Supplemental Security Income, commonly referred to as “SSI,” is a system that pays a monthly monetary benefit as well as provides Medicaid coverage to the disabled, blind, and those who are at least 65 years old. It is similar to Social Security Disability in that both programs share the same definition of “disability.” The big difference between the disability program and SSI is that there are additional asset and income requirements that must be met to qualify for the SSI program that do not apply to the disability program. Because I have addressed the disability requirement under the “Social Security Disability” section, I will concentrate here on just the asset and income requirements for SSI.
A single person must have less than $2,000 in assets to be eligible for SSI. For a married couple it is $3,000. Some assets, however, do not count. For example, you can own one home and one car of almost any value. These don’t count towards the $2,000/$3,000 limit at all. On the other hand, there are things that do count towards the asset limits that are not obvious. For example, the value of IRA counts even if you can not access it without incurring a substantial penalty. The cash value of a life insurance policy also counts towards the asset limits. I will not address here everything that is “countable” versus “non-countable.” If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.
To be eligible for SSI there are also limits on a person’s income. In 2014 the maximum monthly amount that can be paid to an individual is $721. For every dollar that someone receives in benefits from some other source there is a one dollar reduction in SSI. Benefits that will reduce the amount someone can receive in SSI are: social security disability, veterans disability, short-term disability (STD) or long-term disability (LTD) from a private insurance company, and unemployment compensation. For example, if someone is receiving $721 or more per month from any of these sources they will not be eligible for SSI.
Wages, of course, also effect someone’s eligibility for SSI. In order to be eligible for SSI you must be “disabled.” In 2014, to be considered “disabled” you must be earning less than $1,070 per month. That is the gross amount, before taxes are taken out. If you are already receiving SSI, then for every two (2) dollars that you earn your monthly SSI will be reduced by one (1) dollar.
This is just a very broad overview of the SSI program. For additional information, please do not hesitate to contact this office.