Supplemental Security Income - The Lifeline for America's Vulnerable Populations

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Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a program that provides cash assistance to the elderly, disabled, and other eligible individuals. Demonstrating a great financial need is one of the crucial requirements to be considered eligible for the program. The cash assistance that is given to these eligible individuals is intended for expenses such as food, shelter, clothing, and other basic needs.

How Is The Supplemental Security Income Funded

For starters, the supplemental security income (SSI) program is not funded by the Social Security Administration (SSA), they only administer the program. The funds for the program came from the general funds of the US Treasury and not from Social Security Taxes.

Eligibility for SSI

To be eligible for the Supplemental Security Income Program, one must meet the following:

  • Must be disabled or elderly (65 years or above);
  • Demonstrate great financial need and lack of financial resources (a qualified individual should have less than 2,000 US dollars of assets and 3,000 US dollars for couples);
  • Must be a legal citizen of the US and
  • Must be living in any of the 50 states in the country.

Take note that your marital status and the financial status of your spouse, child, or any member of the household are also factors that will affect your eligibility for Supplemental Security Income. If you are eager to know your eligibility for this program, you can use the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool.

Keep In Mind

If you are a beneficiary of the SSI or are planning to apply for the program, here are some things you should keep in mind:

  1. It is crucial to report any changes to your financial situation since your eligibility and monthly benefits you will or are receiving are based on this data. The data can be any but not limited to the following:
    • A new job;
    • Wage increase; or
    • Additional income resources.
  2. Children who are blind or disabled may be qualified for Supplemental Security Income (the financial situation is also assessed in this kind of situation);
  3. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is funded by the US Treasury, unlike the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) wherein the funds came from the taxes paid by the people; and
  4. One can be eligible for both the SSI and the SSDI.
How Much To Receive?

Back in 2014, the basic monthly benefit given is 720 US dollars for qualified individuals while qualified couples receive 1,082 US dollars of monthly benefits. However, for those qualified individuals who receive additional support and in-kind maintenance, the monthly benefits will be reduced to one-third less of the basic monthly benefit. Further, for those individuals who are under the long-term care of Medicaid, the monthly benefit given to them is 30 US dollars. Thus, the monthly amount received may vary depending on the income and additional resources of the beneficiary.

How To Apply For Supplemental Security Income

If you want to apply for the SSI, just call the Social Security number: 800-772-1213 and get started. You can also apply by going to your state's local Social Security Office, however, due to the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, Social Security Offices do not encourage walk-in applications and one must file for an appointment first. You may contact your state’s local Social Security Office about this matter. Applying online is also a good choice. You just have to log in to your Social Security Account and search for available resources regarding Supplemental Security Income.

Frequently Asked Questions
Will my marriage affect my SSI benefits?

For Social Security Disability Benefits and Retirement Benefits, the amount you will receive will stay the same. However, for other programs, the benefits you will receive may be affected, listed below are how your SSI benefits will be affected by your marriage:

• Your spouse’s income and other resources will affect the benefits you will receive;
• If both of you are receiving SSI benefits, the benefit amount to be received will be converted from an individual rate to a couple’s rate.

It is crucial to report such changes to the Social Security Administration.

How do my resources affect my SSI benefits?

Resources refer to the source of money used for paying for food, shelter, and other basic needs. Examples of these would be bank accounts and/or properties. These resources are the basis of the SSA in determining your eligibility for the SSI. However, resources like your home value are not included in this matter.

How to get supplementary payments for SSI?

The majority of the states in the country provide supplementary payments to qualified SSI beneficiaries and every state has its policies and guidelines in getting these payments. Take note also that the amount provided may vary depending on the living costs in the state. You can contact or inquire at your state’s local agency to know the details of getting your payments.

What details do I need to report to social security when I get my SSI benefits?

It is crucial to report to the SSA every time there are changes to your income and resources. If you fail to do this:

• You may not receive the correct amount of money;
• You may receive an amount more than the amount you are eligible for (in this case, you are obliged to pay back the excess money you received);
• You may be penalized for not reporting the change as soon as possible (usually, you should report the change before the last 10 days of the month that the change occurred). The penalty includes reducing your benefit by 25 to 100 US dollars.
• There is also a possibility that the SSA will impose a sanction against you by withholding payments for 6 -24 months.
• There is also a possibility that you will face larger fines or imprisonment especially if proven you intentionally withheld important information.

Why is my SSI benefits eligibility under review?

The SSA regularly reviews your eligibility for the SSI to make sure that you receive the correct benefit amount each month. During the review, the SSA will ask several questions concerning your income, work, and other resources. Make sure to provide the right information and report the changes in your income and resources as it will affect the amount of money you receive. Failure to do so will affect your eligibility for the program and even charge you with fines.

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