Supplemental Security Income Explained

( – When you are underprivileged, the tough economy can make life unbearable. The government offers Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to qualified individuals. This federal program particularly aims to provide financial support to some of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals, for instance, seniors and people with disabilities.

The SSI program was established in 1972 by the U.S. Congress and dubbed “an assistance source of last resort.” Read on to know how it can help you cope with economic insecurity, particularly when your sources of income dwindle.

Who Is Eligible for SSI?

The SSA uses several aspects to determine the eligible individuals for Supplemental Security Income. If you or a loved one is disabled, blind, or has already attained 65 years of age and cannot earn for their basic needs, this fund can help. A huge requirement, however, is to have a limited income from wages, pensions, or other sources. You also ought to have limited resources under your ownership.

To get SSI, you must be a United States citizen, a qualified national, or a legally permitted alien meeting certain criteria. It will also help if you reside in one of the country’s 50 states, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the District of Columbia. Those partaking in studies abroad temporarily or children whose military parent (s) are permanently deployed outside the U.S. could receive SSI payments outside the country.

How Does SSI Work?

The Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) sets the financial limits for SSI eligibility, and the maximum monthly payment beneficiaries can get. Your eligibility largely depends on how much you earn and the total value of your resources.

The SSA defines income as anything you receive in cash or in-kind that you can use to pay for shelter and food. If the amount cannot meet SSI requirements, the agency subtracts it from your gross income. Whatever is left is your countable income. Your countable income is subtracted from the monthly federal benefit to determine your SSI payment.

However, before this calculation, your income should fall below the monthly maximum set by the SSA. Otherwise, you may be ineligible for SSI. A lower income often leads to a potentially higher SSI benefit amount.

For Resources, the SSA categorizes cash, stocks, vehicles, U.S. savings bonds, and insurance, among other things. However, the agency rarely considers all your income sources and resources when determining the SSI benefit amount you should receive. A Social Security official will help review your assets once you apply.

How to Apply for SSI

To make an SSI application, you must fill out an online form on SSA’s website, but the process is relatively simple and takes about five to ten minutes. Then, in 7–10 days, the SSA will give you an appointment date and time at your local Social Security office. During the meeting, an SSA official will assist you in applying for benefits.

Alternatively, you can call the SSA at (800) 772-1213 to schedule an appointment at the nearest Social Security office.

SSI Income Reporting Tips

The SSA needs to know the following details about your earnings:

  • When you get a job, or the job ends.
  • Your monthly gross income.
  • Income decreases or increases.
  • When you start a second or third job, or when such a job ends.
  • If you are blind, any related work expenses.
  • Work expenses brought about by your disability.

You should notify the government about your earnings before the 10th day of the month after any changes in your pay stubs or expenses. Other than calling SSA’s free toll line, (800) 772-1213, you can write to, visit, or call your local Social Security office.

Copyright 2023,