Supplemental Security Income is a federally funded program that is strictly need-based and depends on the income and assets of an individual. The program is different from the social security retirement program and has been designed to provide financial help to disabled adults and children who have limited income and assets, as well as income assistance to disabled children and low-income elderly.
For this reason, it’s called a “means-tested program,” as it has nothing to do with work history, but is strictly concerned with financial need. To meet the SSI income requirements, an individual must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income. It provides enough assistance to the eligible citizens and helps them meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
Sometimes SSI is confused with SSDI – Social Security Disability, as both the programs focus on disability. Moreover, both offer cash benefits for disabled individuals and medical eligibility for disability is determined in the same manner. However, the financial eligibility requirements are very different. The main difference between Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the fact that SSDI is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits. On the other hand, SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.
The SSI program is administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) and is funded by general fund taxes (not from the Social Security trust fund). The benefits of the program will begin on the first of the month when the individual first applies. To qualify for this benefit program, he or she must meet the following requirements:
• Be at least age 65
• Be blind or disabled
• Have limited income and assets
Most people who qualify for SSI will also qualify for food stamps, and the amount an eligible person will receive is dependent on where they live and the amount of regular, monthly income they have. Disabled individuals who qualify under the income requirements for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid in their state. Also, if a person qualifies for the Supplemental Security Income program, then he or she may also be eligible for a free phone under the LifeLine.
The Lifeline Program for low-income consumers is a government assisted free cell phone service that provides discounted phone services to eligible low-income individuals and families. Individual and households who are eligible for SSI program can qualify for the LifeLine Program. Moreover, the Lifeline program is part of the Universal Service Fund and is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). It is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and Tribal lands.