You have probably heard of the Social Security Adminstration benefit program called SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance, but did you know they have another program providing assistance for low income families?
It is called SSI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It is a federal program designed to supplement income to help aged and disabled people who have little to no income. It provides funding to meet basic food, clothing and shelter needs, and is funded out of general tax revenues. For 2017, individuals with SSI benefits receive a monthly payment of $735, and assistance for low income families is $1,103 monthly. This is the federal amount paid, and most states also have a state supplement ($10 to $200) monthly, which can be added to the federal payout. (States that do not have a state supplement are Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Arizona and Oregon.
The program is based on need and can be difficult to qualify for because of the low income requirements. If you are receiving free shelter and food, SSA counts that as income and considers it when factoring your SSI payment. Basically, SSA will determine that you don’t need the full monthly payment since you are not incurring these expenses.
There are also very strict limits regarding assets that you own. Generally, you are limited to an individual amount of $2,000 in what SSA calls disposable assets. The limit is $3,000 for a couple or family.
Disposable assets are cash or bank account, stocks, life insurance policies, property ownership, or household goods totaling over the allowed amount. SSA is very strict; if you exceed these limits, you will not be eligible for benefits.
Your home and a single car are excluded from the asset limit because they are considered necessities of life. SSA will not count your wedding ring, or certain income set aside like PASS or IDA savings. They will also not count money you’ve put aside for future use for burial services.
You will need to provide SSA with information such as your Social Security number (SSN), date of birth, place of birth, and proof of US citizenship like a birth certificate (or lawful alien status). You must provide this information for all spouses (current or former) as well, including marriage dates, divorce dates, death dates, etc., and you have to provide names and birthdays for children aged 18 and under.
The process can be involved and challenging, but we are here to help with assistance for low income families. Call us today.