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What is Supplemental Security Income?

2017-08-19T08:25:33+00:00

The term 'Supplemental Security Income' is included in the Laws & Regulations edition of the Financial Dictionary. Get yours now on amazon in ebook or paperback format. Read more here...

Supplemental Security Income refers to the emergency measure benefits for retirement that are provided to working Americans by the government to help cushion their golden years. For those retirees whose regular social security check amount is insufficient to provide for their basic retirement needs, the government set up an additional sum of money provided monthly that is called Supplemental Security Income, also commonly known by its acronym as SSI.

The same Social Security Administration which delivers the regular Social Security checks also maintains the SSI program. They created it to provide additional help for the financial needs of some retirees who possess limited income and few resources for retirement. This monthly benefit which SSI provides for those who are at least 65 years old is also delivered to those retirees who are either blind or in some meaningful way disabled. This commonly creates an income overlap between the traditional social security retirement checks and the SSA disability benefits which many people receive. Yet those recipients who fully meet all eligibility requirements are able to receive money out of each program.

It is important to keep in mind that they are a few critical differences from one program to the next. Obtaining normal Social Security benefits is only a matter of having worked for a minimum number of years (either an individual or the spouse) so that coverage is obtained under the rules of the program. With Supplemental Security Income though, there is no past work required to become eligible for monthly payouts. The funding for the SSI program is derived from another source than that which provides for the regular Social Security benefit checks. In truth, even a different federal authorization grants the money from the general taxation that helps to provide for the payments of SSI.

In fact, being eligible for SSI often has a connection with various other state and/or Federal benefits and programs. In the majority of states, those SSI beneficiaries are also eligible for medical assistance from the state-provided Medicaid programs. These will help to pay for the costs of any necessary hospital visits and stays, prescription drugs, doctor bills, and other related health care costs. States have the discretion to add on supplemental amounts to the SSI payments as they wish. They will commonly employ identical financial and income criterion in ascertaining who is eligible and who is ineligible. In almost all of the states, SSI recipients also qualify for and receive food assistance.

There are several financial resource tests which determine the eligibility for Supplemental Security Income benefits. The financial assets limitation is $3,000 for couples and $2,000 for individuals. There can be some exceptions made in calculating financial assets. The most critical is that an individual does not have to include the value of the home in which he or she lives, the primary vehicle for transportation, or the personal effects and other household goods. Other limited assets include life insurance and burial funds which individuals can own. Scholarships and grants for educational costs and retroactive SSI benefit and Social Security payments are also excluded.

A few other assets also will not be counted for the purposes of coming up with SSI asset limitations. These include those properties which are critical for self-sufficiency and also money that has been saved in a particular Individual Development Account. Earned income tax credit payments, relocation assistance payments, federal tax refunds, and crime victim’s assistance payments similarly will not be counted for from nine months to 12 months after they are received. Some trusts can also be exempted from this asset limitation calculation.

The term 'Supplemental Security Income' is included in the Laws & Regulations edition of the Financial Dictionary. You can get your copy on amazon in Kindle or Paperback version. See more details here.