Title XVI - Supplemental
Security Income (SSI)
The Title 16 Supplemental Security Income or SSI program was created in the 1960’s to offer a modest disability benefit to individuals who did not have enough work credits to qualify for Title II Disability.
Monthly SSI Benefit Amount
Set by Congress in Statute
Unlike Disability, SSI is essentially a welfare program, and a your monthly benefit is determined by law. Maximum SSI payments for recent years are:
2004: $564.00 per month
2005: $579.00 per month
2006: $603.00 per month
2007: $623.00 per month
This maximum payment is the most that you can receive from SSI. By contrast, monthly Disability payments can total $1,500, $1,800 or more based on a claimant’s earnings record.
Your SSI Payment May Be Reduced by Offsets
Your SSI payment can be reduced by a number of factors. For example, if you receive food and housing assistance, Social Security may assign a dollar value to that assistance and reduce your SSI accordingly. In addition, SSI claimants may only have limited assets - currently, you may only own assets worth $2,000 (individual) or $3,000 (married couple).
SSI uses a complicated set of rules called the deeming rules to determine how much reduction there will be in your SSI.
SSI Recipients Also Eligible for Medicaid
If you are found eligible for SSI, you will also automatically be eligible for Medicaid benefits. For many people, the Medicaid coverage is more important than the cash benefits.
File As Soon As You Realize that You are Disabled
SSI also differs from Title II Disability in that you can only collect benefits as of the date you apply. By contrast, in a Disability case you can collect retroactive benefits up to 1 year prior to the date of your application.
As is the case with Disability, there is no harm in filing for SSI and it has no cost to you. However, if you are not insured for Title II Disability, you should learn as much as you can about the offsets that may apply to you so that you will avoid a nasty surprise at the end of your case.