What is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides monthly payments to people who have limited income and few resources. SSI is for elderly people, as well as blind or disabled people of any age, including children.

To get SSI, you must:

  • Be age 65 or older;
  • Be totally or partially blind; or
  • Have a medical condition that keeps you from working and is expected to last at least one year or result in death.

There are different rules for children. For more information, ask for Benefits For Children With Disabilities (Publication No. 05-10026).

How much can you get?

The basic monthly SSI payment for 2013 is the same nationwide. It is:

  • $710 for one person; or
  • $1,066 for a couple.

Not everyone gets the same amount. You may get more if you live in a state that adds money to the federal SSI payment. You may receive less if you or your family have other income. Where and with whom you live also makes a difference in the amount of your SSI payment.

How do you qualify for SSI?

Your income

Your income includes the money you earn, your Social Security benefits, your pensions and the value of items you get from someone else, such as food and shelter.

Where you live affects the amount of income you can have each month and still get SSI. Different states have different rules.

Things you own

You may be able to get SSI if your resources (the things you own) are worth no more than $2,000 for a person or $3,000 for a couple. We do not count everything you own when we decide if you can get SSI. For example, we do not count a house you own if you live in it, and we usually do not count your car. We do count cash, bank accounts, stocks, and bonds.

You must be a U.S. resident

You must live in the United States or Northern Mariana Islands to get SSI. If you are not a U.S. citizen, but you are lawfully residing in the United States, you still may be able to get SSI. For more information, ask for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) For Noncitizens (Publication No. 05-11051).

Other benefits

To receive SSI, you also must apply for any other cash benefits you may be able to get. If you get SSI, you usually can get benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid, too. Medicaid helps pay doctor and hospital bills, and food stamps help pay for food.

How do you apply for SSI?

Contact us to set up an appointment to apply for SSI at your local Social Security office.

Contacting Social Security

Our website is a valuable resource for information about all of Social Security’s programs. There are a number of things you can do online.

In addition to using our website, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. We treat all calls confidentially. We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. We can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day. (You can use our automated response system to tell us a new address or request a replacement Medicare card.) If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

We also want to make sure you receive accurate and courteous service. That is why we have a second Social Security representative monitor some telephone calls.