What Qualifies You for SSI Disability?

The SSI (Supplemental Security Income) program is America’s safety net – a disability program for people with no appreciable earnings record.  It protects the very young, the homeless, the mentally ill – people who are marginalized by the fact that they are unemployable.  Before even arriving at the question of whether a person is disabled, Social Security screens all applicants for eligibility for this program, based on financial assets.  The medical criteria are the same for all Social Security disability programs.

It is possible to be concurrently eligible for SSI and “regular” Social Security disability.  This happens if a claimant’s disability payment based on earnings record is very low, and financial screening shows that the “regular” disability payment should be supplemented up to the SSI amount.   Each program comes with separate medical insurance benefits.  SSI unusually entitles a person to immediate Medicaid coverage

Not everyone gets the same amount.  Other household income can reduce the amount paid. Where you live and who you live with can make a difference in the amount of the SSI payment. Some states and some individual counties with a very high cost of living supplement the basic SSI amount.

Countable income includes money you earn, “Regular” Social Security benefits, pensions and the value of items you are given by someone else — such as food, clothing and shelter.

SSI Eligibility:  for SSI if your resources (the things you own) must be worth no more than $2,000 for a person or $3,000 for a couple. They do not count everything you own, for example, they do not count your home, andusually do not count your car. They do count cash, bank accounts, stocks and bonds.

You must live in the United States to get SSI. If you are a resident but not a citizen, you still may be able to get SSI.

To get SSI, you also must apply for any other cash benefits you may be able to get. If you get SSI, you usually can get food stamps and Medicaid, too. Medicaid helps pay doctor and hospital bills, and food stamps help pay for food.