Supplemental Security Income: What It Is, Who Can Get It, and How to Apply in 2023

If you are a low-income person who is aged, blind, or disabled, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSI is a federal program that provides monthly cash payments to help you meet your basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

It is not the same as Social Security, which is funded by payroll taxes.

SSI is funded by general tax revenues and has different eligibility criteria.

In this article, we will explain what SSI is, who can get it, and how to apply for it in 2023.

A picture showing Supplemental Security Income written on a paper.[photo courtesy: Washington PAVE]
SSI is a federal program that provides monthly cash payments to low-income people who are aged, blind, or disabled.[Photo courtesy: Washington PAVE]

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? And How is it Different from Social Security Disability Benefit (SSDI)

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. It is a program that provides monthly payments to people who have limited income and resources and who are either:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Blind
  • Disabled

The amount of SSI you can get depends on your income, resources, living arrangements, and other factors.

The maximum federal SSI benefit in 2023 is $794 per month for an individual and $1,191 per month for a couple.

Some states may add an extra amount to the federal benefit. You can check the SSI payment rates in your state here.

SSI is different from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is another program that pays benefits to people with disabilities.

SSDI is based on your work history and the amount of Social Security taxes you have paid.

Can you get SSI and Social Security retirement at the same time?

You can get both SSI and SSDI if you meet the eligibility requirements for both programs.

SSI Disability Qualifications for Adults

To qualify for SSI, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, national, or certain noncitizen. Some exceptions apply for children of military parents or students temporarily abroad.
  • You must reside in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands. Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are not included.
  • You must have limited income and resources. Your income includes wages, pensions, gifts, and other sources of money. Your resources include things you own, such as cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, property, vehicles, etc.

How Much Money Can you Make and Still get SSI?

The income and resource limits for SSI in 2023 are:

Income Resources
Less than $1,913 per month in wages or self-employment (after deductions) if you are an individual Less than $2,000 total if you are an individual
Less than $2,827 per month in wages or self-employment (after deductions) if you are a couple Less than $3,000 total if you are a couple

Some types of income and resources are not counted for SSI purposes, such as;

  • food stamps
  • housing assistance
  • medical care
  • personal items etc.

You can find more information about what counts as income and resources here.

  • You must be either age 65 or older, blind, or disabled. To be considered blind, you must have vision no better than 20/200 in your better eye with corrective lenses or have a visual field of 20 degrees or less. To be considered disabled, you must have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from doing any substantial work for at least 12 months or that is expected to result in death. Your condition must also meet the medical criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Children under age 18 can also get SSI if they have a qualifying disability and live in a household with limited income and resources.

The disability criteria for children are different from those for adults.

How to apply for SSI?

If you think you may be eligible for SSI, you can apply in one of the following ways:

  • Use the online tool to request an appointment to apply for SSI here. You will need to provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address, phone number, and email address (optional) for yourself or someone you are helping.
  • Call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can speak to a representative who will answer your questions and schedule an appointment for you to apply.
  • Contact your local Social Security office. You can find the nearest office by entering your ZIP code.

When you apply for SSI, you will need to provide various documents and information to prove your eligibility. These may include:

  • Proof of your age, citizenship, identity, and residence
  • Proof of your income and resources
  • Proof of your disability or blindness, such as medical records, test results, treatment plans, etc.
  • Bank account information for direct deposit of your payments

You can find a checklist of the documents and information you will need on the main site SSI.

After you apply for SSI, SSA will review your application and make a decision.

You will receive a letter in the mail informing you of the decision and the amount of your benefit, if any.

If you are approved for SSI, you will start receiving payments in the month following the month of your application.

If you are denied for SSI, you have the right to appeal the decision within 60 days. You can find more information about the appeal process [here].


SSI is a federal program that provides monthly cash payments to low-income people who are aged, blind, or disabled.

It can help you meet your basic needs and improve your quality of life.

To apply for SSI, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria and provide various documents and information.

You can apply online, by phone, or in person at your local Social Security office. If you have any questions or need assistance with your application, you can contact SSA or visit their website for more guidance.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about SSI and SSDI, don’t forget to check out our website for more interesting and informative content.

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