What is Social Supplemental Security Income?

What is Social Supplemental Security Income?

Kim Pinnelli

by Kim Pinnelli
Senior Contributing Writer

January 9, 2020
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What is Social Supplemental Security Income?

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Social Supplemental Security income helps the aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income meet their needs for food and shelter on a monthly basis.

The program is for very low income individuals with little to no assets that are unable to work due to disability or age.

Who Qualifies for Social Supplemental Security Income?

In order to be eligible for Social Supplemental Security Income, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be 65 years or older
  • Disabled for at least the next 12 months or permanently
  • Be blind (partially or completely)

In addition, you must meet the following:

  • You must not have more than $2,000 (single) or $3,000 (couple) in assets excluding your house or car
  • You must be a US citizen

How Much is Social Supplemental Security Income for 2020?

Social Supplemental Security Income has a maximum each year that coincides with the cost-of-living. In 2020, individuals may receive up to $783 per month and couples may receive up to $1,175 per month. If you receive income during the month, that amount may be deducted from your federal benefit. However, your state may provide assistance as well, which adds to your federal payment, rather than takes away from it.

Do All States Provide Assistance?

Most states, but not all, provide financial assistance. In 2020 the following states don’t participate:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

All other states provide funding that ranges from $10 to $400 per month. The amount you receive depends on where you live and if you are single or married. It also depends on whether you live in your own home or with others including in a nursing home or assisted living center.

What Affects Your Payment?

The Social Security Administration determines your eligibility on a monthly basis. They take into consideration any income or in-kind income that you receive that can contribute to your need for food or shelter. If you earn income, there are some exclusions:

  • The first $65 of your earned income doesn’t count
  • Half of the remainder after subtracting the $65 may be excluded as well
  • Any support you receive that provides food or shelter for the month

The SSA will determine your monthly payment based on the above. Your earned income directly reduces your Social Supplemental Security Income benefit as does any in-kind donations since you don’t need the money to meet your food or shelter needs when you receive these types of donations.

How to Apply

You may apply for Social Supplemental Security Income benefits in person at your local Social Security office or online but only if you meet the following:

  • You are between 18 and 65 years old
  • You never had Social Security benefits before
  • Haven’t ever been married
  • Are a US citizen
  • Aren’t blind
  • You are applying for Social Security Disability at the same time

In general, it’s best to apply in person or you can call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance.

Social Supplemental Security Income helps you get the assistance you need to meet your housing and food needs. This month-to-month benefit helps you meet your basic needs while you are unable to work or get assistance. It has strict requirements and may be hard to get, so make sure you explore all options while you wait.