Supplemental Security Income (SSI)


SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers this program. SSA pays monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children, as well as adults, can get SSI benefits.

Many people who are eligible for SSI may also be entitled to receive Social Security benefits. In fact, the application for SSI is also an application for Social Security benefits.

  • Unlike Social Security benefits, SSI benefits are not based on your prior work or a family member’s prior work.
  • SSI is financed by general funds of the U.S. Treasury–personal income taxes, corporate and other taxes. Social Security taxes withheld under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or the Self Employment Contributions Act (SECA) do not fund the SSI program.
  • In most States, SSI beneficiaries can get Medicaid (medical assistance) to pay for hospital stays, doctor bills, prescription drugs, and other health costs.
  • SSI beneficiaries may also be eligible for food stamps in every state except California. In some States, an application for SSI benefits also serves as an application for food assistance.
  • SSI benefits are paid on the first of the month.
  • To get SSI, you must be disabled, blind, or at least 65 years of age and have “limited” income and resources.
  • In addition, to get SSI, you must:
    • be a resident of the United States, and
    • not be absent from the country for more than 30 days; and
    • be either a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of certain categories of eligible non–citizens.