The federal government offers a wide variety of welfare programs for needy Americans, with one of the most commonly known ones being social security benefits.
While social security does branch off into several other assistance opportunities for Americans, the SSI program is intended for those who are struggling to cover their daily expenses.
Essentially, this form of help is directed at those who have a tough time paying their bills, and this article will aim to better explain how SSI works and how you can begin receiving benefits through it as well.
The funding for the program comes from general taxes, and it’s been made available by the Social Security Administration, which manages a number of other social security benefit programs.
With the help of SSI, millions of qualifying Americans receive monthly payments to cover the costs of basic needs like housing, clothing, food expenses, and many, many more.
Who can qualify?
Similar to the majority of other federal assistance programs, applying for SSI benefits is completely free of charge, and it comes with the advantage of being incredibly simple as it doesn’t require any extensive paperwork.
In fact, you can check your eligibility for the program without committing a single dollar to the application process, although you could save yourself some time by getting familiar with the most basic requirements.
In general, a person has to be low income, have limited resources to work with, be above the age of 65 or at least disabled, and finally, must have a valid citizenship status in the United States of America.
However, these requirements may only need to apply to those that aren’t part of some other welfare program, as those receiving benefits from SSDI are qualified for SSI by default.
Other programs like SNAP or TANF may also qualify you for SSI benefits, so make sure you’ve explored your options before committing.
SSI benefits for disabled Americans
While it’s normally only available to individuals above the age of 65, a person can also begin receiving SSI benefits if they’ve got a qualifying disability.
However, it’s important to remember that not all disabilities will be valued equally, as the SSA has a list of certain disabilities they approve of, those usually being the ones that can be determined medically.
On top of this, the disability in question needs to have been around for at least 12 consecutive months and is expected to last for at least that much longer, and it must also prevent the applicant from contributing to the workforce.
Apart from determining your eligibility, your disability may also be what determines the amount of funding you’ll receive through SSI every month, and the more severe of a disability you’re dealing with, the more likely you are to receive increased benefits.
What to expect
The amount you’ll receive usually depends on one of two factors, those being your current financial state and the maximum payment that was approved by the SSA for the ongoing year.
In 2023, the limits are set to $914/month for an individual or $1,371 for couples, with proportional increments for every additional qualifying member of the household.
However, apart from your income, your resources may also affect the amount of money you may qualify for, and it’s important to remember that this practice applies to every single thing you own.
From bank accounts to property, any form of equity is considered to be a resource, and you should be fully aware of all of them before applying for SSI benefits.
With this in mind, you should note that to be eligible for SSI benefits, you’re allowed to have up to $2k in resources as an individual or $3k as a couple, although this won’t count in certain resources like your personal vehicle, burial plots or wedding rings.
On the other hand, the income limits for this year have been set to $1,767 for individuals and $2,607 for couples, although these numbers can be subject to change as the state of the economy can vary quite a bit throughout the year.
Of course, the SSA will not count your scholarships, grants, and home energy assistance money towards this amount.
Americans with limited access to income will be delighted to hear that help does exist, and even more, so considering it’s readily available for millions of Americans across the nation.
The main benefit of SSI is that it’s so accessible and that the eligibility requirements are much less strict than those of other federal assistance programs, making it much more available to the average American.
On top of this, the benefits scale with your income levels, meaning that everyone gets just enough to help them get by, which is what makes this program so successful, as the funding is spread out evenly among those who require help with the finances.