Disability, SSI

What You Should Know About the SSI Program

January 12, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

two people hiking with a sunsetThe Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash assistance to people with limited income and few resources.

But … how much do you really know about this program?

SSI provides monthly payments to people who are age 65 or older, completely or partially blind, or considered disabled under Social Security’s strict definition of disability. Social Security pays benefits to people who aren’t able to work due to a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Blind or disabled children of parents with limited income and resources can also be eligible for the program.

To qualify for SSI, you’ll need to meet strict income and resources requirements. Income is money you earn, such as wages, disability benefits, and pensions. Income can also include the value of items you get from someone else, like food and shelter. Social Security doesn’t count all of your income, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Different states also have different rules on how much income you can bring in each month and still get SSI.

Resources include the things you own, although we don’t count everything. For instance, we don’t count a house you own and live in, and we usually don’t count your car. We do count income from rental property, bank accounts, cash, stocks, and bonds. Also, to receive SSI, you must meet other program rules about residency and citizenship. You can find more information about income and resources and eligibility requirements on our website.

SSI payments are the same amount nationwide. In 2016, the basic monthly SSI payment is $733 for an individual and $1,100 for a couple. However, the amount you get may be different. It depends on your income and living arrangements. Some states also add money to the basic benefit.

If you think you may be eligible, apply now. You can contact us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to set up an appointment to apply for SSI at your local Social Security office. Please visit our website for more information.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. Barbara H.

    When the doctor did my hip replacement he told me that I need back surgery. He had to literally scrape my sciatic nerve off my inside wall. I suffer from constant pain in my lower back, making it difficult to stand for long periods of time or sit for long periods of time. I can only sleep flat on my back with a pillow under my knees to take the pressure off my back. I can’t prepare a full meal for my children without ending up hanging off my sink/counter.

  2. Cersei W.

    It sure would be pleasant, if we all had a similar opportunity to get some cash despite the fact that we aren’t as poor as most senior residents.


  3. Roy G.

    It sure would be nice, if all of us had the same chance to get some money even though we aren’t as poor as most senior citizens. The reason is because we worked all of our lives to be able to get a good sum of social security benefits.

  4. julie

    i am on SS! and don’t receive much money, can i receive more? julie heckman 562 453-0652
    thank you

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Julie, thanks for using our blog. Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly benefit amount is based on factors such as the federal benefit rate, your income and resources.

      Of course, your benefits will increase annually if there’s a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The purpose of the COLA is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is not eroded by inflation. We hope this helps!

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