An Overview of the SSI Program
The SSI program is a nationwide Federal assistance program that guarantees a certain minimum level of income for certain adults and children.
The SSI program is quite different from the SSDI program. An overview of what this program provides and how it differs from the SSDI program is provided below.
What is the SSI Program?
The SSI program is a Federal income supplement program. Unlike SSDI, it is funded by general tax revenues rather than Social Security taxes. The program is designed to assist certain people who have limited income and resources.
Supplemental income is meant to help with food, clothing, and housing.
Who Qualifies for the SSI Program?
You may be eligible for SSI if you fall within a certain demographic and meet certain income requirements.
U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and some immigrants are eligible if
- aged (65 years old or older);
- blind; or
- limited income earned from work; and
- limited resources (the sum of which is $2,000), including Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, worker's compensation, friends and family, personal property, life insurance, or other financial sources
The applicant can be disqualified if he or she
- is subject to an active warrant for deportation or removal;
- has been absent from the United States for 30 days (one full calendar month) or longer; or
- is confined to an institution at the State of Texas' or federal government's expense (e.g., hospital or prison)
To be eligible, you must also give permission to SSA to contact any and all financial institutions to inquire into your financial records. SSA will want to verify your income.
How Are SSI Payments Calculated?
As of January 1 of each year, SSA sets a monthly Federal amount for eligible individuals and eligible individuals with an eligible spouse. Once you are accepted into the SSI program, monthly amounts for the next year are determined by increasing the unrounded current amount by the increase of cost-of-living.
For 2020, those who are accepted into the program could be looking at a maximum monthly federal amount of $783 for an eligible individual, or $1,175 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse – these are the amounts established for 2020.
So, for example, if you were an eligible individual who received in 2019 an unrounded annual amount of $9,259.67, you would now receive an unrounded annual amount of $9,407.82 for 2020 – that amount has the 1.6 percent cost-of-living increase factored into it.
How Do You Apply for SSI Benefits?
You first apply online but finish the application in person at your local SSA office. There are several office locations in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.