Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The purpose of Supplemental Security Income (SSI; Title XVI of the Act) “is to assure a minimum level of income for supplemental security income recipients who otherwise do not have sufficient income and resources to maintain a standard of living at the established Federal minimum income level.” HALLEX I-1-2-57(A)(1)
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), (1) you must satisfy strict financial requirements regarding income and assets; and (2) you must be found “disabled” under the Act.
Medical Disability Standard
The medical disability standard for DIB and SSI is the same: “the inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a); see also, 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a) (SSI).
To meet this definition, you must have a severe impairment(s) that makes you unable to do your past relevant work . . . or any other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a); see also, 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a) (SSI).
Under the Medical-Vocational Guidelines (a/k/a Grid Rules), the definition of disability can be modified for individuals age 50 and over depending on their education and work history.
SSI benefits are means-tested benefits available only to those with very limited income and assets. The financial certification requirements for SSI are very detailed; however, generally speaking, one’s home and one car are considered excluded assets that are not counted. Otherwise, an individual cannot have more than approximately $2,000 in assets and a couple cannot have more than approximately $3,000 in assets. The financial criteria for SSI eligibility are subject to change and this information is provided as a general guide only.
Receipt of SSI Benefits
Supplemental Security Income is available only from the date of application. No retroactive benefits are available. SSI does not provide auxiliary benefits for a spouse or dependent children.
Currently, individual SSI benefits for 2015 are capped at $733 per month. The monthly benefit amount can be reduced if you have any other sources of income or are living with a family member without paying rent. While receiving SSI, you are obligated to report all sources of income to SSA.
If you are found eligible for SSI, you become concurrently eligible for Medicaid coverage.