Sometimes, people find themselves in tough situations that require assistance. Those who struggle financially have plenty of support opportunities that they may not be aware of. In fact, the federal government provides countless support programs to help with various types of expenses. This includes food, housing, direct financial support, and more. One of these opportunities is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a federal program with many advantages. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about this program.
What is SSI? And How to Benefit From it?
The SSI is a supportive program that helps people pay for their basic needs through monthly payments. This program is available through the Social Security Administration (SSA) to eligible people. The regular monthly payments people get via this program can make a world of difference in their financial situation.
It’s important to note that not every participant receives the same amount of money every month. Instead, it depends on each individual’s circumstances. However, the SSI may issue a maximum amount of $943 for individuals and $1,415 for a couple, as per 2024.
Some People Will Qualify and Others Will Not
Citizens who are low-income and have few other options for support are the focus of this program. So, it’s reasonable to assume that the program has standards to determine who qualifies for support and who doesn’t. Participating in other federal programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), is one way to qualify for this program. Other than that, the SSI will only consider those who meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Have a disability
- Be at least 65
- Be blind
Either way, an applicant must stay in the US for a full calendar month or 30 days in a row and be able to verify residence eligibility. The best part about the application process is that it’s free. Therefore, it’s recommended to submit an application as soon as possible, as it’s the only way to find out for sure if a person qualifies for assistance.
What Disabilities Qualify for This Support Option?
As we mentioned above, people with disabilities may be eligible for SSI. However, the definition of a disability differs from one person to another. To avoid confusion, the SSA has set specific conditions for qualifying disabilities. As a result, an applicant’s disability must meet one of the following conditions to be able to participate in SSI:
- Has been troubling the applicant for a year or more.
- Is anticipated to last for at least one year or cause death.
- Makes it impossible for them to do any substantial gainful activity (SGA).
What are the Conditions of Ineligibility?
By now, it should be easy to understand the eligibility criteria for SSI. However, meeting the eligibility requirements is not enough to participate in this program. In fact, there are some situations in which people might not be eligible even though they meet the requirements. Those situations include the following:
- If someone gives away the money and resources they are receiving.
- Those who are wanted for a crime or outstanding warrants.
- When a person is in custody.
How Does the Application Process Go?
Applying for this program is quite simple and free! However, it takes time for applications to be processed, which can be frustrating for those who are in immediate need of assistance. Therefore, the sooner you submit your application, the sooner you will receive your benefits.
You can either apply online or over the phone. The online application procedure often takes no more than 10 minutes. This way of applying requires filling out a form with some information. Information may include the following:
- Personal details
- Contact information
For the second option, you can call one of 2 numbers:
- 1-800-772-1213 (compatible with telecommunications relay services (TRS)
- 1-800-325-0778 (for people who have a hearing condition)
What is Considered Low Income and Limited Resources?
You might be wondering how the SSA determines if a person has a low income and limited resources. As a matter of fact, the program sets limits on the income levels and resources that applicants have to be eligible for the program. If you want to find out if you meet the SSA’s resources and income limits, you will need to contact them. They will answer your questions and provide you with the information you need.
Limits of Income
To be able to benefit from this program your income level must be low. In order to consider your income to be low, you have to be making a maximum of $1,971 as an individual or $2,915 as a couple. However, there are only specific sources of income that can be taken into account. When counting an applicant’s income, the SSA excludes the following:
- Student grants
- Refunds of income taxes
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
- Assistance with energy bills
- The first twenty bucks of a applicant’s monthly income
- Irregular amounts of money that come from random sources
Limits of Resources
What you think of as a resource might not be exactly what the SSA considers when assessing an applicant’s situation. To help you have a clear understanding, here’s a list of things that would be counted as resources:
- Bank accounts
- Cash and mutual funds
- Savings bonds
- Life insurance
- Personal property
- Items besides money that might be sold for use in purchasing a roof over one’s head or groceries
In general, each applicant is limited to a maximum of $2,000 worth of resources for individuals and $3,000 worth of resources for couples. Remember that the SSA is the best source of information when it comes to SSI. For this reason, you should contact them if you are still confused.
People need money, not to buy happiness but to survive. However, not everyone has a sufficient level of income or resources. This can have a negative effect on their health and wellness. Luckily, the SSA has a support program to help those in need. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly payments for eligible Americans. There are some requirements a person has to meet to be able to receive benefits. However, in some situations, applicants might get rejected. All things considered, you should get in touch with the SSA for information and to start the application process as well. It costs nothing!