Paying your bills can be difficult during tough economic times, and even harder for the aged and disabled. For the disabled, blind, or those over age 65 who also fall below maximum income requirements, the Social Security Administration offers Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Distinct from Social Security Disability Benefits, SSI benefits are available to those who qualify, even if the applicant has not worked long enough to qualify for SSD. SSI benefits are not only available for adults – blind or disabled children can also obtain SSI benefits provided they qualify. Some applicants may be eligible for both SSI and SSD benefits.
Supplemental Security Income Basics
SSI benefits provide a supplement of cash for basic needs such as clothing, food and shelter. In a monthly snapshot provided by the Social Security Administration, more than five million Americans received Supplement Security Income payments in June 2010.
Unlike Social Security Disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income is not paid for by Social Security taxes. SSI benefits are paid for by U.S. Treasury funds.
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits an individual must meet certain low income requirements and be disabled. The Social Security Administration will review a person’s income and resources when determining eligibility for benefits. To be found disabled, an individual must be suffering from a physical or mental condition that prevents them from working for at least one year.
The monthly payment for SSI varies and can be increased with income provided by the claimant’s state or decreased if other income or resources become available to the claimant. In 2010, the federal benefit rate in $674 a month for an individual and $1,011 for a couple. Once awarded Supplemental Security Income benefits, the claimant is entitled to Medicaid. Medicaid offers health care at no cost.
Representation by a Social Security Attorney at a Supplemental Security Income hearing increases the likelihood of a favorable decision.