The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program aids individuals with low income and limited resources who often struggle with daily expenses. This federal government program focuses on helping those who have a hard time paying their bills every day. In this article, you will get a better understanding of how the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program works and how it improves the quality of life for many.
What to Know About Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The essential information you need to know about the program is that it is a federal program funded by general taxes. SSI is available through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSI gives monthly payments to qualifying people to help in getting basic needs such as food, housing, clothing, and more.
Who is the SSI Program For?
One of the SSI’s biggest advantages is that it is simple and completely free of charge to apply. You can easily check your eligibility without spending any money. However, it is best to keep in mind that applicants are eligible to receive SSI if they meet the following requirements:
- Have limited income
- Have limited resources
- Are disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old
- Have a qualifying citizenship status
In some cases, a person may automatically be entitled to receive SSI if they already benefit from another program. Some programs that may qualify individuals include receiving retirement benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
With the most common eligibility criteria mentioned above, we suggest that you also keep the following requirements in mind:
- Individuals must have qualifying resident status.
- Individuals must not be absent from the country for a calendar month or more than 30 consecutive days.
- Must meet other requirements.
How Can You Tell If You are Ineligible?
You may be ineligible to receive SSI for certain reasons. Check the following disqualifications before applying:
- An applicant is in jail or prison.
- An applicant has a felony that is outstanding.
- An applicant has an outstanding arrest warrant.
- An applicant is part of a public institute.
- An applicant gives away resources.
However, even if you think you may be ineligible you can still apply since the application is free. The worst case scenario is that you just waste your time!
What “Disability” Means
A person may be qualified for SSI if they have a disability. However, there are some key points to remember about disability while applying. The SSA can only approve of certain disabilities if it’s physical or mental and can be determined medically. The disability must fall under any of the following guidelines:
- Has continued for 12 consecutive months or more.
- Will probably last for more than 12 consecutive months.
- Is likely to result in death.
- Is an obstacle when it comes to performing significant productive activities.
How Much Can You Expect Regarding Payments from SSI?
Payments mainly depend on two factors: your current financial circumstances and the maximum payment limit set in 2024. The maximum limits are:
- $943 per individual/child.
- $1,415 per couple.
What are The Resource Limits?
Resources are also considered when applying for the SSI program. Resources mean everything you possibly own. This includes:
- Bank accounts
- Property or land
- Life insurance
- U.S Saving Bonds & Stocks
- Mutual funds
- Any possible property that could be changed into cash and can aid with housing or finding food or shelter
Because of this, there are some resource limits to keep in mind:
- $2,000 per individual.
- $3,000 per couple.
There are some resources that the SSA will not count. These resources are:
- Specific personal belongings (like a wedding ring)
- Your house or the land on which the house is built
- A single vehicle that is used for commuting
- Household goods
- Personal or family burial plots within the cemetery
- Life insurance policies with less than the amount of $1,500
What Are The Income Limits?
The income limits set in 2024 are $1,971 per month for individuals and $2,915 per month for couples. These income limits are important to remember when applying for the SSI program and could change. There are some forms of income that the SSA will not include when determining your income limits. This includes:
- Scholarships, grants, and fellowships that are used for covering tuition fees
- The first earned $20 of a monthly payment
- Home energy assistance
- Random amounts of income that are small and don’t happen often
- Income tax refunds
Ways to Apply for the SSI Program
One of the many benefits of the SSI program is that you can apply to it in various ways. You can either apply through a phone call or online, depending on your preferences. To reach out over the phone, you can contact the following number at 1-800-772-1213 to apply. In case you are deaf or hard of hearing, contact the number TTY 1-800-325-0778 or (TRS) 1-800-772-1213 which works with telecommunications relay services.
When applying online, the process usually takes no longer than 10 minutes. You will first need to inform the SSA that you are requesting an application for SSI. Then, you will need to fill out a list of personal information like:
- Name & date of birth
- Mailing address
- Phone number
- Social Security number
- Email address (optional)
After submitting your application, you will be contacted by a representative from the SSA who will assist you in your application. Expect an email or mail within seven to 14 business days with details of your scheduled meeting. It’s also possible for the SSA representative to get in touch with you through a phone call. It’s always advised to submit your application as early as you can to get the benefits and support of SSI as fast as possible.
Summing Up the SSI Program
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program targets people with little to no income and limited resources to help improve their current financial state. The basic criteria of eligibility for this program are a proven limited income and limited resources. On top of that, applicants should be 65 years old or above, be blind or suffer from a disability. You can choose to apply through the phone or online. You can also contact your local SSA to find out more about the program or application process!