Supplemental Security Income (SSI): What Is It?

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Question: 

How does SSI work? Who is eligible? (G. Vergara, Doral) 

Answer: 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It provides monthly payments to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. The base monthly federal amount varies depending on your living arrangement and countable income. 

Not everyone gets the same amount. You may get more if you live in a state that adds money to the federal supplemental security income (SSI) payment. You may get less if you have other income such as wages, pensions, or Social Security benefits. You may also get less if someone pays your household expenses or if you live with a spouse and he or she has income. 

Related: Exactly What Is Medicare?

You may be able to get SSI if your resources are worth $2,000 or less. A couple may be able to get SSI if they have resources worth $3,000 or less. 

Anyone may apply. The SSI program provides monthly payments to people who: 

  • Are at least age 65 or blind or disabled. 
  • Have limited income (wages, pensions, etc.). 
  • Have limited resources (the things you own). 
  • Are U.S. citizens, nationals of the U.S., or some noncitizens. 
  • Reside in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands. 

Click here to check your eligibility for SSI.

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