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. Wanda L.

    I live in Kentucky and I’m on Medicare which is 795.00 a month I don’t own anything but a 1997 Ford Explore, I pay rent $375, and utilities and they’ve cut my SSI over the last 2 years and now it’s $8.00 a month and I get $75 a month in food stamps I live from monthly check to monthly check I’m 69 years old and can’t make it month to month

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Wanda, thanks for using our blog. You may want to apply for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $5,000 per year. To qualify for the Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia. In addition to the Extra Help, you may be able to get help from your State with other Medicare costs under the Medicare Savings Programs. By completing the Extra Help application, you will start your application process for a Medicare Savings Program. We will send information to your State who will contact you to help you apply for a Medicare Savings Program unless you tell us not to when you complete the application.

      If you need information about Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare Prescription Drug plans or how to enroll in a plan, call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY 1-877-486-2048) or visit http://www.medicare.gov. You also can request information about how to contact your State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP). The SHIP offers help with your Medicare questions. We hope this helps.

  2. Selena S.

    Do I need to report insurance claim money received for fire damages to my home? Which is over the allowed $2000.00 in my bank account.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Selena, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs based program so a change in your income and assets can affect your benefits and it must be reported. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  3. AFTAB M.

    Thank you. This is very helpful sir. Love this article

  4. Prepaid W.

    Thank you.Interesting

  5. Sabrina M.

    SSI keeps you in poverty and poor…

  6. Rhonda p.

    I’m 43 I have degenerative disk disease , my husband draws social security disability, we have a 18 yr old daughter together . We been together for 22 years but married for 5 years . Can I draw any thing threw him or my father? Whom had and died from Huntington’s, could I draw from my father or husband or sign up for my. Self for ssi?my father was a marine and was a corporal and served 4 years in Vietnam and after that was an engineer on rail road until getting sick.
    That was in the 1980. Me my brother and mother each at that time got 330.00 each some thing like that I know it was over 300 each but our father got a lot more. I need some info and advice on what to do.
    You can email me at my husbands email wich is
    Thank you very Much

    • Luis A.

      Hi Rhonda. Please note that Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. For adults, we use a five-step evaluation process to decide whether you are disabled. We consider any current work activity you are doing, your medical condition, and how it affects your ability to work. You may read more about our disability benefit programs on our webpage titled Benefits Planner: Disability. When you are ready to file an application, you can go online here. For specific questions about your case, you may also call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. You may also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  7. Jessie G.

    I want to know if there’s any kind of program or were to look for SSI receive to get housing programs

  8. Buy M.

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  9. brenda r.

    I only get ssa $527 plus $ 264 THAT is barely enough to pay rent

  10. ALAN S.

    I am 65 and still working where do I make my payments to for my medicare

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Alan. If you get Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) or Civil Service benefits, your Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) premiums will get deducted from your benefit payment. If you don’t get Social Security payments, RRB, or Civil Service benefits, you’ll get a bill called a “Medicare Premium Bill” (CMS-500). If you have specific questions about your bill or the status of your Medicare coverage, call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. Thanks.

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