying for disability benefits, they may be relieved to learn, yes, you can have a savings account on Social Security disability.

Does SSI know how many bank accounts I have? ›

To verify resources, SSA uses an electronic system that verifies bank account balances to determine if claimants are eligible for SSI. In addition, SSA's system searches for accounts geographically near the SSI applicant or beneficiary. If a claimant fails to report a account, they will find it.

What does Social Security 310 mean? ›

IRS TREAS 310 signals an ACH direct deposit refund or stimulus payment resulting from a filed tax return, amendment, or tax adjustment. According to CNET, 310 is a code that identifies the transaction as a refund from a filed tax return in the form of a direct deposit.

What is the senior stimulus program? ›

Generally, the rebate can be as much as $650. However, it can be as much as $975 for certain seniors. Also, if you received a property tax rebate last year, your 2022 rebate is reduced to 70% of your 2021 rebate.

Are Social Security recipients getting a $1657 check? ›

Who gets the 1657 check from Social Security? The checks worth $1,657 are only for Social Security recipients, not the general public.

Can I get both Social Security and SSI? ›

Many individuals are eligible for benefits under both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs at the same time. We use the term “concurrent” when individuals are eligible for benefits under both programs.

Can you go to jail for not reporting income to SSI? ›

If you intentionally withhold information to continue to receive payments, you may face criminal prosecution. Criminal penalties can include fines and imprisonment.

Who qualifies for cost-of-living payment? ›

This will be paid to eligible households receiving the following benefits: Universal Credit. Income-based Jobseekers Allowance. Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

What changes are coming to Social Security in 2023? ›

The most impactful change in 2023 is the 8.7% cost of living adjustment, or COLA, which takes effect this month. For instance, if you receive $2,000 a month from Social Security, the monthly payout will rise to $2,174 per month.

What is considered to be a permanent disability? ›

Permanent disability (PD) is any lasting disability from your work injury or illness that affects your ability to earn a living. If your injury or illness results in PD you are entitled to PD benefits, even if you are able to go back to work.

What is the most hours you can work on disability? ›

Social Security typically allows up to 45 hours of work per month if you're self-employed and on SSDI. That comes out to around 10 hours per week. The SSA will also see whether or not you're the only person working for your business. You must not be earning SGA, along with not working too many hours.

What are some examples of permanent disability? ›

Some examples of the most common injuries which are considered permanent disability include:
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Amputation.
  • Cardiovascular or respiratory disease.
  • Hearing or vision loss.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.

What is 20 work credits for disability? ›

In 2023 a worker must earn $1,640 to earn one work credit. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you will generally need to have earned a total of 20 work credits, although there are age exceptions to this rule.

What happens if I don't get 40 credits for Social Security? ›

You currently have fewer than the 40 credits needed to become fully insured for retirement benefits. You can still earn credits and become fully insured if you work. We cannot pay you benefits if you don't have enough credits.

Can a housewife get disability? ›

If you're a homemaker or stay-at-home parent, your best option for disability benefits is to apply for supplemental security income. SSI is available to everyone, regardless of your history of paid, taxed work.

What happens when Social Security sends you to their doctor? ›

If you apply for benefits due to disability or blindness and you have no medical source that will furnish your medical records, SSA may send you to a doctor for a specific test or exam. SSA then reviews your medical information, verifies other aspects of your application (income, resources, etc.)

What is a proof of disability letter from doctor? ›

A doctor disability letter is a statement from your primary care doctor that can be used as a source of medical evidence that can help provide support for your disability benefits application.

What not to say in a disability interview? ›

5 Things Not to Say in a Disability Interview
  • No one will hire me; I can't find work. ...
  • I am not under medical treatment for my disability. ...
  • I have a history of drug abuse or criminal activity. ...
  • I do household chores and go for walks. ...
  • My pain is severe and unbearable. ...
  • Legal Guidance When SSDI Benefits Are Denied.

Which is better SSI or SSA? ›

Here are a few more key differences between the two programs: SSDI usually pays higher benefits than SSI. The average SSDI payment is about $1,500, while the average SSI payment is only about $700 per month. The SSDI program can pay benefits to cover the time before you applied.

Can you get SSA and SSI at the same time? ›

Many individuals are eligible for benefits under both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs at the same time. We use the term “concurrent” when individuals are eligible for benefits under both programs.

What are the 3 types of Social Security? ›

Social Security pays five types of benefits:
  • Retirement.
  • Disability.
  • Spouse's/dependent children.
  • Survivors.
  • Medicare.

How do I increase my Social Security disability payments? ›

You can increase Social Security Disability payments by working at least 35 years before retiring, understanding the benefits of working past retirement age, and avoiding Social Security's tax consequences. If you are married, married applicants can maximize their disability payments by claiming their spousal benefits.

At what age does SSI convert to regular Social Security? ›

At full retirement age — which is 66 and 4 months for those born in 1956, two months later for those born in 1957, and is gradually rising to 67 over the next several years — your SSDI payment converts to a retirement benefit. For most beneficiaries, the amount remains the same.

Can you have two bank accounts on SSI? ›

Currently our system allows direct deposit only to a single account, at a financial institution (e.g. checking account, savings account, or prepaid card account). However, you may preauthorize your financial institution to transfer funds into your other bank accounts.

What is the most a Social Security check can be? ›

The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $3,627. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $2,572. If you retire at age 70 in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $4,555.

Does everyone get the same amount of Social Security? ›

The amount of your average wages that Social Security retirement benefits replaces depends on your earnings and when you choose to start benefits.

Will Social Security get a raise in 2023? ›

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will increase by 8.7% in 2023. This is the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) required by law.

Can SSI be stopped? ›

Under some circumstances, we may stop your benefits before we make a determination. Generally, we do this when the information we have clearly shows you are not now disabled but we cannot determine when your disability ended.

How often does SSI review your case? ›

If improvement is expected, your first review generally will be six to 18 months after the date you became disabled. If improvement is possible, but can't be predicted, we'll review your case about every three years. If improvement is not expected, we'll review your case every seven years.


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