What Is the Supplemental Security Income Program?

The Supplemental Security Income program is a government program that is managed by the Social Security Administration. It is designed to provide cash payments to individuals who are in need and do not have many other resources. This money is supposed to pay for basic needs, like food, shelter, and clothing. Here are the basics of the Supplemental Security Income program.

Who Can Qualify?

In order to qualify for the Supplemental Security Income program, you have to be over the age of 65, blind, or disabled. Blind or disabled kids can also qualify for this program in some cases. In addition to fitting into one of these categories, you also have to meet certain criteria when it comes to how much money you make and how many assets you have. This program is only for those that do not make very much money and do not have many assets to rely on. 

How it is Funded

Even though this program is administered by the Social Security Administration, it is not funded with money from Social Security taxes. Instead, the money comes from general federal taxes that everyone pays. Since it is funded directly from tax dollars, there are strict rules and guidelines associated with the program to make sure that only the correct people are getting access to the money.

Income Guidelines

To determine if you qualify for this program, the Social Security Administration will look at several things regarding your income and assets. Each state has specific income limits that you must fit into in order to apply for benefits. When you apply for this program, the Social Security Administration does not look at all of your income.

They exclude the first $20 per month that you get from any source. They also exclude the first $65 per month that you get from working. They will not count half of the income that you get from working over the $65. They will also not count your food stamps if you receive this type of assistance. If you receive shelter from nonprofit organizations or if you receive any type of energy assistance, this will also be excluded from consideration when they are looking at your application. They will include part of your spouse's income if you are married. 

When looking at your assets, they will also exclude certain things from consideration. For example, they will not count your primary residence, your car, or life insurance policies. If you have less than $2000 of assets or less than $3000 in assets as a couple, you may be able to qualify for the program.

How to Apply

In order to apply for the Supplemental Security Income program, you can go online to the Social Security website or you can visit a local Social Security Administration office. You will need to schedule an appointment with a representative from the Social Security Administration and they will help you determine if you are eligible. If you are eligible, they can set it up to deposit your benefits directly into your bank account.

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