What is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a means-tested program that provides a monthly stipend to individuals meeting certain criteria of age, disability or blindness. While SSI is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is NOT Social Security or Social Security Disability. Those programs in general require work history and wages. SSI has independent eligibility criteria and is funded from general funds rather than the Social Security Trust Fund.
The maximum benefit for 2015 is $733 per month.
Who is eligible for SSI?
The aged, blind and disabled can receive SSI. Dependent children of recipients as well as disabled children can also receive an SSI payment.
SSI defines aged as those 65 and older, and uses the same disability criteria as SSDI. Because SSI does not operate on a work history basis, but on a means evaluation (i.e. income and resources), it requires applicants to be receiving any and all other benefits they may be entitled to (such as Social Security, Colorado Old Age Pension, etc). If after receiving all entitled benefits, individuals are still under the income threshold, they may receive the SSI stipend.
Generally, persons who receive SSI will be those who do not have significant work history (including disabled persons ineligible for SSDI), resident aliens and dependent children.
How to apply for SSI
Individuals can apply for SSI by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or by finding your local office. Before applying for disability benefits, individuals will need to fill out an Adult Disability Report. While applying for SSI, a disabled or low-income individual may be eligible for Aid to the Needy Disabled.