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Supplemental Security Income: an overview

On this blog, we often discuss the different benefits programs offered by the Social Security Administration with little detail, using only abbreviations to identify them. For someone who has recently become ill or disabled, and who is only beginning to consider applying for Social Security benefits, to say that the programs and their requirements can be confusing is a monumental understatement.

Therefore, today we are going to give our blog readers a brief overview of one of the programs offered by the Social Security Administration, or SSA. Supplemental Security Income, which is abbreviated to SSI, is administered by the SSA, but is completely different from Social Security Disability, or SSD.

While SSD benefits are granted based on a disability that renders an applicant unable to perform their job duties, SSI is granted to people who are aged 65 or older, who are blind, or who have a disability. In addition, SSI applicants must have limited income and financial resources in order to have their application approved.

The aim of SSI is to provide additional resources to people who are unable to work due to age or a disability, but who have not yet paid enough into Social Security to qualify for standard retirement benefits. Applicants must have very limited resources - under $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples - in order to qualify for SSI benefits.

To determine whether applicants meet the financial requirements of SSI, the SSA looks at wages, pensions, and retirement accounts, as well as real estate, stocks, and other assets. The maximum monthly SSI payment is $674 for individuals and $1,011 for couples.

Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "A safety net for the aged, blind and disabled," Vonda Vantil, August 8, 2011

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