Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Elderly Couple

In 1972 responsibility for public assistance programs for the aged and disabled shifted from the states to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the initiative became the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

SSI, a Federal income program, is funded by general tax dollars, not Social Security taxes and provides a monthly stipend for individuals 65 or older, the blind, and disabled, who have little or no income and limited resources. Adults who became disabled in childhood may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. And, a child under age 18 can qualify, as well, if he/she meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children, and if his/her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits. Because some states add to the SSI payment, the SSI payment amount varies from one state to another. Your local Social Security office can give you information about your state’s total SSI payment.

Intended for basic needs for food, clothing and shelter, the SSI supplement may also provide monthly disability income, if you meet Social Security rules for disability and have limited income and resources.

In order to be eligible for SSI, the Social Security definition of disability must be met, which is the same medical definition used in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

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