Supplemental Security Income—SSI—the Other Disability Benefit

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Learn about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability for disabled children and disabled and aged adults who have limited income and assets. Get the information you need to file a claim and the understanding you need about how to qualify for SSI.

Supplement Your Income or Get Disability Benefits without Work Credits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) offers a source of income or a source of supplemental income for disabled adults and children and for adults age sixty-five and over who have limited income and assets. The Social Security Administration (SSA) handles SSI claims. In looking at your SSI application, the first thing that your local SSA office will check for is whether your assets and income including in-kind support and maintenance in the form of free or subsidized shelter or food are within the SSI limits. (Note that all income and assets are counted.) If you are an adult, your spouse’s finances will be considered if you live with your spouse. If you are applying on behalf of a child, the child’s parents’ and stepparents’ income and assets are considered if the parents live with the child.

Once financial eligibility has been determined, your SSI claim or your child’s SSI claim will be sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) for investigation and review to see whether you are or your child is disabled according to Social Security law. The definition of disability and claims process for adults is the same for SSI as it is for Social Security Disability (SSDI). However, children’s SSI claims are evaluated differently to assess any loss of capacity that the child has related to areas of activity appropriate to the child age.

Get more specific information to file an effective SSI claim and to manage your claim after approval by visiting these articles:

  • Getting Payment Started before a Final Disability Approval
    See if your condition or your child’s condition is on a list of illnesses that are presumed to be disabling and that allow up to six months of disability payments to be paid while the claim is being processed to a final decision.
  • Working While Getting SSI
    See how much work income SSI law allows before your SSI benefit is reduced due to work income. Check out the SSI student earned income exclusion (SEIE), the Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS), and other helpful SSI work incentives.
  • Not All Assets Count toward the SSI Resource Limits
    Get a preview of some assets that do not count when determining your eligibility for SSI. Find out how to get SSI payments while you are trying to sell property that exceeds the SSI resource limits. Also learn when giving away property or money may make you ineligible for SSI.
  • Residency and Non-citizen Eligibility Requirements
    If you are not a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national, check your immigration status against the list of alien statuses that allow SSI eligibility. Get the definition for “U.S. National” and find out how long you can be out of the U.S. without interrupting SSI payment.
  • How Your Living Arrangements Affect Your SSI Claim
    In Supplemental Security Income law, living arrangements means where you live, whom you live with, and who pays for your shelter and food. Even homelessness is considered a living arrangement. Find out how each of these situations factors into your SSI eligibility and SSI benefit amount.
  • SSI Appeals
    Get a link to general appeals information that applies to both Social Security and SSI denials. Also, find out about SSI special rules that apply to some SSI disability appeals.
  • How Your SSI Payments Are Calculated
    Learn how SSI treats different kinds of income. See examples with sample calculations that show how SSI benefits are calculated for both eligible individuals and eligible couples.
  • Qualifying for SSI
    Get a summary overview of some of the main points of SSI law that most affect your claim plus detailed information about when children of military personnel living overseas can get SSI even though they don’t meet the SSI U.S. residency requirements.
  • Applying for SSI Disability
    Find out when an SSI application can be filed online versus in a Social Security office. Prepare yourself to file by reviewing proofs and information you need to have ready. Learn how to apply if you will soon be released from a public institution or you are a foster child turning age eighteen within ninety days.
  • More about SSI Applications
    Get more information about the three stages of SSI applications and the five-step disability review process for adults.
  • Why You Have to Declare Family Income and Asset
    Get an explanation of the reason behind the law that parents and stepparents of disabled children and spouses of disabled or aged adult applicants must provide information about their finances if they live with the person who is applying for or receiving SSI.
  • Calculating SSI Benefits When Your Spouse Has Income
    Get an explanation of the formula used to calculate your financial eligibility for SSI when you live with your spouse and your spouse has income. See a sample calculation that illustrates the rules; then plug your family’s income into the sample to estimate your potential SSI benefit.
  • Calculating SSI Benefits for a Disabled Child
    Learn how Social Security determines whether your income and assets affect your child’s eligibility for SSI. Estimate your child’s SSI payment amount by inserting your family’s income into a sample calculation.
  • Parental and Spousal Income That Doesn’t Count
    Find out why some kinds of income do not count when deemed income is calculated. View a list of more than two dozen sources of income that won’t affect your child’s or your spouse’s eligibility for SSI.
  • Payment Processing Times after Medical Approval
    Get estimated time frames for payment of your SSI back pay. Find out how receiving public assistance can extend the time you wait for payment. Learn when your back pay will be paid in installments and what qualifies as an exception to installments allowing release of more or all of your back pay.
  • What to Do When Your SSI Payment Doesn’t Come
    Find out how soon and how to report a missing SSI payment when the payment was due by DirectExpress card, direct deposit, or check. Find out when you may be able to access an emergency advance payment or immediate payment if the missing payment is causing a financial emergency.
  • Working While Receiving SSI and SSI Work Incentives
    Find out how you can use your non-SSI income that is now reducing your SSI to fund a Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS), while receiving full SSI to live on. Learn about two other possible sources for funding education and/or vocational training.
  • Getting More Education While on SSI
    Find out when and how attending school will or will not affect your eligibility for SSI benefits. Also find out how you can earn as much as $7,350 a year when you are a student and not have a reduction in your SSI benefits.
  • Payment for an Essential Person
    Find out who qualifies as an Essential Person learn why very few SSI recipients now get extra SSI benefits to cover an Essential Person’s needs.
  • Changes You Must Report
    Get clarity on the events and changes you must report to the Social Security Administration to avoid having an SSI overpayment or underpayment. Find out the deadline for timely reporting. Get a list of things someone else should report for you if you are not able to report for yourself and find out some special reporting requirements in a few states.
  • Representative Payee Responsibilities for a Minor SSI Recipient
    Learn about the special recordkeeping and reporting that a representative payee is required to do about the use of funds from a child’s Dedicated Account. See what are allowable uses of a Dedicated Account and find out how long you must keep receipts.
  • Other Possible Sources of Financial Help
    Get information about the health insurance you will usually qualify for when you become eligible for SSI and learn about potential sources of health insurance for your children as well as food stamps and potential housing assistance.
  • Disability-Related Work Expenses Can Increase Your SSI
    Find out which disability-related work expenses you can use to reduce your countable work earnings and thus increase your SSI benefit. See when a medical expense could be a work-related expense. Learn the difference between allowable impairment-related expenses for people who are blind/statutorily blind and for sighted people.

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