Once you reach retirement age, most Americans are able to take advantage of social benefit programs. Two of the most well-known, Social Security and Medicare, are milestones. Unfortunately, though, these aren’t always enough to help people get by. For this reason, Supplemental Security Income can help patch the gaps. Here’s everything you need to know about this program.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) aids seniors with a disability. Specifically, SSI helps seniors who face face financial hardships. Not all seniors will qualify, but this is a valuable resource for those who do. Eligibility is based on disability, resources, income, and citizenship.
There are three different ways to meet the disability qualification.
If you meet one of the qualifications above and have limited resources, you may be eligible for SSI. The SSA considers limited resources as having less than $2,000 for individuals or less than $3,000 for a couple. “Resources” can include:
There are, however, some things resources don’t include, such as your home and land where you live, your car, life insurance valued at less than $1,500, burial plots, and burial funds (up to $1,500).
Yes. If you receive income from working, the first $65 per month you earn won’t affect your SSI eligibility. However, if you earn more than this amount your benefit could be reduced by half of the amount you earn over $65. For example, if you earn $265 per month from work, this means your benefits would be reduced by $100.
Non-work income counts toward eligibility, too. Benefits from Social Security, Veterans Affairs, worker’s compensation, unemployment, and even gifts from family and friends all count toward the reduction rule. However, the SSA will only exempt the first $20 of this income (instead of $65).
Certain benefits, such as SNAP and energy assistance, do not count as income.
You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to collect SSI benefits, but immigrants must meet additional criteria. First, you must meet the Department of Homeland Security’s definition of a qualified non-citizen. Then, you must meet at least one of the following five conditions:
If you meet these requirements and are able to maintain them, Social Security SSI will provide a monthly payment. Individuals can receive up to $733, and couples can receive up to $1,100. Anyone can apply, but be sure to have your Social Security card, birth certificate, and housing, bank, and employment records handy.