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What Is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program?

Read valuable insights about the Supplemental Security Income Program.

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Social Security won’t cover the cost of home care—at least not directly. Family caregivers, however, can still help their loved ones navigate programs like Supplemental Security Income.

Several Social Security programs help Americans who are dealing with a chronic illness or disability.

One of these programs is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This article will offer a deep-dive on SSI, including who can apply and how family caregivers can get involved.

What Is Supplemental Security Income?

SSI is a benefit program overseen by the Social Security Administration.

The program issues monthly payments to elderly, blind, and disabled people below a certain financial threshold. Americans with Parkinson’s disease, vision problems, and ALS are just some examples of qualifying conditions.

In October 2022, more than 7.5 million people were receiving SSI benefits—including 2.3 million people over the age of 65.

It’s important to note that while Social Security manages the SSI program, it doesn’t pay for it. This is a common misconception, as Social Security taxes cover many of the administration’s other benefits. Yet SSI payments primarily come from general U.S. Treasury revenues. Most U.S. states supplement these federal benefits with their own payments.

Another key consideration is that SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are two separate programs. SSDI eligibility depends on the beneficiary’s health condition and how long they have worked and paid Social Security taxes. Some people may be able to receive benefits from both programs.

Who Is Eligible for SSI?

Both children and adults must meet certain criteria to qualify for SSI. 

Kids under 18 who have a physical or mental health condition that significantly limits their daily activities are likely eligible. The condition must occur for a period of at least 12 months. Qualifying children must also live in a lower-income household with limited resources.

Adults who are blind, disabled, or at least 65 years old with limited financial means are eligible for SSI benefits. In 2023, the maximum monthly federal SSI benefit is $914 per month for an individual, or $1,371 for a couple where both partners qualify.

Keep in mind that different types of income may factor into a person’s SSI eligibility. Money earned from work generally counts, but not all of it. Standard Social Security benefits and pensions count too. Meanwhile, government aid like food stamps and income tax refunds are not “countable” income. 

Then there’s something else that counts: a person’s financial assets. These can’t exceed $2,000 for a single person or $3,000 for a couple. While major assets like a house or car won’t count toward the total, bank accounts, stocks, and secondary homes will.

How Do You Apply for SSI?

The simplest way to apply for SSI benefits is to request an appointment to file. 

Beneficiaries can either apply themselves, or someone else can request an appointment on their behalf. Many family caregivers help their loved ones apply for the benefit.

All you need are the care recipient’s:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number

If you are helping someone else apply for SSI, you will also need to provide your own name, phone number, and an optional email address. You can request an appointment online or by phone at the bottom of this page.

Will SSI Cover the Cost of Caregiving?

Social Security won’t pay for a family caregiver—but other programs will. These programs include government programs like Medicaid.

If you’re curious about Medicaid and other opportunities, look no further than Aidaly. We’ll help you qualify for the right programs, guide you through your training, and help you earn money. Get started on your path to family caregiver compensation today.

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