During rainy days, people usually start to look for ways to make more money or at least save on their regular expenses. However, not everyone can do that, especially those who are too old to work or have disabilities. Having limited income and resources may make things even worse. Nonprofits and community organizations may be able to help in specific situations. However, these are not the only sources of support that people can turn to. In fact, there are countless forms of federal support available to needy people with different circumstances. Financial assistance, discounts, and supportive services are a few examples of the government assistance available through many programs.
In this article, we will focus on one particular form of support, which is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This program is created and federally managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). You could miss out on a lot of benefits if you qualify for this program but are not familiar with it.
Explaining the Federal SSI Program
Have you ever wondered what the government does with the money it receives in taxes? The long answer to this question may need another article, but SSI is one of the support programs that is running thanks to general taxes. Through this program, the government can assist those who don’t have enough resources or income and meet certain criteria. Eligible people can receive financial support on a monthly basis from this program to help them pay for necessities. As of 2024, the SSI may issue a maximum benefit of $943 for individual recipients and $1,415 for couples. To help you learn more about SSI, we will explain the following:
- Who Can Benefit From This Program?
- What to Expect During the Application Process?
- What Counts as Low Income and Limited Resources?
Who Can Benefit From This Program?
The target population for this program is low-income citizens who need assistance. Therefore, it is logical to suppose that the program has standards to identify who is eligible for help and who is not. A possible way to be eligible for this program is to already take part in other government programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or retirement benefits. Other than that, the SSI will only take into account applicants who satisfy at least one of the following conditions:
- Being 65 years old or older
- Living with a disability
- Being blind
In any case, an applicant must stay in the United States for a complete calendar month or 30 consecutive days and be able to prove residency eligibility. Applying for SSI is free! As a result, it is recommended to submit an application as quickly as possible because it is the only way to know for sure whether a person is eligible for support.
What Is the Definition of a Disability According to SSA?
As we have discussed, SSI may be available to those living with disabilities. But everyone has a different idea of what counts as a disability. To avoid misunderstandings, the SSA has established precise requirements for a qualifying disability. As a result, in order to be eligible for SSI, an applicant’s disability must satisfy one of the following requirements:
- Has affected the applicant for at least a year.
- Is anticipated to last at least a year or result in death.
- Prevents the applicant from working or participating in any substantial profitable activity.
What to Expect During the Application Process?
This program’s application process is really easy and free! However, processing applications may take some time, which can be difficult for people who need assistance right away. Accordingly, you will receive your benefits more quickly the earlier you submit your application.
Typically, the online application process only takes 10 minutes. In order to apply using this method, you must fill out a form with certain contact and personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, phone number, etc. On the other hand, you can apply over the phone by calling:
- 1-800-772-1213 (compatible with telecommunications relay services (TRS))
- 1-800-325-0778 (for people with hearing loss)
What Counts as Low Income and Limited Resources?
The SSA sets limits on the income levels and resources that applicants may have in order to make sure that this support goes to those who actually need it. You should get in touch with the SSA if you want to find out whether you meet their resource and income limits. However, you can generally expect the following restrictions:
SSI Limits of Income
When looking at your income, the SSA considers your “countable income” rather than your gross income. That’s because only certain types of income can be considered. You must make a maximum of $1,971 as an individual or $2,915 as a couple in order to take advantage of this opportunity. These are the 2024 restrictions, but they may change in the future, so it’s important to check with the SSA every year.
SSI Limits of Resources
Generally speaking, each applicant is allowed to have a maximum of $2,000 worth of resources for individuals and $3,000 worth of resources for couples. However, when evaluating an applicant’s situation, the SSA may take into account factors that are different from what you would consider resources. Here is a list of items that might be considered resources to help you understand:
- Savings bonds
- Bank accounts
- Cash and mutual funds
- Life insurance
- Personal property
- Items besides money that might be sold for use in purchasing a property or groceries
Maybe money can’t buy happiness, but it’s necessary for everyday needs. When people are short on money, they can struggle to make ends meet. This is especially the case for seniors and people with disabilities who have little to no resources. However, the SSA provides an excellent support opportunity to those in need through the SSA program. This program can pay up to $943 for individuals and $1,415 for couples if they meet certain criteria. However, you should keep in mind that the exact amount you may receive will depend on your specific circumstances. You can apply for SSI online or over the phone. If you need further assistance, you should get in touch with the SSA.