Supplemental Security Income Program
The Supplemental Security Income program is a federal program that helps people who are facing financial hardship and difficulty working. States are able to supplement the monthly payment as well, so you could get more than the basic benefits offered. As a U.S. citizen and resident of any of the 50 states, you are entitled to apply for free to get SSI.
What is the Supplemental Security Income Program?
The SSI program is a federal program designed to provide benefits to people who have a low income. The money can be used for essentials like food, clothing, and housing. The amount of money depends on the amount of work you do, the state you live in, and the members of your household. Generally, if you have resources that amount to $2,000 or less or, if you are a couple, $3,000 or less, you could be eligible for SSI benefits. The 2022 basic monthly payment under SSI is $841 for one person and $1,261 for a couple. The exact payment you receive depends on the state that you live in and the people that you live with.
Who is Eligible For SSI?
Only U.S. residents are eligible for SSI. In addition, you have to meet at least one of the following to qualify:
- 65 years or older, OR
- Be totally or partially blind, OR
- Have a medical condition that lasts at least a year or will result in death
Because SSI is based on financial need, you also have to show the following:
- You have a limited income
- You have limited resources
To qualify for SSI, the Social Security Administration will look into your income and assets. Your income includes:
- Any money you earn
- Any pension you receive
- Your Social Security benefits
- Value of things you get from other people, like housing costs
As a Connecticut resident on SSI, you can only have resources that amount to $2,000 or less ($3,000 for a couple). Keep in mind that this number dips down to $1,600 if you receive Medicaid. There are certain assets that the SSA does not count towards your income, like cars valued at less than $4,500, prepaid funeral arrangements, and your home. It is vital that you submit any documentation to the SSA pertaining to income and assets in a timely manner, as your case rests almost entirely on that information.
How Do I Apply?
Apply as soon as you become eligible, as the SSA cannot pay you any benefits before the date of your application. If you need help applying, ask a friend, family member, or a lawyer.
To get started with your application, you can try one of three ways:
- Visit https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/start.html and click “Get Started” to submit your information to a representative so they can schedule an appointment for you.
- Call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment, or TTY 1-800-325-0778 in the event that you are hard of hearing or deaf.
- Apply online! To start a claim for someone between 18-64, visit https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib or https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/apply-child.html for a child under 18 years old.
How Do I Maintain My SSI Status?
When you are receiving SSI benefits, there are certain things you must report to the SSA. This will ensure that your benefits are not interrupted. For example, if any of the following happens, it must be reported:
- Change of address
- Change of name
- If the person receiving SSI dies
- If you become a parent
- Change in work
- Change in income
For a comprehensive list of what you should report to the SSA, visit https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-11011.pdf to read more about SSI. Be prepared to provide accompanying documentation to prove any changes or developments in your life. Also, watch out for any calls, emails, or mail from SSA, as they could contact you about your case. Responding in a timely manner is important when your benefits could be on the line.
Applying for SSI can seem complicated if you’ve never encountered a program like this. With enough information, you can get monthly benefits to help you through your financial difficulties. If you find yourself confused during the process, ask for help! You can call the SSA office to get help from a representative and set up an appointment, or you can ask someone you know to fill out your application. Contact a local lawyer at our office to help you today!