What is the Social Security Administration's Supplemental Security Income program?

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You’ve heard of Social Security, but have you heard of another program with a lot of recipient overlap – Supplemental Security Income?

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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program designed to help aged, blind and disabled people with low incomes. It provides monthly money for eligible recipients – who can be adults and children – to meet basic needs like clothing, food and shelter.

Like Social Security, it is administered by the Social Security Administration, but it is funded by general tax revenues, not Social Security taxes.

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People who have worked long enough can also qualify to receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits in addition to SSI.

As of January, 5,368 individuals were receiving Supplemental Security Income, while 2,671 people were receiving both SSI and Social Security. More than 4,360 of the SSI-only beneficiaries were disabled people under the age of 65.

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Factors that can affect whether you qualify for the program include not only income but also marital status. According to the Social Security Administration, the average monthly payment as of January was $574.83. Amounts paid can increase during years where there are cost-of-living adjustments.

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SI was created in 1972. Some states also supplement the program; for example, recipients may be automatically eligible for Medicaid, or they can also qualify for things like housing assistance.

If you think you may be eligible for SSI benefits, you can use the Social Security Administration’s preliminary questionnaire to help.

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