We know readers have various questions regarding the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We decided to set up this SSI FAQs page to address the most common questions we get.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits program.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program, managed by the Social Security Administration, that pays monthly cash benefits to disabled, blind, or elderly people (and even some children) with little income and few assets.
In June 2019, 8.1 million people collected SSI benefits. Of that number, 1.1 million recipients were children.
Here is a breakdown of SSI Recipients by age groups for 2019.
Disabled Adults (Ages 18-64) – 58%
Elderly (Ages 65 or higher) – 28%
Disabled Children (Under Age 18) – 14%
Social Security uses a strict definition of disability that relates to your ability to perform work and the projected length of your disability.
It requires that you submit medical records to support your application. If you have a short-term or partial disability, you are not eligible for SSI or SSDI.
If you are unable to work because of a qualifying physical or mental impairment, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
However, SSDI benefits are available to all workers who have worked at least five of the last 10 years.
If you have not worked, you may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
You are eligible for SSI only if your income falls under the income limits.
Income is any item an individual receives in cash or in-kind that can be used to meet his or her need for food or shelter.
This means that for SSI purposes, Income isn’t just money you make from a job.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) counts the value of in-kind items as part of your income.
No. Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are paid out of general U.S. Treasury funds, not from Social Security taxes.
Therefore, you do not need to have worked a certain amount years, or paid FICA taxes, to be eligible.
The maximum SSI benefit an individual can receive on a monthly basis in 2020 is $783. That amount increases to $1,175 for married couples.
Your Social Security disability benefits will last as long as you are disabled and unable to return to work.
Social Security will periodically monitor your condition, and you are required to notify the SSA if your condition improves.
If you are approved for SSI disability benefits, you are automatically eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Unlike SSDI benefits where there is a wait time to get Medicare, with SSI, there is no wait time to get Medicaid.
If you are approved for SSI benefits, you may also be able to get other benefits from your state or county. For example, you may also be eligible for Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), or other social services.
Call your local social services department or public welfare office for information about the services available in your state or county.
You must have been disabled for at least one year or be expected to be disabled for at least one year to be eligible for SSI benefits
Therefore, if you expect to be out of work for one year or more because of illness or injury, you should file for Social Security Disability benefits.
Social Security retirement benefit is financed by FICA tax on employment income.
Eligibility for Social Security and how much you receive in benefits are based on work history.
However, SSI is needs-based and is not tied to employment history.
Periodically, the Social Security Administration reviews your eligibility for SSI to make sure you are getting the payment amount you qualify for based on your situation.
In these reviews, we ask about your income, resources and living arrangements—things that can change over time.
Whether or not you are able to keep your disability benefits if you move outside of the United States depends on several factors, including:
Under most circumstances, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and leave the U.S., your benefits will stop after 30-days and cannot be reinstated until you return to the U.S.
Benefits for a widow, divorced widow, widower or divorced widower
Divorced spouse’s benefits
Generally, your benefits end if you remarry.
Benefits for a child under age 18 or student ages 18 or 19
Benefits end if you marry.
The Ticket to Work Program provides people receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) more choices for receiving employment services.
The main goal of the program is to assist people on disability benefits in reducing their reliance on disability benefits and become self-sufficient.
For more information about the program, click here.
Generally, if you are receiving workers’ compensation, you probably won’t be eligible to receive SSI benefits.
Yes, it is possible that if you have both limited income/resources and a work history, you can qualify for both benefits.
However, in most cases, if a person receives an SSDI benefit that is higher than the maximum SSI payment, they are not eligible for SSI at all.
We hope this post on SSI FAQs was helpful.
If you have further questions about Social Security, SSI or SSDI, please let us know in the comments section below.
Be sure to check out our other articles on Social Security including SSI payments Schedule.