Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a monthly public benefit paid through the U.S. Social Security Administration. SSI benefits are paid on the first of the month. The monthly maximum federal amounts for SSI for 2022 are $841 for an eligible individual, $1,261 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $421 for an essential person.
An essential person is a helper who lives with a recipient of SSI and provides essential care to the SSI recipient. A person is typically able to get SSI if their resources are worth $2,000 or less. A couple may get SSI if their resources are worth $3,000 or less.
SSI pays benefits to adults and children with a disability or blindness who are on a limited income and have resources below specific financial limits. SSI also pays benefits to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial qualifications. An individual may be eligible to receive SSI monthly payments even if they are already receiving Social Security disability insurance or retirement benefits.
How to Qualify for SSI
In order to be eligible for SSI, a person must:
- be either a U.S. citizen or national or a qualified alien
- reside in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands, and
- not be absent from the U.S. for a full calendar month or 30 or more consecutive days.
The medical standards for a disability that qualifies a person for SSI are generally the same as those that qualify a person for Social Security disability insurance, if the individual is 18 or older. For children, from birth to just prior to age 18, there is a separate definition of disability under SSI. The medical standard is based on the severity of a person’s disability. Financial need does not factor into the determination.
A person can apply for SSI by applying online with the Social Security Administration or calling 1-800-772-1213. A local Jefferson County divorce attorney can help with an SSI application by completing the application for the individual and collecting information for their claim. An attorney will also review the application prior to submission. They can be present when the applicant meets with Social Security officials.
How SSI Differs from Social Security
- SSI benefits are not based on an individual or their family member’s prior work.
- SSI is financed by general funds of the U.S. Treasury rather than Social Security taxes collected under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or the Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA).
- In most states, including Alabama, SSI recipients are eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid pays for healthcare costs such as doctor bills and hospital stays.